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Women and Thoughts About Body Image

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

“I love my body. It’s perfect just as it is!” said no woman ever.

Why is this? Why do women always think they must improve their bodies regardless of their metrics? Is it possible for us to ever be satisfied when we look in the mirror? If I had to guess, I’d say that this dissatisfaction has gotten worse since the invention of the internet and social media. In an American Psychological Association journal article on body image concerns among women, a meta-analysis found that body image issues in women may be related to exposure to media images of the thin-ideal body. (PsycNet, n.d.)

Societal "norms" can be misleading because the idea of what a beautiful body looks like has changed over time, but the pressures are still apparent in women's everyday lives. Processes of comparison can lead to misery, or they can inspire someone to pursue better health.

Another crucial component of body image that we can identify is that as we age, our bodies will change in different ways, which can be challenging to navigate.

Body image is a complex issue for many women and can significantly impact their mental and physical well-being. Societal pressures to conform to a specific physical ideal and internalized beliefs about beauty and self-worth can contribute to negative body image.

Women of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds can experience body image concerns. Sometimes these concerns can develop into more harmful conditions, such as eating disorders or body dysmorphic disorders. There is no one solution to addressing body image concerns, as each individual's experience is unique. Eating well and exercising regularly can catalyze change, leading to a more positive body image.

Here are some strategies that may help to create a more positive body image:

1. Practice self-compassion: Being kind and understanding towards yourself can help cultivate a more positive self-image.

2. Use positive affirmations daily in verbal and written form to help promote a healthy mindset. Write a “gratitude list” about all the amazing things your body can and has done. When a negative thought clouds your mind, identify it as such and work to change and replace it with positive ideas.

3. Surround yourself with positive influences: This might include finding supportive friends or seeking media that celebrates diverse body types.

4. Focus on health rather than appearance: Prioritizing behaviors that support physical and emotional health, such as exercise and self-care, can help shift the focus away from appearances.

Remember that your weight "number" doesn't define you as a person. Healthy isn't a size but rather a lifestyle.

Develop a healthy nutrition regimen that works for you. Talk with a nutrition coach about how to work towards eating mindfully and developing healthy eating habits to promote feeling good in your own body. This will look and feel differently for every woman.

It's vital to recognize that negative body image is not a personal failure but rather a reflection of the prominent societal issues around beauty standards and expectations for us as females. By working to challenge and change these norms, we can create a more inclusive and accepting world for all bodies.

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