Every other week there’s a new fad diet promising to get us shedding the pounds and look beautifully thin in record time. Advertisers everywhere are trying to sell us the latest books, regimes and pills to help us lose weight; it’s pretty hard to escape the craze. While it is extremely important to keep ourselves healthy and in check, and obesity is a serious problem, there’s a lot of emphasis on how we look, rather than how healthy we are. Take BMI for example, a method to determine if you’re a ‘normal, healthy’ weight, based purely on height and weight. It doesn’t take into account fat or muscle percentage, or the fact the muscle is indeed heavier than fat. It doesn’t count for the fact that people have different builds, and a broader person will naturally weigh more than someone with a narrow frame.
The problem arises when all of this deeply affects our own body image. We compare ourselves with these ‘perfect’ standards, and more often than not, end up feeling not good enough. Too skinny, too fat, too tall, too short. How often have you thought ‘oh I just wish this part of my body was bigger/smaller’? With time, these thoughts regress into having a negative body image. Both how you judge yourself when looking in the mirror, and think about yourself in general. Having a negative body image means you’re at higher risk of certain mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.
There needs to be more emphasis on having a positive body image. You need to accept and love yourself. Start by trying to make your goals about being healthier, rather than trying to change or fix things. When you look in the mirror, focus on the things you like about yourself, compliment yourself, and this will slowly change the way you think about yourself. Remember that everyone is different, so avoid comparing yourself to others. You should feel good about your appearance, and feel comfortable in your body.