Body modifications and diet advertisements are everywhere! The vulnerability of humans already facing self–image problems opens windows to such devastating extremes. Self-image can be a very tough conflict for many people. Nobody is 100% happy with their bodies and there are different extremities to what people will do to change. What people do and go through to become “perfect,” stems from this feeling of not good enough.
Makeup, eating disorders, exercise, diets, pills, surgeries, and clothes are just a few things people use to hide or change their body. Many changes can done in a healthy way and with positive intentions but when it’s done in an unhealthy way and with the unattainable goal of being “perfect,” it becomes incredibly dangerous.
I personally know quite a few individuals that have struggled with eating disorders. I’m one of them. Lots of youth go through diet “phases” and are extremely self-conscious. But it’s not taken seriously because we are so accustomed to this weight loss culture.
If these behavior’s aren’t done safely they can escalate to disordered eating behaviors and on to a clinical eating disorder.
Eating disorders are psychiatric illnesses well-defined by abnormal or disturbed eating habits that may include either deficient or excessive food intake most often due to distorted body image. There are even cases of children as young as 7 and 8 developing eating disorders.
Food is not the enemy. It is the essential fuel of life.
But unfortunately, a lot of advertising and messaging in the mainstream media makes it seem like this is not the case. That food is a foe to be conquered.
Thigh gaps and concave stomachs should never be your goal and for most people are an unrealistic expectation that requires unhealthy habits to obtain.
Many people don’t realize the images they see in the magazines are not real. Excessive editing and air-brushing is used to get that “flawless” look, to the point that many models and celebrities have come out and said that images of them in the media do not reflect their true selves.
Of course it’s Photoshop. People don’t look like that.
The internet has given us so much more access to information, to millions of pro-ana or pro-mia sites, blogs and pages full of eating disorder tricks, tips, photos, and products. Magazines that advertise the skinny fixes are devoured by vulnerable youth who are already struggling with their confidence into a mindset that allows an ED to attack easily.
So what can we do about this? We can’t control what the media puts out but we can control how we perceive it, or at least be more aware that we are being manipulated, and understand that so many of the images we see do not reflect real people. We need to make an effort to think positively and speak positively about our bodies, even though it’s not always easy.
And finally, we need to accept that maybe some days we simply won’t be able to feel positive about how we look, but we need to deal with those days using healthy coping strategies, and not turn to destructive methods.
With this hopefully we can lessen the negative control body-image has on all of us, and be ourselves without being influenced by the “fake perfection” we get hit with every day.
If you need some coping strategies or even just a little positive support, talk to ConnecTeen.