Achieving A Positive Body Self Image
Do these jeans make me look fat? In the U.S., 75 percent of adult women and 54 percent of adult men are dissatisfied with their appearance. Chris Meno, psychologist at the Indiana University
Health Center in Bloomington, said many studies involving eating disorders have identified poor body image and disordered eating, such as chronic dieting, over-exercise, occasional binge eating, vomiting or use of diet or weight loss pills, as risk factors for dieting and the development of eating disorders in both women and men. Of college-aged women, 40 percent to 60 percent have concerns about disordered eating and body image.
Why are so many men and women unhappy with their appearance? Meno said it may be due to Western culture's constant chatter about weight loss
and obesity, the idealization of thinness, and the implied message that in order to be "attractive," one should resemble those who grace the pages of fashion and fitness magazines. There have been studies showing that within minutes of viewing these idealized images, women experience body dissatisfaction, guilt, and feelings of stress and depression. It should be noted that men also report greater body dissatisfaction after viewing athletic or muscular images just one time.
DeeDee Dayhoff, clinical social worker with Counseling and Psychological Services at the Indiana University Health Center, offers the following tips on how to become comfortable with your body image:
Limit/stop your "fat talk." Examples of fat talk include: "I hate how fat these jeans make me look." "I can't believe I just ate all of that for lunch." Fat talk is "toxic chatter" and erodes self-esteem.
Resist engaging in fat talk about others. This includes making critical comments about the way that others look.
Work on developing a more accepting and positive attitude about your body. Every day, you can make an effort to name something that you appreciate or that your body helps you do.
Develop a more critical eye and ear about negative messages conveyed in the media. Don't allow the media to control your self-esteem or perception of your body image; think critically about what the advertisement is trying to sell you or what distorted messages about appearance are being projected.
Get rid of all of your "skinny jeans" or any clothing, magazines or scales that make you feel you have to diet to fit into them. Wear clothing that is comfortable and that makes you feel great about the body that you do have.
for lots of practical and positive information on improving your self image.