Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

weight-loss-850601_1920The average American woman is 5’4″ and weighs 144 pounds. The average supermodel is 5’10” and weighs 110 pounds. Which of those images do you see every day plastered on social media, television, advertisements, and movies? You see the tall, thin woman. The pressure to look like her can be intense.

We know that we aren’t supermodels. Still being bombarded by images of glamour and sculpted bodies does a number on our thinking when it comes to our body image. For most of us, it is a struggle to feel good enough or to measure up to cultural prescriptions of beauty. In fact, 80% of women do not like their body and 70% of normal weight women want to be thinner.

Body image is impacted by three main factors:

  1. Social media and media. The use of filters, photo shop and editing programs creates pressure to present only the best you possible.
  2. Parents and family. For some, regular messages about being overweight, not measure up to some standard of beauty has led to feeling less than.
  3. Peers. The bulling and teasing related to some body part or appearance can stay with a person for years.

So what can you do if one of those areas has led to challenges in loving your body? Here are a few ideas to get you thinking differently.

  1. Focus on any part of your body you do like, not the negative parts. Where you focus will impact how you think. If you obsess on one part, that will feed the negativity.
  2. Stop looking at social media. Try a social media fast for a period of time and see if your mood improves. Social media has been shown to impact mood negatively. Taking a social media break means less comparing yourself to others.
  3. Find friends who don’t constantly talk about weight and appearance. When the conversation broadens to more important things in life, you will feel better.
  4. Take your negative thoughts captive. Don’t allow thoughts to wander in negative waters. When a negative body thought comes in to your mind, stop it, grab it and replace it with a kinder thought.
  5. Focus on others and how you can use your gifts and talents to serve. There are more important parts to you than appearance. Do your best to be a servant to all.
  6. Resist cultural prescriptions for beauty. One size doesn’t fit all. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. Celebrate your uniqueness!
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