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I AM in Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality

Topic: Body Image

May 24

Why Brushing Your Teeth with Charcoal Can Actually Damage Your Teeth and Make Them More Yellow

Posted By iamincontrol | May 24, 2018

Have you seen the charcoal toothpaste that’s becoming popular? I’m talking about that black-colored crud people brush on their teeth to whiten them. While having white teeth is desirable, using charcoal isn’t the answer.

Dentists warn that charcoal likely destroys your enamel and erodes your teeth. And you know what the worst part is? Enamel doesn’t grow back. Once you lose it, it’s gone. Losing your enamel causes your teeth to darken and makes them more sensitive and prone to cavities. In addition to these things, charcoal toothpaste also doesn’t contain important ingredients such as fluoride, which protects your enamel from sugary and acidic foods and beverages.

Of course, we all still want whiter teeth. Luckily there are safer alternatives. The American Dental Association approves the use of several whitening toothpastes (see list here) as well as some whitening strips. Many dentists also offer professional whitening services. Probably the simplest solution, however, is to maintain healthy dental habits. Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day and getting regular dental cleanings will help keep stains at bay the old fashioned way.

Apr 24

Why Detoxing and Cleanses Don’t Actually Work

Posted By iamincontrol | April 24, 2018

Many diet plans promise to rid your body of toxins and help you lose weight. But do they really work? One important thing to remember is that your body naturally cleanses itself. Your liver’s job is to help get any toxins out of your body. It isn’t necessary to buy specific products to detox it.

  • Juice cleanses often don’t provide the body with enough calories. The increased energy from doing a juice cleanse is likely the body’s response to being hungry and energizing you to find more food.
  • Activated charcoal is traditionally used to rid your body of poison, usually in an emergency setting. It won’t remove toxins from your blood because it can only affect your gastrointestinal system.

Since your body is already detoxifying itself, products only use the word “detox” as a way to get people interested in them. If you’re still worried about detoxifying your body, the best thing that you can do is eat a balanced diet that supports the work your body is already doing. Incorporating more foods with nutrients that support your immune system and liver is a much more effective (and more affordable way) to keep your body healthy.

For more information on detox diets and why they aren’t healthy, check out this link:

Apr 5

How to Ditch the Tanning Bed and Still Look Glowing for Prom

Posted By iamincontrol | April 5, 2018

Prom is coming up and we all want to look our best. We all know that tanning can lead to premature aging and skin cancer, but can tanning just this once really be all that bad? According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, just one tanning bed session increases your risk for melanoma, a type of skin cancer, by a whopping 20%! Still want a tanned look for prom? Here are some alternative ways to get that sun-kissed look:

  1. Sunless tanning lotion. Today’s lotions aren’t your mom’s lotions. These lotions have improved a lot over the years in smell, tint, and evenness. Follow the instructions to the T to avoid orange palms and streaks.
  2. Tanning towelettes. Towelettes work similarly to sunless tanning lotions but are easier to apply. You will get less bang for your buck, however.
  3. Spray/airbrush tan. Getting a professional spray tan is the best way to assure your tan is even. It also is more convenient since it only requires one application. For tips on how to get the most out of your spray tan, visit this link.
  4. All naturel. Of course, leaving your skin the way it is -is another option that is beautiful. To be fair, fair skin is actually becoming more popular on the red carpet. Stars such as Keira Knightly, Emma Stone, and Taylor Swift are often seen rocking their natural skin tone. Pale skin is classy and elegant. Work it!
Feb 6

Self-Confidence, Self-Worth, and the Key to Positivity

Posted By iamincontrol | February 6, 2018

Self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem, do you struggle with any of these? If so, you are not alone. I have always struggled with these personally. When you have these negative feelings about yourself and feel like you are not good enough it can affect your whole life in a negative way. Do you compare yourself with others frequently, or find things that you want to change about yourself? I can say that I do this too, but I am really working hard to change. I think that it is easier said than done to increase these starts by simply believing in yourself, and focusing on yourself instead of others.

I think that the power in which you live your life is all in your mindset. We have all probably heard someone tell us that “you can do anything you set your mind to.” As much as we might think that is just a basic saying, it is actually very true and important.

