The Importance of Health and Body Image
We see images in the media almost every day of what the ‘perfect’ body ‘should’ look like. Today’s teens in particular are assaulted on television, in magazines or on the Internet with images of the ‘perfect’ body. Our body image is often based on what others look like or what we perceive others look like and how that relates to our goals and aspirations for our bodies.
What is body image? Our body image is just that… an image of what we see as our bodies. It’s the way we think about our body and how we think others see it. This awareness and perception is often based on appearance and function. People with a good body image will often see themselves as attractive to others while those with a poor body image will see themselves as unattractive or even repulsive to others.
Body image isn’t unchanging. It is ever ever-changing and commonly not based on fact but rather determined by our self-esteem and psychological in nature. Our body image is sensitive to our emotions, our moods, our water weight retention. We ascertain how to comprehend our body image through interaction with our families and friends but this only reinforces what is acquired culturally.
Our body image is also not grounded on the opinions of others. While some people with great body image may be thought of as unattractive by others while those with a poor image of their bodies might be rated as extremely attractive.
In today’s media driven culture, women are starving themselves and their children, they binge eat or binging and purging. Their children are watching closely to learn what is body image and how to integrate it into their lives. When children are learning from parents whose body image is closely tied to what they perceive as perfection it is no wonder that we are raising a generation of children who aspire to perfection to the point they become anorexic, starve themselves, constantly diet and never eat a nutritious well-balanced diet.
Particularly in their teen years young girls self-esteem is intimately linked to their body image. Self-esteem is how much value people place on themselves, their pride and how worthwhile they feel in themselves. Body image is often tied to self-pride for young teenage girls.
To alter your body image you don’t need to change the way you look, feel, act or live – but you do have to change the way you think of yourself and how attractive you consider yourself to be. Your body is yours. You can’t replicate the current top model and they can’t duplicate you. Nor do you want to because without variety this world would be pretty darned tedious. First be certain that your weight is within healthy bounds and then set about altering what you can and learning to value the diversity of the rest. For example, you can’t change your shoe size or your height but if you feel your legs are too flabby it isn’t something that several hours a week in the gym won’t cure.
The actual goal should always be your health and not your body image. Whether you are undertaking to achieve a healthy weight or healthy toned body the goal should be health. When you take your eyes off of the half-starved, lipo-suctioned, surgically enhanced television stars you’ll realize that your body is beautiful.
When you hear yourself saying negative things about yourself – STOP! You can be your own worst enemy and your biggest fan, rather chose to be your biggest fan.