Your body is your temple. But what do you see, when you look in the mirror? Men and women today, live in a society where body image defines who they are. Most often than not, people see distorted images rather than true reflections. Several of them are judged for what their body looks like and how it doesn’t fit into the ‘perfect body’ category. Somewhere in between their search to achieve the perfect body and constantly being judged for their physical appearance, the negative body image creeps in.
Research says that negative body image affects women and young girls more than their male counterparts. The many ads about the perfect figure and peer pressure, often lead to what is called the negative body image.
The stigma of being constantly judged by your looks and physicality often escalates to the following issues:
- Body dysmorphic disorder - More commonly known as the disorder of imagined ugliness where people tend to see their bodies in a grotesque manner, even though they may actually look normal. These individuals spend a lot of time in front of the mirror obsessing over their illusory flaws. These people tend to spend a lot of money on cosmetics and in some cases even plastic surgery just so that they feel nice.
- Anorexia nervosa - Another commonly seen negative body image problem is anorexia. This eating disorder is characterized by fear of gaining weight. In such cases, the patient resorts to restricted eating and compulsive exercise on the pretext that they are obese when in fact they may actually be underweight.
- Bulimia Nervosa - A potentially life-threatening eating disorder where individuals binge eat and find compensatory ways of purging in order to prevent weight gain.
- Depression - A good portion of people out there undergo depression due to various reasons. And the most popular one being lack of self-esteem due to a negative body image. It’s more of a cycle where depression leads to weight gain and that in turn leads to the individual becoming more and more depressed.
Braving the odds and beating your mental condition of a negative body image is tough! Here’s how you can clear your mind off the negative body image and feel confident in yourself.
- Be mindful of the word FAT- Learn to appreciate your body and shape. You may know other people who are on the heavier side. They may be friends or family members you love and respect. Does their weight change your feelings for them? It sure doesn’t! Likewise, you need to learn to accept your body too. Acceptance is the first step to recovery.
- Don’t compare yourself - Social media and television often circulate images of drop down gorgeous models with flawless bodies. What if we told you that over 50% the images that you see are tampered with? Yes, of course, most of the pictures are photoshopped, to look the way they look. So, stop comparing and putting yourself down.
- Diets can be dangerous - There have been many cases where individuals who have gone on diets without any form of guidance from professionals, ended up gaining twice the amount of weight they lost, within 4 years. You may not know, but improper dieting leads to lack of energy, mood swings and also low self-esteem. Instead of going on diet, get advice on how you can eat moderately, use healthy superfood supplement powders, monitor eating habits and still stay fit.
- Believe in your body - Genetics plays an important role when it comes to body type. Remember, up to 75% of your body is determined by your genes. Learn to believe in your body. Positive thoughts nurture self-respect and confidence. Being patient with your body also helps to restore happiness and better health.
Free yourself of your negative body image, consult a professional for help if need be. Stay happy and healthy.