Improving Body Image – Why Do Beautiful Women Feel Bad?

Improving Body Image – Why Do Beautiful Women Feel Bad?
May 11, 2011 Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.

Since I write about healthy eating and healthy diet plans, I get a lot of questions about weight loss. Sometimes it’s about weight loss for health, but sometimes it’s more about improving body image.

Now, I strongly believe that having a positive body image can have a big effect on your enjoyment of life. But I also strongly believe that having a positive body image can be more about a shift in your attitude than in your weight.

Getting to a healthy weight is really important. I’m all for loving the curves, but not if those curves are putting you at risk for diabetes, heart disease and all of the other consequences of obesity.

The problem is, so many of the images in the media don’t portray a healthy weight. But whether it’s conscious or not, those images are the goal in improving body image for lots of us.

Models and actresses are so often underweight, and there’s been a trend over the last couple of decades towards super-skinny. Compare Marilyn Monroe to Angelina Jolie, or even Angelina Jolie from a few years ago. Lots of men don’t even like the super-skinny look, so what’s going on here?

There’s also a huge amount of photoshopping going on. Not just the contours of thighs and abs, but I saw one example where the model’s rib cage was smoothed out. It looked too bony, so it got merged into the curve of her way-too-skinny waist. If the images aren’t even real, how can we ever live up to them?

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Even if you’re looking at a real image, it’s a pose – a moment in time, where the model is actively trying to look her best and give her best angle to the camera. You can bet that she won’t pose by jiggling the back of her arm.

Having a totally unrealistic image as the goal can backfire, causing people to not even try to achieve a healthier weight. Or try crazy diet plans that leave them in the weight yo-yo cycle.

If you don’t struggle with weight, there’s always the thick, shiny perfect hair and a wrinkle-free, bright-eyed face to strive for. Photoshop’s at work here again, along with teams of hair, makeup and skin care professionals. Improving body image for those of us working solo can be tough when comparing ourselves to those examples.

For men, there are the same issues in improving body image but they’re often the opposite goal. Big muscles, no bones sticking out.

Improving body image is tough, and can take a very long time. If you’re overweight, healthy weight loss is a great goal. Recognize your own value, and motivate your weight loss by having respect for your body. If you’re a healthy weight, but just don’t feel good about yourself, look at the mental side of improving your body image.

Find some images of a celebrity that aren’t photoshopped – there are some floating around the internet, particularly the ones that Britney Spears had put in print specifically to help show how much is changed.

If you obsess about a particular area of your body, try to find other areas of your body that are amazing and be proud of them. Wear clothes that highlight your strengths. People notice what you draw their attention to.

Stand tall – your posture can have a huge impact on how others see you, and on how you feel about yourself.

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