“Am I too skinny?”
“Am I too fat? Ugh, I look like a potato.”
“I’m sooo hairy! How is this even possible?”
“My nose is just ugly!”
“I’ve got a bush on my head. Why is my hair so frizzy?”
“I’m so short!”
“I’m way too tall!”
– Have these thoughts ever come across your mind? Do you feel like every time you’re choosing outfits or shopping, you’re about to have a breakdown? Do you cancel things last minute because you feel that you don’t fit well into your clothes?
Chances are that you might be suffering from body image issues. A very large percentage of girls & women suffer from body image issues and feel dissatisfied with their bodies. These issues are cultivated in the society that we live in. Growing up, we’re often told that we’re either too “skinny“, too “fat“, too “big” and the list goes on!
The notion that we’re not enough is instilled in us either through people’s comments or through the social media content that we consume. In a day & age, where filters are prevalent and most pictures on social media get photoshopped, it becomes easy for us to compare ourselves to the beauty standards set by celebrities.
Body image problems can fester and negatively impact our mental health causing an array of issues, one of them being eating disorders. Eating disorders can cause the entirety of your day to be controlled by thoughts around food. Women and teen girls may find themselves binging, skipping meals, exercising excessively, taking an insane amount of laxatives or being bulimic.
On the other hand, some of us may not be struggling with an eating disorder but we may find ourselves going on unhealthy crash diets and possibly getting addicted to them since they bring instant results.
So how do we get out of this rut? The beautiful truth is that we have different body shapes, different body features, different skin colours and that’s what makes us so beautifully diverse! It may sound cliché but trust me, when I tell you, you are perfect with all your “flaws”. It’s totally normal for us to have stretch marks, birthmarks, pimples, stomach rolls, hair on our body etc. We spend so much time believing that we have to fit into certain clothes and sizes, yet we don’t realise that the clothes are meant to fit onto us (not the other way around).
So here are some practical tips to build a better body image for yourself!
- Make a list about 5 things you like about yourself (e.g. I’m always there for my friends). Write them on a post note & stick them up.
- Avoid weighing yourself. Work on shifting your focus from the looks of your body to the health of your body.
- Listen to your body when it comes to food. Instead of focusing on calories, aim to ask yourself – “What does my body want?”
- Wear clothes that make you feel good & confident about yourself. Any clothes that are too tight, too baggy or those that make you feel down, can be donated.
- Get some movement in your day. Go for a walk, go swimming or dancing- whatever form of activity you like. Being active causes the release of endorphins (i.e. happy hormones yayyy!)
And if you feel that you may be suffering from an eating disorder, seek professional help. This could be your first step to accepting your body! If you have any tips on embracing body positivity, do leave them in the comment section below.