Developing a Healthy Body Image
The media often depicts women in an unrealistic manner. We are shown models with what is deemed as the perfect body. The media neglects to show what is natural. This can be extremely harmful to body image as a whole. The beauty standard is constantly changing, new trends come and go while women are expected to adapt to these changes. A poor body image can lead to a decrease in confidence, an unhealthy relationship with food, low self esteem, etc. It can be extremely difficult to reject these standards and appreciate ourselves, but we must strive to do so, step by step.
Identifying Harmful media and striving to avoid it
Social media can seem harmless. We simply scroll past images and videos of loved ones, friends, mutuals, influencers, etc. This is a subconscious act on the mind. Social media presents a perfect image by showing people at their best. When we see these images and judge ourselves, we begin to develop different ideas of what is deemed beautiful. And slowly we strive to fit that standard. You don't have to quit social media in order to achieve a good body image, but you do have to recognize its effect on our values and self confidence.
Harmful media can include:
Claiming to significantly change the body (do this workout and achieve abs within a week)
Diet hacks (drink cucumber and pineapple to lose ten pounds in a week)
Apps for calorie counting
“What I eat in a day as a model”
Spending too much time on social media is harmful as well.
Try to set time limits
Follow body positive influencers on social media platforms.
Challenging core beliefs about our bodies
We must challenge longterm beliefs about our bodies in order to dismantle them. We can begin by identifying harmful statements we make about ourselves
Harmful statements include:
“If only I were ten pounds skinnier”
“I look so ugly in this picture”
“Why does my body look so disgusting”
“I wished I looked like her”
We must work to recognize these statements and then challenge them with positive statements.
For example: “Why does my body look so disgusting”- Today I was feeling bad about my body because of the way I looked in a picture. The picture captured a second of the day and it doesn't capture all of the wonderful things my body did for me today. I took a hike today because of my amazing body. I got to see this beautiful view because of my amazing body, I got to enjoy a bowl of fruit loops because of my amazing body.
Little challenges like the example shown can make significant impacts in the long term.
Embracing our bodies
Everybody is unique and beautiful. If we begin to accept this we begin to find the beauty in ourselves.
We can do this by:
Surrounding ourselves with diverse body types
Identifying the physical traits of ourselves that we love and adore. For example: I love my beautiful freckles, I thought my hair looked wonderful today, I look beautiful in this shade of green.
Remind yourself that beauty isn't a set of trait but a state of mind- you get to decide your definition of beauty
Do something kind for your body: take a bubble bath, enjoy a day in the sun, have a spa day
Everyone deserves to be proud of their bodies and to feel confident. Sometimes this can be extremely difficult, but if we work to dismantle societal standards, challenge core beliefs, and embrace our bodies we can develop healthy relationships with our them.
“10 Ways to Practice Body Positivity · Well Being Trust.” Well Being Trust, 7 Aug. 2019, wellbeingtrust.org/news/10-ways-to-practice-body-positivity/.
“Body Image and Self-Esteem (for Teens) - Nemours KidsHealth.” Edited by D'Arcy Lyness, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Aug. 2018, kidshealth.org/en/teens/body-image.html.
Doyle, Megan. “My Journey To Body Positivity and Self Love & 5 Techniques I’Ve Learned Along The Way.” Google Search, Google, www.google.com/search?q=body%2Bpositivity&rlz=1CAEVJI_enUS940US940&sxsrf=ALeKk02dYVnGiezeLr08d13rpMTyFJNJ4w%3A1618448212612&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi30LK2hf_vAhUHKFkFHVhDDUIQ_AUoAnoECAEQBA&biw=1396&bih=649#imgrc=4boiNhiASkGQTM&imgdii=5hWI89sJHjWq2M.
“How Body Image Is Portrayed in the Media.” Safeline, 6 June 2017, www.safeline.org.uk/how-body-image-is-portrayed-in-the-media/.