Did you know that most of us have issues with body image? A staggering 83 percent of women and 74 percent of men say they are dissatisfied with the way their body looks. Trying to make peace with your body may seem like a challenging task. Since society defines beauty in such narrow terms, it’s easy to compare yourself to the people you see in the media and feel you don’t measure up. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s look at some ways to make peace with your body and have a more positive body image.
Know that Body Perfection is an Illusion
For decades, females in Western and Asian cultures have been comparing their bodies to supermodels. High fashion magazines generally portray models who are underweight, with measurements on the lower end of the healthy spectrum. Additionally, this size is not representative of most women living in industrialized countries. So, the media portrays an idealized image that’s difficult to live up to, nor should you have to.
Plus, many of the glossy, flawless images you see gracing Instagram feeds and in magazines are digitally enhanced to make waistlines smaller and legs longer and slimmer. So, you’re not getting a true representation of reality with these images. How can you appreciate your own body when you compare yourself to someone who is airbrushed, Photoshopped, and, possibly, embellishing their lifestyle?
Get a reality check. Visit an art museum and look at paintings through the ages. You’ll see all body types and few bodies that meet the so-called ideal that women strive for today. There is no “one” body that all women should strive for. Even if there were, it would continuously change, as fashion often does. For example, the big booty trend is a relatively recent development.
Stop the Comparison Game
Many people compare their bodies to others to see how they measure up. But how much better would you feel if you stopped comparing your body to someone else’s? Instead, be the best version of yourself because that’s what matters the most. The world should not be a competition but more of a collaboration.
Constantly comparing yourself to others is damaging and makes it difficult to achieve body acceptance and confidence. Instead, rejoice in how your body functions — your ability to walk, run, and jump rather than how the size of your waistline or thighs. You’ll develop a new appreciation of how every human body is marvelous in its own way!
Take a Break from Social Media
Social media fuels the comparison game. When you spend time on sites like Instagram, you’re bombarded with images of people looking their best for the camera. You see a person in beautiful attire and makeup on with incredibly toned abs, and you think they look amazing.
But did you know that many people on social media use filters to enhance the way they look and cover flaws? As with magazines, you don’t see reality. Imagine how much time it took for the “perfect” person on Instagram to prepare for the photo and enhance the photo afterward. It’s not a fair comparison.
If you spend a lot of time on social media and struggle with body image, take a break from social media. Get outside and enjoy life without a phone or connection to social media in your hand. Know you don’t have to spend every minute looking at photos and videos of other people’s lives. When you do this, you’re not living life fully.
Make a list of other things you can do besides following every social media post that shows up on Facebook and Instagram. Social media helps you stay in touch with people you care about and with trends but don’t let it become a toxic habit that takes over your life and lowers your self-esteem.
Don’t Be Obsessed with the Scale
The bathroom scale is a useful tool, but it should not have the power to ruin your day and self-esteem — and some people become obsessed with it. They check the number daily, and either fret about an increase or are happy there was none. That’s not a satisfying way to live! Don’t get caught in this cycle, as it will do nothing to help you make peace with your body.
Keep this in mind too. Body weight can fluctuate by up to five pounds daily based on what you ate, the sodium content of your diet, medications you’re taking, and whether you’re constipated. Frequent weigh-ins create unnecessary stress. At most, weigh yourself once per week as soon as you wake up, and if that stresses you out, ditch the scale. Your mental health is more important.
Exercise for the Mental Health Benefits It Offers
Exercise is the most basic form of self-care. It helps you manage stress, balance hormones, and become your best self. But did you know that exercise is a fantastic form of self-care? Exercise has a positive effect on mood, energy levels, and confidence. The best reason to do it is not to lose weight or change your body but for the mental health benefits it offers.
Plus, exercise shows you what your body is capable of and can help you develop a more positive body image. So take a brisk walk every day and do squats and push-ups. It’s a way to celebrate what your body can do, and it can do good things for your body composition. too. However, don’t make that your only goal. Do it for your health and well-being.
The Bottom Line
The next time you stare in the mirror and don’t like what you see, consider these strategies for overcoming or avoiding a negative body image. At their core, body image issues are all about control. The steps below can help you recognize this and make peace with your body instead of making it another thing that you need to control.
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“Body Image | Psychology Today.” 13 Jul. 2021, www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/body-image.
“Body image | Office on Women’s Health.” 17 Feb. 2021, https://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/body-image-and-mental-health/body-image.
“What is Body Image? – PsychAlive.” 21 Aug. 2015, https://www.psychalive.org/what-is-body-image/.