Our body image is the mental image we have of our physical appearance. Many factors influence our body image, such as how much we weigh, how our weight is distributed, our values about physical appearance, what we hear through the media and of course-what we hear from others.
People with a better body image tend to have higher self esteem. Notice we don’t say a better body, but a better body image. So having a good body image is totally within our control.
Weight Loss in America
Many women are unhappy with their bodies and experience the negative consequences associated with feeling that way. For the most part, women usually want to lose weight and men want to gain muscle. Body image in our society is problematic and weight loss is a preoccupation with most people.
In one study girls in grades 5 through 12 said they wanted to lose weight because of the pictures they saw in magazines. However, only 29% of these 548 girls were actually overweight. The majority of the girls who felt they needed to loose weight were from grades 5 and 6. The girls who regularly read fashion magazines were the girls who were 3 times more likely to have unrealistic body exceptions.
In an effort to achieve the perfect elusive body, many women and men resort to drugs, both legal and illegal. Some of the products that are consumed to lose weight include over the counter weight loss products and a variety of prescription medication. People spent an estimated 20 billion dollars on weight loss products in the United States last year. This is interesting when you consider the people who starving in other parts of the world.
Why Models Look Perfect
There is no doubt that models in magazines, television and film appear perfect. This is because the images are usually computer enhanced to cover up their imperfections—which everyone has.
Movie stars may spend months before shooting a movie with a personal trainer and controlling their diets in order to sculpt their bodies. Clothes, makeup and lighting are carefully chosen to create the perfect image. Then after all of this the movie or picture is computer enhanced to make the actor or model look perfect.
The lesson here is to not believe everything you see! Even the most beautiful and handsome models have imperfections, have to diet and watch what they eat, workout, wear make-up and more.
If we go through our life believing that a perfect body is possible but we cannot attain one, we subject ourselves to a lifetime of dissatisfaction about a very important part of who we are. Using drugs to hopefully enhance our body image is a double edged sward. We may lose weight for a time but more often than not we gain it back while damaging our health in the process.
What is Body Esteem?
Every individual thinks well about certain parts of his or her body, and maybe not so well about others. When the most beautiful actors and models are asked about their physiques, it’s not unusual for them to complain about some part of their body. They may say their nose is too big, they have too much flab on their thighs or their breasts could be bigger. Everyone, even the most gorgeous people have something they would like to change about themselves.
Taking Charge of Your Body Image
Regardless of our body shape and weight right now, it is completely within our control to enhance it and make it better. First we need to appreciate the fact that we have a body at all. If you are someone who hates the way your legs look for instance, try to imagine what it would be like to not even have legs. Putting things in perspective is the first step to appreciating your body.
Next, studies have proved time and time again that the best way to maintain a healthy and attractive body is to eat right and exercise. Exercising 1 hour a day, every day has proven to be the best way to stay in shape. Eating a healthy diet with a focus on fresh fruit, vegetables and lean meats provides excellent nutrition, maintains a healthy weight and nourishes the skin for a healthy glow. When you take care of your health your body image will naturally improve.
And lastly, happy people are attractive people. Dolly Parton says to smile-it gives you face value. Did you know that when you smile it raises the endorphins in you as well as the person you are smiling at? Confidence is the most attractive quality a person can have and nothing is more disappointing than a beautiful person who lacks confidence. So, to improve your body image immediately, you can begin a regular exercise regime, start eating right and smile. When you feel good you look good!