Body image is how you perceive your own body. It’s often influenced by outside factors such as the media and the people around. However, it’s ultimately up to you to decide how you feel about your body.
A positive body image is important because it can help you feel good about yourself and make healthy choices for your body. For example, if you have a positive body image, you’re more likely to care for yourself by eating right and exercising. You’re also less likely to compare yourself to others and feel bad about yourself.
On the other hand, a negative body image can lead to unhealthy behaviours such as crash dieting, over-exercising and avoiding social situations. Negative body image can also lead to eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia. These are serious mental illnesses that can have devastating effects on your health, like organ damage and even death.
A recent study shows that today’s youth become increasingly dissatisfied with their body image as their body mass index changes from adolescence to young adulthood. If you’re in this group, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
If you want to improve your relationship with your body, there are certain things you should avoid. Here are five mistakes to avoid when overcoming your body image issues.
1. Denying Help
A healthy support system is crucial when improving your body image. This can be friends, family, a therapist, or anyone else who will support and help you through this process. Refusing their help will make it harder for you to overcome your body image issues.
Depending on your situation, a loved one can help convince you to see a specialist. Suppose you have bulimia. They can help you reach out to the pros that offer effective bulimia recovery programs. Thankfully, many therapists now offer both outpatient and inpatient treatment for bulimia. They can provide the appropriate level of care to help you get through this difficult time in your life.
2. Comparing Yourself To Others
Making comparisons is a dangerous game when it comes to body image. This is because you’re always going to find someone “better” than you somehow. However, that doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. Everyone is different and unique in their own way.
Comparing yourself to others will only make you feel worse about yourself. What you can do instead is to focus on your own journey and what makes you happy. Focus on your own progress and celebrate your accomplishments.
For instance, if you’ve been working hard to eat healthier and exercise more, celebrate when you reach your goals. Don’t compare yourself to someone who is already at their goal weight. Focus on your own journey and be proud of your accomplishments.
3. Embracing Your Negative Thoughts
One of the most harmful things you can do when you have a negative body image is to embrace your negative thoughts about your body. This includes any self-destructive thoughts such as “I’m too fat,” “I’m not good enough,” or “Nobody will ever want to date me.” These thoughts are harmful because they’re not true and keep you from seeing your body in a positive light.
Instead of embracing negative thoughts, try to reframe them. For example, instead of thinking, “I’m too fat,” try saying, “I’m healthy, and I love my body.” This may take some time, but your negative thoughts will eventually start to change.
It also helps to write down your negative thoughts and then write a positive response to them. For example, you can reframe “I’m too fat” as “I am beautiful the way I am.” This will help you start to see your body in a more positive light.
4. Focus On Your Weight
Your weight is only a number, and it doesn’t define you as a person. Instead of fixating on your weight, focus on your health. For example, focus on eating healthy and exercising regularly instead of worrying about how much you weigh.
These days, there are many ways to measure your health. You can use a body mass index (BMI) calculator, or you can get your body fat percentage measured. Or, you can simply focus on how you feel. Do you have more energy? Are you sleeping better? Are you able to do things that you couldn’t do before? These are all signs of improved health, regardless of your weight.
5. Refusing To Be Physical
Physical activity is vital for both your physical and mental health. It can help improve mood, increase energy levels, and reduce stress. It can also help you sleep better and improve your overall health.
However, many people with negative body image avoid physical activity because they fear how they look or feel. They may worry that others will judge them or they won’t be able to keep up with everyone else. Some even feel conscious while trying to exercise in public, thinking everyone is judging them.
If you’re avoiding physical activity because of your body image, remember that everyone is different and that there is no “right“ way to look when you’re working out. Everyone has different bodies, and everyone exercises differently. The most important thing is finding an activity that you enjoy and makes you feel good.
Body image issues can be tough to deal with, but there are ways to overcome them. The mistakes discussed are counterproductive in improving your relationship with your body. Instead, focus on your own journey and what makes you happy. Be proud of your accomplishments and focus on your health. These things will help you see your body in a more positive light.