Why do we worry so much about body image?

soundcloud-iconBody-image is how we think, feel, and react to our own perceived physical appearances to the outer world.  Body-image develops over time based on culture, media, family, peers, others, and our own mental thoughts.  Body image is not permanent; it is always changing and is a process we can work on and adjust over lifetime.

Body image affects everyone- women, men, kids, and teens.  Women especially have a difficult time maintaining a positive self-image with today’s society.  Women in magazines, TV, and advertisements are portrayed as “perfect” and look flawless.  This image is only made by Photoshop, enhancing and editing photos, and perfect lighting, hair, and make-up. Women often feel pressure to look like the perfect image portrayed and often times women get down on themselves, saddened, and depressed because they cannot live up to these “perfect” images.  It is also important for those with children to talk positive about themselves in order for their children to be raised to think positivity of their looks as well.

One goal to set for a healthier body image is to strive for progress, not perfection.  Also, try to make small achievable goals that are not as overwhelming as a huge goal. Then, once that small goal is reached, reset to new goal, and reward yourself for the goal you accomplished already.  Rewards for goals should be non-food prizes (massage, facial, new workout outfit, night to the movies).

Exercise and nutrition goals should set using the SMART system.

Specific (who, what, where, when, why), Measureable (how much, how many), Attainable (must make it come true), Realistic (must represent an object you are both willing and able to work for), Timely (without a timeframe there is no sense of urgency to achieve your goal)

BMI calculators often give an inaccurate measure of body size.  The best ways to track body size or measurements are the size of clothes and the way they fit, how you feel overall, and weighing self (but no more than twice a week).

Some tips to have a healthier lifestyle are include physical activity whenever possible and focus on one change at a time.  Involve your family in a healthy lifestyle.  Some examples are taking a family walk, going to the park, have an indoor Olympics, involve the kids in cooking, trying a new healthy food every time you go to the grocery store.  Also, make sure you take some time for yourself each day (bath, reading, relaxation).

Tips to having a positive self-image:

  • Accept and love who you are
  • Talk positive about yourself to yourself
  • Appreciate all that your body can do (walk, run, dance, breathe, laugh)
  • Write down a list of 10 things you like about yourself and read it often.  Add to your list as you go throughout life
  • Exercise and smile- you will feel great!
  • Remember that true beauty is not only skin deep, self-confidence and openness can go far
  • Surround yourself with positive people, limit negative talk in your life
  • Volunteer- often reaching out to others can help you feel better about yourself

Tips to help others have a positive self-image:

  • Complimenting others every day (we are often our own worse critics and to hear positive things about ourselves from others is very encouraging)
  • Be a good role model- Always speak positive about yourself and the image of others
  • Smile at others

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