Ok, so I got your attention with that one, actually healthy, fit bodies come in all shapes and sizes, so size doesn´t matter.
Body image is a complex and multidimensional construct encompassing how we feel, think and behave. We all have a relationship with our body, but in many cases this relationship can be more negative than positive. An appropriate “healthy weight” for an individual cannot be determined by the numbers on a scale or by an ideal height/weight chart or by using the Body Mass Index or body fat percentages. Rather, a “healthy weight” is the weight at which a person settles as they move towards a more fulfilling and meaningful healthy lifestyle– a lifestyle that includes eating in an unrestrained manner and participating in enjoyable, reasonable and sustainable levels of physical activity.
Pride or Prejudice?
Obsession with thinness has spawned what may be the last culturally accepted prejudice against individuals who do not measure up to our unrealistic societal standards of body shape and size. The result of this prejudice is widespread social, economic, and educational discrimination against larger individuals. As with all forms of prejudice, however, it is not only the persecuted group that suffers. Women of all sizes and increasing numbers of men suffer from the demands of unreasonable expectations that play havoc with their self-esteem and promote disordered eating and exercise behaviour.
What are the demands and unreasonable expectations?
Majority of these demands and unreasonable expectations come from the media. Research has indicated that both genders have negative responses to the images of the idealised, slim, toned or muscled physiques that we observe upon from the pages of celebrity magazines, advertisements and the internet, that more often than not have been slightly touched up by Photoshop! They need only play on our doubts or create new ones, making us think we have “problems” that don’t really exist.
Another unreasonable expectation is the “lose ten pounds in a four weeks diet”. When people try these types of diets our built-in wisdom, the hypothalamus in our brain (control center for many autonomic functions), takes over, sending signals to start storing fat as it thinks you are starving, therefore when you stop the diet, or change for another variety, more often than not your weight will restore to previous levels and in many circumstances increase further, then you start the perpetual yo-yo diet!
So what’s the best approach?
The best approach is to adopt healthy eating practices, it’s ok to eat a cake and a packet of crisps, as long as you’re not eating them every day, listen to your body, eat regular and healthy meals combined with positive physical activity then you will see positive results within your body image.
Remember: People come in all colours, shapes and sizes; that’s the beauty of the human race. We do not have “figure flaws.” We simply have diverse shapes.