Body image is a subject that has been studied extensively. The findings indicate that a negative body image is a prevalent problem for many people. If this is a problem for you, there are things that you can do to turn things around.
The Research on Body Image
One study that explored the prevalence of a negative body image found that among women surveyed, 56% expressed dissatisfaction with their appearance. Being generally overweight and lacking in muscle tone were the reasons for dissatisfaction. The stomach and hips were the areas of most concern.
Women and men usually have different concerns when it comes to body image. Women are more concerned about being overweight. In one study, only 3% of women who were not happy with their bodies wanted to gain weight. In contrast, over 20% of men with negative body image were interested in gaining weight.
Causes of a Negative Body Image
The reasons for developing a negative body image can be both complicated and subtle. Images in the media often dictate standards for beauty. Air brushed images and very thin models paint a false image of a normal and healthy body.
Negative experiences in childhood and the teenage years may also lead to a negative body image. Being teased at a young age for being overweight is one reason that some adults dislike their bodies even if they are at a healthy weight in adulthood.
How to Regain a Healthy Body Image
Studies show that when exercise is performed in moderation, it leads to a healthier body image. Besides assisting with weight loss, it helps you to build muscle tone and improves your overall health. Exercise is also a great mood enhancer, which helps to overcome your negative impressions of your appearance.
When trying to regain a healthy body image, it is important to surround yourself with positive, happy and inspiring people. Sometimes when people are unhappy with themselves, they tend to criticize others. Spending less time with critical and negative people will help to boost your body image.
Expose yourself to healthy images. Fashion magazines that highlight nearly anorexic fashion models set an unrealistic standard. Single out images of celebrities, fitness mentors, and friends whom you admire and who stand for a realistic model of health and fitness.
There are some bodily features that cannot be changed. One healthy strategy is to focus on what you do like about yourself. When you look in the mirror each day, consciously notice those features and focus less on what you cannot change.
Focus more on your health than on your appearance. Choose foods that energize you and nourish you. As you eliminate high fat and high calorie foods from your diet, you will find that extra weight will gradually fall away. As your energy increases and your health improves, you will naturally feel better. Appreciate your body every day and acknowledge all of the good things it allows you to accomplish in life.