He was 6 feet and 48kgs when for the first time he calculated his BMI. BMI chart rated him below average which meant either he needed to compress himself or he needed to put on some weight to pass the “perceived ideal” BMI for a man of his stature.
He was active and agile back then and today even when he is 60, he is more swift and energetic due to unobvious reason; he loves and values himself today more than he did earlier! He has a positive body image of himself which enhanced with time keeping everything else constant and therefore it became quietly audible to him and the world at large.
What is Body Image?
Body-image is basically our self-reflection and not how the mirror defines us. It is the mental representation you create, but it may or may not bear any relation to how others actually see you. So how I see and feel for myself when I stand in front of a mirror or a podium or a camera, it’s what communicates my body image to me and to others.
Body image is subject to different kinds of distortions:
- attitudes of our parents and others
- emotions and moods
Importance of Body image?
Body image and self-esteem directly influence each other—and your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. If you don’t like your body (or a part of your body), it’s hard to feel good about your whole self. The reverse is also true: if you don’t value yourself, it’s hard to notice the good things and give your body the respect it deserves.
Below, see how good body image and self-esteem positively impact mental health:
These are just a few examples. As you can see, good body image, self-esteem, and mental health are not about making yourself feel happy all the time. They are really about respecting yourself and others, thinking realistically, and taking action to cope with problems or difficulties in healthy ways.
Negative Body Image
A negative body image can arise when:
- A person feels that their looks do not measure up to what, and the media expect.
- Culture, family, and friends convey negative messages about our bodies.
- Media, peers, and family members encourage men and women, and even young boys and girls, to believe that there is an ideal body which is often an unnatural one.
Dealing with Body image issues
After years of comparing yourself, putting yourself down, scrutinizing every inch of your body, engaging in negative thinking patterns about yourself and generally feeling unsatisfied, changing perspectives can seem like a major, if not impossible, challenge.
Consider taking some of the steps below:
- Appreciate your body’s ability.
- Look in the mirror and find at least one thing that you like about your body that would be a great start.
- Focus on the function of what the different body parts do. Your body is an amazing vehicle and it does quite a bit for you (i.e. walking/running, writing, smiling, and communicating).
- Be mindful and become aware of what your body can do on a daily basis.
- Become a critic of social and media messages.
- Pay attention to images, slogans, and attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself.
- Remember that ads and commercials are meant to sell you something and the images contained in the media often contribute to thoughts including “I wish I had that,” “I need that,” “I want to look like that.” The images portrayed are often unrealistic and such standards of “beauty” are almost completely unattainable for most individuals, e.g., models portrayed are often unhealthy body weight and likely airbrushed. This sends the message that in order to be “beautiful”, you must be unhealthy.
- Create a life values list and consistently work on harmonizing your actions to your values.
- Use the time and energy doing something that is important to you and that you truly value.
- Remind yourself that you deserve to do the things that you enjoy. Work on getting out of your own way to do the things you enjoy doing.