So today I had my last piece of chocolate, my last coke and said goodbye. Goodbye for a long time because until I learn how to balance what I am eating, I am not touching it again. Due to today bringing in this new stand on my health and lifestyle choices, I have done some research on body image.
I have included some of what I have found in my post and yes- there is some stuff about children and teens. I may not be one myself anymore but body image effects everyone, men and women. These days young children are being influenced (of course this has been going on for a while though I feel it important to point out that it is becoming a lot worse) by their environment and social media that it only makes sense that as teens the image of themselves either becomes worse to the point of hating themselves or they have made the conscience and healthy decision to not pay attention to the flashy media signs of what body image should be. Kind of feel like there should have been a full stop somewhere in there
Lets discuss the issue:
What is body image:
Body image is how you think and feel about your body. The way you picture your body in your mind, may or may not may or may not match your body’s actual size and shape. This is your body image and can effect how you feel toward your body usually negative if your body isn’t the way the picture in your mind is.
Healthy/Positive body image: Where you feel happy and satisfied with your body and can accept who you are and what you look like.
Unhealthy/Negative body image: Where you feel unhappy, unsatisfied and wanting to change what you look like.
The body image you have growing up may or may not change depending on your lifestyle choices and self esteem. Sometimes in adulthood the body image you had as a child/teen are outgrown due to a strong self esteem. However, sometimes the body image you had growing up stays with you are intensives- often due to low self esteem.
Note: Body issues effect us all differently- men, women, girls and boys. For example, teenage girls who don’t like their bodies often want to lose weight and be thinner. Teenage boys want to lose weight, be taller or have more muscles.
In childhood, there are so many different things that can influence your mind. Factors such as family environment, ability or disability, the attitudes of peers, the media, the fashion industry and cultural background.
As puberty hits children, thoughts about their looks begin to occur more frequent. They may be starting to feel pressure about fitting in and how looking ‘good’ is the best way to fit in. This is the overall formation of body image later in life.
Risk factors of negative body image-
For teens there are many risk factors that may cause or contribute to their body image. Some of these are-
- A feeling a pressure from family, peers or media to fit into a narrow ideal of beauty and attractiveness
- A feeling of unworthiness due to family members or peers teasing them about the way they look
- They have a different body shape or weight from peers- this sometimes puts a negative thought in teens minds that there is something wrong with them for being different
- Seeing the ‘ideal’ body shape in magazines and media outlet and thinking they can never ‘look like her/ him’ or ‘I’ll never be that beautiful’
- The constant comparing to others. Looking at themselves on the ‘outside’ and worrying about how others will think them
- Having physical disabilities can servery impact on body image of young and mature teens
Having a low self esteem and a negative/unhealthy body image can lead to negative moods and mood swings.
I’m going to get real and share with you all what has happened to me growing up. I have always been a bigger girl. This was due to stress mainly as my parents being divorced and going to court for custody over me. Now, my mum was/is a bigger lady too and growing up she would never face her own weight rather make me feel horrible for being a bigger child. I mean I wasn’t that big but differently on the overweight scale. Anyway, because she took it out on me a lot, she would call me fatty boom sticks or if I had lost a little bit of weight to fix the problem, she would say I was too thin. There was never an in between and it made me feel awful. Actually thinking about it, that’s probably one of the reasons why I never learnt to balance my food.
Body image concerns- Signs to watch out for:
- Feeling of inadequancy about or criticise her/his body – might say they’re ugly
- Continually comparing their body with others
- Not want to leave the house because of the way they look
- Not doing activities or trying new things because of the way they feel about their body
- Obsess about losing weight, or about specific parts of their body, like the face or legs
- Frequently checking their body – they might spend lots of time looking at themselves in the mirror or taking photos and looking for changes or imperfections
- Link food with feelings of guilt, shame or blame
How can you help yourself and others you may know develop a healthy body image?
Talking about body image and being open and honest with yourself and those around you is one of many steps you can take to developing a healthy body image. This can help both teen and adults as often teens are confused and feel pressure (sometimes their own doing) regarding body image so by talking about can help them understand and appreciate their bodies more and for adults, talking about body image can help them make a choice of which path they want to take- getting fit and in shape or not really caring.
Also by being a positive role model. Being positive toward your own body image shows others what healthy body image is. This may make it easier for them to accept and appreciate their own body if they can see you demonstrating your own healthy body image.
I think I’m going to leave this post here for the night. However, I will be continuing at some point tomorrow because this is a serious issue and is very close to my heart. Body image is a very broad topic with so many different paths along the body image journey.
Remember to stay beautiful xx
Till next time xx