Studies show that only 21% of adults feel satisfied with their body (Mentalhealth.org).
As a teenager and adult, I struggled with my body image and the pressure to be thin, fit, and healthy. But what does “healthy” actually look like? And who is it telling us that we need to look a certain way in order to be happy with ourselves?
The way you feel about your body is called your “body image” and relates to the amount of satisfaction or dissatisfaction you feel about your shape and weight.
We learn to be dissatisfied with our bodies far too early in life. Children are now becoming anxious about their weight and often judge themselves by external standards such as peers, family and especially social media. Diet fads and weight loss messages are influencing the younger generation which result in a disconnect from the idea that food is a way to nourish and fuel the body, and exercise is a natural way to move and enjoy life. In turn, as adults they are less able to care for their bodies and are at a greater risk of a negative body image, eating, fitness and weight disorders, weight gain, and poor overall health (bodyimagehealth.org). However, with some work, and a shift in the way you view yourself, a positive self-image can be obtained no matter what stage you are in life.
Use the following tips to help develop a healthy body image and love yourself:
- Acknowledge that the way we look is just one part of us and in order to be happy, we need to pay attention to ALL parts of who we are.
- Put energy into enjoying things you love like family, friends, pets, school, travel, exercise, art, etc. rather than pursuing the “perfect” body.
- Admire people for who they are on the inside. When comparing yourself to others, ask “what is good for me?” rather than “am I good enough?”. Then be the best that YOU can be.
- Expect normal changes in your weight and body shape, especially as you face different stages in your life such as having a family, stress, and growing older.
- Look in the mirror everyday and find positive things to say about yourself inside and out.
- Eat a diet rich in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, fish, and good fats to support your mental health and combat negative feelings of “self”.
- Be active. It is one of the most important aspects of maintaining health and happiness.
- Block out what you might hear about having the ‘right’ body size. We are born to be different! Instead, eat well, stay active, and love your body.
Your body is an important vessel that can help you to reach your dreams. Be sure to nourish it with adequate sources of energy and remember to be your own best friend, treat yourself with kindness and respect, and be happy with who you are!
For more information about meal preparation and quick, healthy recipes please contact Michelle Stone R.H.N at firstname.lastname@example.org. Body Design offers Personal Training, Nutrition, Yoga and Fitness classes to assist individuals achieve their health and weight loss goals.