The problem with body image is that it is a self perception of how you look, that becomes a psychological drain on you which can cause lasting emotional and physical damage. Unfortunately just because it is your own perception of self, does not mean that changing it is an easy task. These are issues that should never be taken lightly, whether you have a general negative body image or a serious body image disorder. It is important to remember that dealing with body image issues does not end just because your adolescent years do; it is something that continues to change and evolve as you receive feedback from others, to create your image of self worth. Even if you do not suffer from this physiological and psychological struggle yourself there are people surrounding us everyday who struggle with their body image.
The most common signs of body image issues are:
- Scale Obsession
- Negative Self Verbalization
- Model or Celebrity Body Worship
- Frequent or Constant Drastic Diets
- Over Scrutinization of Body Part(s)
- Preoccupation of Self Reflection (Mirror)
While most of these behaviors can be observed, on a small scale, in almost anyone, we are discussing the instances when they become obsessive and destructive to one’s self worth and basic functioning. This is when the issue of body image can become dangerous and lead to body image disorders, which are more severe and harmful to a person’s health. If recognized before the body image distortion becomes a disorder there is a much better chance that one will be able to change their behaviors to reflect a healthier lifestyle without professional help.
Forget diets and focus on eating nutritiously. Many diets focus on the restrictions of certain foods, which can cause us to want those foods more essentially causing us to fail before we even begin. Healthy eating on the other hand simply refers to the proportional eating of all types of foods. Instead of restricting foods completely, a healthy person will consume them in moderation.
Practice self perception and fight the urge to compare yourself to unrealistic models and celebrities. Keep in mind that the body type of a model makes up less than 2% of the population and that celebrities often have expensive trainers, nutritionists, and an abundance of time to focus on their appearance to prepare for or maintain their job.
Listen to your body physiologically and then adapt your behaviors to what it is telling you. Feeling constantly stressed, anxious, tired, and depressed are not normal and should be solved with increased awareness of nutrition.
Solve your problems rather than trying to ignore them and erase them with foods. While some of your anxieties can be solved by food, it has to be nutritionally rich food and it has to be consumed properly. Because it is possible to overeat, even with healthy foods, portion control is just as important as the types of food being eaten.
Set realistic goals surrounding your health and nutrition, rather than around your body size or weight. Keep in mind your self worth when you’re setting the goals and remember that muscles weigh more than fat, so the number on the scale may actually increase when you’re living a healthy lifestyle and becoming more fit, rather than decrease.
Plan and prepare your meals and workouts in advance so that you aren’t tempted to undereat or overeat. This will also insure that you make time to build muscle and strengthen your body. Remember that muscle tone, and definition are more desireable than skin and bones.
Body Image Disorders:
Once a distortion is categorized as a disorder, it has already morphed into a serious psychological problem, and the chance of self-healing drastically diminishes as it becomes imperative that the person seeks help from a psychological professional.
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