One quote that was said by Theodore Roosevelt that spoke to me is: “believe you can and you’re halfway there.” I think that it is very important to look at all of the amazing things that we have in our lives instead of looking at the things that we don’t have.

You can find more information on this topic at:

Dec 28

Stretch Mark Stress

Posted By iamincontrol | December 28, 2017

Stretch marks happen when skin is stretched and collagen production is messed up. Collagen is a protein that makes up the connective tissue of your skin. They can sometimes appear as red or purple lines that are indented or have a different texture than the rest of your skin.

Stretch marks happen to everyone. It’s easy to develop them on your body in parts where you are growing. People who are pregnant, body building, gaining weight, or entering puberty are all likely candidates to develop stretch marks. Stretch marks often appear on your thighs, hips, stomach, and arms. But because our skin is so elastic, stretch marks typically go away over time.

What to do?

  • Remember, stretch marks are natural and it means you are growing and developing
  • Typically, stretch marks fade over time and can even disappear
  • Steroid-containing ointments can be used to reduce signs of stretch marks
  • Some makeups can cover stretch marks as well
  • Try wearing more clothing coverage in those areas

Visit to find out more about stretch marks.

Check out this video from Buzzfeed to hear personal stories about accepting stretch marks on your body

Nov 9

Body Image Issues

Posted By iamincontrol | November 9, 2017

We can all be way too hard on ourselves, wishing for something to be different about ourselves. In today’s society the television and the internet are strongly influencing people on how they should look and how they should act. In high school, I started to feel very self-conscious about my weight so slowly day by day, I started to skip meals or only eat healthy food. Over just a couple weeks you could see significant weight loss, I looked very malnourished and unhealthy. I eventually realized that I should be able to eat what I want and still feel good about myself rather than hardly eating and being miserable. So I started to put weight back on, and funniest thing is I felt better about myself than I did when I was super thin. From then on, I decided that if I was going to lose weight I was going to do it the healthy way.

What is Body Image?

  • Your body image is how and what you think and feel about your body.
  • It includes the picture of your body you have in your mind, which might or might not match your body’s actual shape and size.

What are the Issues?

  • Teens feel pressure from family, peers or media to fit into a narrow idea of beauty and attractiveness.
  • Teens are often teased about the way they look.
  • Can feel like they have a body shape nowhere near the “ideal” body shape, or might have a different shape then their friends.
  • People worry about how others see them.
  • People look at themselves from the outside or compare themselves to others.
  • Low self-esteem can lead to moods and mood swings.
  • Lead to eating disorder or depression.
  • Can lead to more anxiety and stress.

Be a Positive Body Role Model

  • Make healthy eating and physical activity a part of your everyday life.
  • Appreciate your own body for what it can do, not for just how it appears.
  • Be proud about things about yourself, that aren’t just about your appearance.
  • Accept and value others for who they are, not how they appear or look.

Check out for more information!

Nov 7

Tanning Addiction

Posted By iamincontrol | November 7, 2017

People often tan because they are so worried about their self-image to others and themselves. They are self-conscious about having too pale of skin, too much acne, and eczema. They tan to achieve darker and clearer skin. Little do they know the moment they get into that tanning bed that they could be starting a tanning addiction.

Risk factors of tanning

  • Premature skin aging – wrinkles, lax skin, and brown spots
  • Skin cancer
  • Tanning addiction

My experience

Throughout middle school and even now I struggle with acne and eczema problems. In high school and middle school, many of my friends would ask me why I don’t try tanning to help it. I always responded with “my mom would never let me get into a tanning bed because it is not for your health.” But they continued to pressure me into going tanning, making me questions whether my generation only cares about their physical appearance. Through my lifetime, I have only been in a tanning bed once and it was the worse experience I have ever had. I ended up getting very burned to the point I couldn’t sit down right on my rear end because my skin was actually peeling. After this incident, I never got into a tanning bed again because I had researched more information about tanning which made me really look at the bigger picture. Yes, being tanner might make you look good now but down the road you will actually look more aged from the tanning.

