What are body image issues?
Negative body image issues arise when you are unhappy with the way your body looks, to the point where it causes you distress.
Negative body image issues typically stem from being unhappy with your body weight, shape or size. You become obsessed with the way your body looks and this causes even more distress
Worryingly, body image issues are on the rise. And it’s easy to see why.
One glance at Instagram or TikTok will present you with bronzed bodies, perfectly shaped butts, toned tummies, wide thigh gaps and other unrealistic body shapes.
And you are comparing yourself to that.
How does that make you feel?
Pretty bad, right?
The issue is that everyone wants to “look normal” – you want to fit in.
If all your friends are a size 8 and you are a size 12, it’s easy to feel like an outsider – which can be pretty upsetting.
That’s exactly what negative body image issues are – unhappiness with who you are as a person because of the way you look.
To be fair, everyone has the occasional negative thought about their body. That’s normal. But the thought passes and you move on with your life.
But when you constantly feel overwhelmed by these thoughts – that’s when you have body image issues.
Negative body image issues are serious. If left untreated, the feelings can begin to control your life.
For instance, you may avoid going to the beach with your friends because you dread being seen in a bikini.
Or maybe you start to diet, and control how many calories you eat – in an effort to improve how your body looks.
The desire to improve your body image is a slippery slope. In fact, it can lead to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
In Australia, negative body image is not classified as a mental health issue. But don’t let that take away from how serious it is…
Body image issues can quickly lead to serious mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
Are you ready to beat your body image issues once and for all?
Book your free, no obligation phone consultation now!
Body image issues don’t just happen all of a sudden.
Even though one day you wake up and scream “I hate my body” – it didn’t happen overnight.
The reality is that it took months or even years to get here.
But what’s most interesting about body image issues is that the build up happens subconsciously – and eventually you are convinced there is something wrong with the way you look.
There are many influences that can cause negative body image, including:
Being teased for how you look when you were a child.
Film and Television
It’s hard to find a movie or netflix series that doesn’t feature slim and toned leading roles.
People posting images of themselves in flattering poses on Facebook and Instagram – or worse, photoshopping the image to make themselves look better.
You can’t shop for clothes online without seeing hundreds of pictures of unrealistically toned or skinny models.
Your friendship group may be focused on dieting, exercise or comparing bodies.
Diets and weight loss programs are often pushed as an acceptable way to reach a certain body size and feel happy about yourself.
Your parents had body image issues, focusing on trying to control their size and weight. Or maybe they focus on what they think is your ideal body size or shape.
Depending on your heritage, you may be conditioned to finding a particular body size or shape more appealing than another.
And that’s not even all of them…
That’s a lot of opportunities to feel bad about yourself, right?
All of these different factors chip away at your self-worth until you have serious body issues.
Do you have body image issues? You are not alone.
Body images are more common than you think. Recent research suggests that 80% of Australian women are dissatisfied with their bodies to some degree
Think of negative body image as a gateway to serious mental health conditions.
It’s the foundation on which future problems are built.
If untreated, some of the effects of negative body image can include:
The unhappiness with your body flows over into other areas of your life – you constantly doubt yourself and your abilities.
You are so consumed by the negative thoughts of your body that you are constantly distracted and neglect other areas of your life that are important.
Not wanting to leave the house because of the way you look – you are convinced the whole world will judge you if you do.
Panicking in social situations that draw attention to your body or weight, such as going to the gym or dress shopping with your friends – so you avoid these situations.
Feelings of hopelessness and sadness that causes you to be unable to focus on anything but your negative thoughts and feelings.
In extreme cases, body image issues can lead to full-blown eating disorders such as…
Attempting to control your weight such as throwing up after eating.
Severely limiting how much you eat to the point of starvation because you see yourself as overweight.
Binge Eating Disorder
Severely restricting your diet to lose weight only to find yourself uncontrollably gobbling down an excess amount of food to compensate.
As you can see, what starts out as body image issues can spiral out of control and devastate other areas of your life.
Negative body image issues can be very difficult to identify, especially if you are trying to diagnose someone else.
I mean, who hasn’t joked that they want a smaller bum or bigger boobs?
And it’s easy to justify the behaviors that come from negative body images since they are socially accepted – such as going on a diet or undergoing cosmetic surgery.
Because of this, only you know whether or not you have body image issues.
Fortunately, there are clues that you can use to identify if you have body image issues and whether or not you should seek help.
You often compare yourself to instagram and fashion models and are disappointed when you don’t match up.
Avoiding social situations
You avoid situations that put your body at the center of attention. For instance, not going to the beach because you don’t like how you look in swimmers.
Friendly jokes made about your body cut like a knife, and you dwell on the joke for days or weeks after.
You find yourself engaging with negative thoughts, such as “I’m so fat, nobody will ever love me.”
You frequently look at your body in the mirror, negatively judging yourself.
Judging other people
You find yourself judging your friends and family on how they look in comparison to you.
Thoughts of body improvement
You are constantly thinking about how you can change and improve your body, shape or size.
Overspending on beauty
Excessively buying beauty products or surgeries to improve your looks.
You have a bad relationship with food
Whenever you eat, you feel guilty and ashamed that you are going to put weight on.
Distracted by your body
In extreme situations, you are so focused on your body and how you look that you don’t maintain other areas of your life, such as work, friends and family.
Did you find yourself nodding along at any of the above? If so, it’s possible that you have body image issues that need to be addressed.
The good news is that if caught early, body image issues can be treated before they lead to a serious mental health issue.
If your body image issues are causing you distress, contact Happy Body Clinic today – we are here to help.