Body Image Problems: Reality or Rhetoric
Is having a poor body image such a big deal? Yes, it is.
Poor body image can result in anxiety, depression, low self esteem, and significant social isolation. It can cause financial stress as individuals strive to change their looks through plastic surgery or other expensive means, and can even divorce us from the ability to lead a mindful existence, as we are not able to be present with people if we are worrying about how we look. Poor body image has also been linked to suicidal ideation and even suicide. If we struggle to accept the way we look, we will struggle to accept who we are as a person and this has an enormous impact on the way we function in the world.
Unfortunately, the Western world is very much geared towards an idealised model of how women are supposed to look. Women are still judged heavily on their appearance, and as a result, also judge one another heavily based on appearance. Think about the dialogue among the friends and family who are close to you. Do women in your life comment on your appearance (“you look like you’ve lost weight”, “what have you been doing, you look great”, “you have to tell me about your diet” or “perhaps you shouldn’t eat that lamington, you look like you are a bit heavy at the moment”, …..) the list goes on! Society, driven by the media and the self- interests of the multi-billion dollar diet industry, judges women on how they look, and every time you make a looks based comment to another woman, you are also perpetuating this cycle of an unhealthy focus on appearance.
And, you know what – when we are able to better accept our physical selves, we start to manage to look after our health in a much more helpful way. It is so important to understand that we cannot judge someone’s health by their weight. People can be larger in body size and very healthy (as measured by blood pressure, cholesterol, metabolic rate, visceral fat, etc), and people can be small in size and very unhealthy (based on the above parameters).
If you feel stigmatised due to your size and shape, or you don’t enjoy a healthy body image, give us a call today. Our team of highly skilled psychologists are here to help. Take the first step in obtaining the healthy body image you deserve.
Dr Emma Johnston is available for interview or comment, please call 08 84183834.