Monday, 12 November 2012


Health (Photo credit: Tax Credits)
We are prisoners, enslaved to a beauty myth, chained to the false belief that our value is based on our physical appearance alone.

Developing an Unhealthy Body Image 

Over 10 per cent of girls and women in the USA equivalent to up to 10 million are suffering from diagnosed eating disorders.  Of these, at least 50,000 wil die as a direct result!  Scary isn't it?

The American Psychiatric Association recently reported that of all psychiatric disorders, the majority of deaths due to natural and unnatural causes is associated with eating disorders and substance abuse.

You may wonder how did this problem reach such epidemic proportions?  Are we dieting ourselves to death and literally dying to fit in?  Are we so ashamed of our bodies that we learn to hate them so much?  Eating disorders do claim lives and it also has a negative impact on the health and well being of sufferers but there is an even more disturbing picture emerging.  An astounding 80% of women are dissatisfied with their bodies.  It is a shocking number.  It seems that we have learnt to have contempt for our bodies.

Bad body image much?
Bad body image much? (Photo credit: Buttontree Lane)

People with eating disorders are complex and requires interventions by professionals.  Where did it all begin that women are attacking their own bodies and where did we learn that our self worth is measured by external factors usually a number on the scale or the size of our dress?

The answer is in the subtle and constant attacks on our bodies.  It wears us down, shake our confidence and esteem.  Our sense of self, individuality is lost and falling victim to the narrow definitions of beauty as defined by the media. A propaganda machine, the media is bent on shaking our confidence, serves as a constant reminder that we are not good enough, we have not made it and that we just don't measure up.

A poll conducted by People magazine found that 80% of women says that the images of women in the movies, fashion magazines, television and advertisements make them feel insecure about their looks.   The media goes all out to destroy women's confidence in themselves, make them feel 'less than' and the reason is simple-pure economics.  Billions are spent on items such as beauty products, fad diets and clothes.  This is what drives the media machine to keep churning out the images of the perfect woman.  

The entire media empire is literary built on our dis-empowerment.  The impact on women is tremendous and it has created a body hating culture because of the countless myths and misrepresentations.  Photo shop images that are not real or attainable are pushed into our faces every day.  The financial, social, psychological and physical damages of a woman's lifetime pursuit of thinness are unmeasurable.

Here are some guidelines that can help you work towards a positive body image:

Healthy eating pie chart
Healthy eating pie chart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Eat when you are hungry

2. Be realistic about your body size as it is more likely to be based on your genetic and environmental history.

3. Enjoy activities and hobbies.

4. Weekly and monthly changes in weight and shape is normal.

5. Self acceptance and self forgiveness and be gentle with yourself.

6. Family and friends are the go to groups of people who will give you the support and encouragement when you feel under stress.

7. Decide how you wish to spend your energy  pursuing the "perfect body image" or enjoying family, friends, work, school and, most importantly, life.

Learn to love what you see in the mirror

Icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x.
Love your body(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone wants to look their best.  We eat healthily and it promotes healthy skin, hair as well as strong bones.  

However, a healthy body may not always be linked to appearance.  We come in all shapes and sizes.  To change your body image means you are changing the way you think about your body.  Besides that, a healthy lifestyle is also the key to an improved body image.  The two key components to bringing you to love yourself is:-

  • Doing regular exercise. This activity has been shown to boost self-esteem, self-image, and energy levels.
  • Take plenty of rest to manage stress.
My next topic for discussion is, "10 Ways To Stay Young."

You may also like to read:


A perfect body vision,
is only an illusion.
You seek the unattainable,
And die little by little.

You starve ourselves to oblivion.
It's a killing obsession.
The media banks the roll.
Your health takes a toll.

You pay to be skinny,
In the hopes of being pretty.
But what of health?
You throw it away.
For physical wealth
where dangers lay.

Philo Yan
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