According to a recent study, everyone sees their own body in a distorted way. Researchers at UK's University of Lancaster found large systematic distortions in individuals’ perceptions of their relative bodily proportions.
Another study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found the same thing.
Approximately 91% of American women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Unfortunately, only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed in the media.
Where did the concept of the ideal come from? Did early women consider body shape more important than health, attitude, and skill?
You form your perceptions of your body’s attractiveness, health, acceptability and fitness in early childhood. This body image continues to grow as you age and receive feedback from peers, family members, teachers, etc.
As a confident child, I appreciated my own looks and strengthened my self image as I matured. I can't remember criticizing other children for their looks. Of course, that's a long time ago. Let's break down how body image affects us.
Obsessive self scrutiny in mirrors
Thinking disparaging comments about your body and frequent comparison of your own shape and size to other people
Envy or a friend’s body, or just as commonly: the body of a celebrity or someone else in the media.
If you are concerned about your body image, here are some questions to ask yourself:
Is my perception of beauty distorted from years of media exposure that glorifies a very thin ideal that is unrealistic for most people to obtain in a healthy manner?
Do I find myself regularly criticizing my own appearance. ~
At the age of 73, I'm unhappy with my body. My breasts have sagged and my stomach protrudes despite every effort I've made to eat less and exercise as much as I am able. I want to be young again. However, part of me knows I can't remain that way forever. I dislike the way some women artificially pump themselves up or have nip 'n tuck operations. I want to be natural, but don't want to be unattractive. Let me say right now the expectation is unrealistic. I perked up a bit when a health visitor told me I'd lost weight the other day. How pathetic is that?
So, nobody is immune to the ideal look that society pushes forward.
One important thing I treasure is my positive attitude. Despite trials that might have knocked me down, I've used them to strengthen and grow.
Perhaps the best we can do is to appreciate our health and ability, display a happy smile, and stop internalizing.