To find out more about tanning and how it can become an addiction, check out

Oct 24

To the Bone; What You Need to Know Before Watching

Posted By iamincontrol | October 24, 2017

There’s a new movie on Netflix you might have seen called To the Bone. The movie is about a 20-year-old girl battling anorexia. Although this movie is meant to be entertaining, we must always look at programs with sensitive content with a critical lens. For those dealing with mental health disorders including eating disorders, specifically anorexia, this film can be particularly triggering. The film features at least three components that specialists advise never to show on screen to protect those with eating disorders. It’s not a bad idea to skip watching this movie all together if you have any hesitations about its content. Here are some facts about eating disorders:

  1. They are mental disorders. In the past, it was a common misconception that eating disorders came from a place of vanity. Today, widely recognized as a mental disorder by the general public, but the myth persists.
  2. They can affect anyone. Portrayals of eating disorders almost always depict women as sufferers. Anyone can develop an eating disorder despite gender or sexual orientation. Notably, many times characters suffering from an eating disorder on TV and movies are white. This is not representative. People from all races and ethnicities suffer, as well as, different religions.
  3. They come in many different forms. Anorexia Nervosa is categorized by refusal to maintain normal body weight, intense fear of gaining weight along with other symptoms. Bulimia Nervosa is categorized by reoccurring binge-eating, self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives and other medications, fasting, excessive exercise and more. Lastly, there is Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. A person could be diagnosed with this category if they fail to meet one of two criteria for either Anorexia or Bulimia Nervosa (Diagnostic Criteria).
  4. They are extremely dangerous. More people die from eating disorders than any other mental illness. A lack of adequate nutrition can ultimately lead to death, but 1 in 5 deaths of those with anorexia is the result of suicide (The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders).

Movies, music, theater works, TV shows or any entertainment should NOT be taken as factual. Please seek a doctor if you are having any mental health issues. Our Teenline is open 24/7, give us a call if you need someone to talk to at 1-800-443-8336. If you prefer to chat online, we are available Monday through Friday 8am-8pm via the link at the top on the website.

To learn more facts about eating disorders, visit:

Jul 11

What to Do with Your Bodily Functions

Posted By iamincontrol | July 11, 2017

You’re sitting in class, and all of a sudden, you fart! You think, “OMG did that really just happen?” Yes. Yes, it did, my friend. Your body has functions that you can’t always control! Besides farting, your body needs to burp, sweat, poop, pee, and many other things! But don’t be embarrassed! It happens to literally everyone. In fact, if your body doesn’t have these functions, you’re probably dead.

Here are some things you can do to deal with public displays of bodily function:

  • Ignore it. Doctors say that bodily functions are more common than we think! The best thing to do is to ignore it. You don’t have to try to explain every unexpected burp or blip that happens throughout the day.
  • Briefly acknowledge it and move on. If you can’t just ignore it, then you can briefly acknowledge it. Just say, “Excuse me” and be done with it. Nobody is asking for an explanation for why you’re yawning or why your stomach is growling.
  • Go to a doctor. If embarrassing problems are happening unexpectedly when they never happened before, and if they are getting worse, it may be a good idea to see a doctor. These may be signs that you are actually ill.

To learn more, please visit:

Jun 27

Body Positivity

Posted By iamincontrol | June 27, 2017

Growing up I learned that it is not appropriate to call people fat because it is rude and can hurt their feelings. As a girl who has always been stick thin, I can tell you that people calling me too thin hurts just the same. There was a time that I would try and eat more just to not be so thin, but that never worked. One way I found to be healthier for me is exercise! Going for runs and lifting weights is not only good at getting me toned, but it is an amazing stress reliever! Whenever I feel overwhelmed or anxious, I just go to the gym and try to forget about all of my problems. I have noticed since I started that not only do I notice a change in my body, but I notice a change in my mind. I feel more confident about myself and I always try to push myself to be the best I can be.

One thing I have learned is that if you want something bad enough, you have to make time for it and try everything you can to make it happen! Also, if there are people in your life who do not support you or try and bring you down, it is best to remove those people from your life. You will be much happier. Surround yourself with positive, hardworking people! You don’t realize what a difference this little change can make in your life. Finally, if anyone makes a comment about how you look, or if you think you are too fat or too skinny, just remember you are beautiful the way you are!

For more information about a positive body image and self-esteem, check out