In her new book, Katherine Schwarzenegger, Arnold Schwarzenegger's daughter, delves into her own life to help other girls and women develop a healthy body image.
Schwarzenegger talks about the influences and pressures on women and girls to be magazine-perfect. Her advice? Take a realistic, and happy, look in the mirror to see what is truly beautiful.
Read an excerpt of the book below and head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.
"I hate myself!" I cried to my mother.
"I'm fat, I'm ugly, I'm stupid, and I feel totally disgusting!" I was ten years old and painfully suffering as only one can in the fourth grade, but this was the first time I could recall revealing my worries about my appearance to anyone.
I shared my prepubescent misery with my family on a flight from Los Angeles to Sun Valley, Idaho, where we were headed for a weekend getaway. I didn't want to go on the trip because. I had my first lengthy report due for school, and I was totally nervous about it. This was the first time I had a homework assignment that completely overwhelmed me. The dreaded fourteen-page "Nobel Report" struck fear in the hearts of kids in the lower grades, who knew that when they reached fourth grade they would finally be assigned this project. My brain was on overload. I was tired, feeling insecure, and downright mad about having to go on the trip. By the time our plane took off, I was headed for a full-on meltdown.
Clearly, how I looked on the outside was only part of the issue when it came to how I was feeling on the inside. I used my frustration to vent all of the pent-up unfamiliar feelings I was having about myself. I knew I didn't like my teacher very much, and I was doing awful in school for the first time. I was being challenged in my classes in ways I had never been before. Whenever I raised my hand to ask a question about something that confused me, I could hear the other kids in my class, mostly the boys, snicker and call me names.
"How could she not know that?" I'd hear one boy say while another would cough out the word stupid.
My reaction to their comments was to fake a sudden understanding of the lesson that had been confusing me and hope the teacher would just move on.
Now, for those of you who don't know my parents, my mother, Maria Shriver, comes from a very powerful and competitive family. She has been successful throughout her life as a top investigative reporter, broadcast news journalist, and is currently first lady of California. Of course, my father is Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California and yes, he was the Terminator! He is also a former Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia, two titles he earned as a champion bodybuilder. But to me, they're just "Mom" and "Dad." Despite their fame and success, I grew up in a pretty normal home, dealing with issues that all families contend with.
Sometimes we disagreed with one another, but our home life was always filled with love, compassion, and understanding.
My mom was especially concerned about us growing up in Los Angeles because she didn't want us to become spoiled Hollywood kids. Given our unique family circumstances, she worked hard to give us as normal an upbringing as possible, teaching us to be good kids, to respect them as parents, to show respect to others, to be grateful, polite, appreciative, and to be educated about money, to stay down-to-earth, and to give back to our community.