Never before have women been more unhappy with their body image – FACT. A report commissioned by Dove recently revealed that a downright scary 89 per cent of Australian women are less than happy with their body image. That’s almost ALL women cancelling plans, job interviews and other important life and social engagements simply because of how they feel they look. We are now on par with the UK in terms of body confidence ratings with only 20 percent of women surveyed admitting to having high self-esteem.
Women (and men) are under so many pressures to conform to and live up to the impossible beauty standards the media widely portrays to us as being ‘normal’ and ‘achievable’; with social media adding additional fuel to the body image fire – it’s time we took back control of how we see ourselves.
Body image is made up of internal and external factors and it’s essential that we understand these so we might go about recalibrating how we see and talk to ourselves. The internal component is the personal side of body image and the external is societal – or the impact society has on our body image. The media creates a perpetual cycle of discontent with such a strong societal scrutiny on how we look, it’s easy to slip to the dark side of body image. It breeds both physical and mental extreme behaviours like extreme yo-yo dieting, compulsive exercise, eating disorders, unnecessary plastic surgery, body dysmorphia and using drugs to enhance muscle or lose weight. While the media and society are largely to blame for giving us these unrealistic reference points, there are many things you can do to build a stronger, more positive body image for yourself, your family and your loved ones.
Here’s a couple of things to note…
- Positive body image involves understanding and accepting that healthy and attractive bodies come in all different shapes and sizes and that what happens on the outside of someone’s physique doesn’t say a thing about their character, personality or value as a person.
- Question the media! It’s essential to question and to discuss amongst your nearest and dearest about how unrealistic images of supposed ‘beauty’ are portrayed in society.
- Place less emphasis on numbers. Your body image does not equal the number you weigh on the scales or the size of clothing you wear. Bodies all have different compositions and every woman holds weight and muscle differently on her frame and according to her height. This is genetics! Set yourself realistic, healthy goals for YOU, not compared to other women who are nothing like you.
- Stop comparing! It’s difficult not to gaze enviously at the airbrushed and toned models we’re surrounded with everyday, but stop, and remind yourself that even the most naturally beautiful women are Photoshopped in the media. We all need to achieve a sense of appreciation for what our unique bodies are to us, and be grateful for the one-of-a-kindness we all should feel proud of.
- Spend time with people who have healthy body images and engage in positive activities to promote their best selves.
- If you’re unhappy with your own body, set yourself a realistic goal and get the help of people you trust to put together a step-by-step plan to achieving physical and mental health around how you feel about your body.
Watch this video where I share my own personal struggle with weight and body image and how I set about achieving not only my goals, but created and fostered a sense of self-love so strong that it changed my life (and one very special day!)…