Home > Diet & Fitness > Cultivating a Realistic Body Image

Cultivating a Realistic Body Image

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Body Image Negative Body Realistic

The next time you can spare a minute, have a look in the mirror. What do you see staring back at you? How would you describe yourself? How do you perceive your body? This perception is your body image, or what you think you see in the mirror.

Unfortunately a person's body image is often very different from their actual body. It is this distortion, this negative body image, that often pushes people to their limit trying to change what isn't actually there. Rather than fight with this phantom image, cultivate a realistic body image based on what your body can do, and how you feel, rather than how you think your body looks.

The Basis for Your Body Image

Many young people base their body image on what they see in the media. Young women want to be thin and willowy, and young men want bulging biceps and washboard abs. Yet what is wandering onto our TV and cinema screens, and popping up in our magazines and websites, are the exceptions rather than the rule. In reality, base your body image on:

  • Medically accepted standards, such as a total body fat percentage of under 30% for women and 25% for men, or by calculating your body mass index, a ratio of your weight to your height, to see if it is in the normal weight range of under 25.
  • How you feel. When your body feels healthy and strong, then your body image should be as well.
  • Respect for yourself. Don't compare yourself to supermodels or celebrities, or even to your friends who have naturally different body shapes. Respect your shape and enjoy yourself.
  • Your body! Don't let your emotions get in the way of what you see in the mirror.

Changing a Negative Body Image

It's likely that if you sneak a quick peek in the mirror, you'll have at least one criticism of your body. We live in a society fixated on weight, beauty and fashion, and even the most confident of us will feel down at some time or another. If you find yourself fearful of your reflection, you must take measures to change this before you wind up miserable.

  • Participate in a favourite activity. When you use your body, you're more likely to respect it.
  • Walk to the shops. Remind yourself that you rely on your body and should treat it accordingly.
  • Organise a balanced, healthy diet. Your body can only feel as good as what you put into it, so make sure your fuel is fresh and healthy.
  • Quit smoking, drinking and/or taking drugs. Unhealthy chemicals will only make you feel slow and bloated.
  • Plan, and execute, a new exercise regime with a professional. If you feel unhappy in your own skin, take measures to change the situation but only with the advice of a professional.
  • Seek therapy. If you lead a healthy life and your body fat and body mass index are both in the normal ranges, then your negative perception is likely only in your mind. Talk it out with a professional and explore why you feel the way you do.
Body image is a tricky subject. Most of us know in the back of our minds that we need our bodies to be fit and healthy, but if we're honest we'll also admit that we want them to look well and be the perfect peg for designer clothes while we're at it. Rather than letting these unrealistic goals fester, focus on living healthily and enjoying the results!

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Lola
    Re: All about Abortion
    I think im pregnant im 13 almost 14 but im not sure what to do its been a week or 2 weeks im not sure on what to do ive already lost mum and i…
    3 July 2020
  • Sasuke
    Re: How to Deal with Pressure From Parents
    Same my mom doesn't understands my feelings and is always saying I time pass..even when I am viewing some light joke…
    25 June 2020
  • Ian
    Re: Coping With Strict Parents
    Before I reached puberty, my parents treated me very well, just like many parents do to their only child. Being my social partners…
    25 June 2020
  • BarbieAri
    Re: Coping With Strict Parents
    That is sad I can relate to every single one of you...I'm not gonna write about it because I would take up to like 2 pages...but…
    24 June 2020
  • Charlie
    Re: Coping With Strict Parents
    My parents don’t let me hang out with anyone. When I ask why they get mad at me and say “because we don’t want you to”. I can’t leave…
    21 June 2020
  • unknown
    Re: How to Deal with Pressure From Parents
    I am in lockdown and do all of my school work at home. I dont know why but I have not been doing enough and the…
    18 June 2020
  • Lili
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    I’ve seen your comments and it’s inspired me too tell you guys my story. I’m Lili I’m 13 years old and I’ve never had the courage…
    8 June 2020
  • Lily
    Re: How to Deal with Pressure From Parents
    I am 18 and i am going to uni soon.i am not a really open person with my family because i felt there is nothing to…
    8 June 2020
  • Ashleen
    Re: How to Deal with Pressure From Parents
    Hi I am in form 3.I used to be a performer but suddenly i started becoming worse in class 7. Since i started high…
    5 June 2020
  • Evee
    Re: Coping With Strict Parents
    Hey, I am fifteen years old. I have lived with my Grandparents since I was about a month old, my mother is a drunk as my father is…
    4 June 2020