How do you feel when you look in the mirror? Negative body image is something many people — both men and women — struggle with. When we fall short of societal beauty standards, we may experience shame, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and even poor physical health. Moreover, you may even try to conform to beauty ideals via extreme dieting, purging, over-exercise, or steroid use. Poor body image is harmful to mental and physical health; that’s why it’s so important to address these issues and find ways to feel better about your body.
Pay attention to the media you consume
The media we’re exposed to has a huge impact on our self-esteem. Studies have shown exposure to images exemplifying the “thin and beautiful” cultural ideal results in greater body dissatisfaction among women. It’s no secret that many TV shows, movies, magazines, adverts, and websites are aflood with idealized and unrealistic bodies. You can minimize your exposure to media overly image-focused by reducing your consumption of it. Instead, only give your time and attention to media which educates, inspires, and uplifts: this could mean watching documentaries and reading travel, health, and wellness publications.
Nourish your body
Body image issues are often tied up with unhealthy eating habits like restrictive dieting or eating disorders. Focusing on health and nourishing your body from within can help you feel better and
improve how you view your body. Treat your body with care and respect by being mindful of the nutrients it requires on a daily basis. Eat enough fruits and vegetables, and limit refined sugar and processed foods — these can make you feel sluggish and tired, and disrupt digestive health.
Dress for the body you have
You may be in the habit of dressing in oversized clothes in order to conceal your body. But, in reality, baggy outfits actually serve to highlight your size and can make you look bigger. Or maybe you buy clothes too small as an incentive to lose weight — but not only is this uncomfortable, it also further feeds body disfastication. The solution? Dress for the body you have now, not the one you want! Choose clothes you like and feel comfortable in. Have confidence in how you look, and you’ll automatically feel good about yourself.
While it won’t happen overnight, it’s certainly possible to improve your body image on your own. However, if your body image issues run deep, you may need outside help. Consider consulting with a licensed therapist who specializes in body image issues and eating disorders and begin your journey of healing.