Body image is defined as the way one perceives their own body. Many factors can influence the way a person conceptualizes their own body image. From being teased in childhood, to the constant emphasis of appearance in the media, negative body image could develop from a young age. For instance, someone may adopt unhealthy crash diets, use smoking or weight loss pills to lose weight.
For women specifically, 80-90% of Canadian women feel unhappy with the way they look and studies emphasize the significance of body image as a factor that influences a woman’s self-esteem.
What are possible triggers negative body image?
Summer: People start on fads or crash diets to attain that coveted “summer body” as the weather warms up.
Self-weighing: Occasional checks on weight are necessary to keep tabs on one’s health, like at the doctor’s office. But too frequent checking of one’s weight can lead to a negative feedback loop and encourage people to engage in diets or unhealthy behaviors to maintain or reduce their weight.
Media: With certain body types and facial features being glorified on social media, the effects of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter attribute to an unhealthy idea of thinness and unattainable perfection.
How can you improve your body image?
A key way to enhance your positive body image is to try to stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone’s body is different and can’t be compared at face value. Give yourself positive affirmations when you’re facing a bout of low self-esteem or confidence. Practice mindful acknowledgment of the parts of your body or attributes that you love and wholeheartedly embrace. Through this, you will be able to truly employ the concept of “self-love.”
The next method is to use “social media hygiene” by unfollowing social media accounts that can be triggering and make you feel less confident in yourself and your body. Lastly, be mindful of your relationship with food, by trying to think of food as providing vital and necessary nourishment and energy for you to do all the things you love and keep your body healthy.