Body Image is defined as the mental representation of your physical self at any given point in time. Body image refers to how you see yourself, how you feel others perceive you, and what you believe about your physical appearance. Body image is influenced more by self-esteem than by how physically attractive you are to others. It is how YOU feel about and in your body.
According to recent survey, about 60%-70% of women are dissatisfied with their weight, and 50%-60% are dissatisfied with overall appearance. The ultra-thin standards of the fashion and magazine industry influence girls and women, in terms of their body image and vulnerability to developing eating disorders. Today’s generation is “growing up in the culture of dangerously skinny.”
Essentials to developing healthy body image include:
- eating healthy
- regular exercise
- plenty of rest
Eating healthy can promote healthy skin and hair, along with strong bones; exercise has been showed to increase self-esteem, self-image, and energy; and plenty or rest is the key to stress management – all of these can make you feel good about your body.
Steps towards developing a healthy body Image
- Always remember, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes! Developing and nurturing a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude is crucial to your happiness and wellness! Be realistic about the size you are. Your size is likely to be based on your genetic and environmental history.
- Stop dieting; avoid participating in the diet culture. This does not preclude striving to eat healthy foods, but dieting solely to lose weight can be very unhealthy and, for many, is futile. Healthy eating and dieting are definitely not the same.
- Listen to your body; eat when hungry and stop when full.
- Avoid labeling food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Food is not a moral issue.
- Try a new physical activity just for fun, not to lose weight. Stop weighing yourself, and change your goal from weight loss to improving your health. Exercise has been showed to increase self-esteem, self-image, and energy level. Research shows that exercising women of all ages are generally more positive about their bodies than non-exercisers. However women who exercise primarily for weight and appearance concerns, tend to have a poorer body image and are more likely to have problems with their eating behaviour, than those who are motivated by other reasons, such as health and well-being.
- Try not to use the words “fat”, “ugly”, or “disgusting” to describe yourself or others.
- Show respect for other women’s work and accomplishments instead of talking about how they look.
- Consider not having scales in your home.
- Learn to manage stress in your life. Ask for support and encouragement from friends and family when life is stressful.
- Become media savvy and educate yourself about the hidden powers of advertisement. Advertisers spend tons of money on strategies especially designed to make you feel there is something wrong with you, thus making you feel deficient by comparison. Never forget that how you look is only one part of who you are. Develop a sense of identity based on all the many things you can do, the values you believe in, and the person you are deep inside.
We wish you a fresh and inquiring mind, body, spirit and soul. Don’t live a trivial life. Live a well rounded life. You’ve got just the body your mother line sent to you over thousands of generations. Don’t let corporate advertisers rape you of your inner or outer self. Enjoy.