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Body Image and Liking What You See in the Mirror

By womenshealth.gov
 
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Photo: thinkstock.com

When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see?

Is your body image positive or negative? If your answer is negative, you are not alone. Many women in the United States feel pressured to measure up to a certain social and cultural ideal of beauty, which can lead to poor body image. Women are constantly bombarded with "Barbie Doll-like" images. By presenting an ideal that is so difficult to achieve and maintain, the cosmetic and diet product industries are assured of growth and profits. It's no accident that youth is increasingly promoted, along with thinness, as an essential criterion of beauty. The message we're hearing is either "all women need to lose weight" or that the natural aging process is a "disastrous" fate.

Other pressures can come from the people in our lives.

Family and friends can influence your body image with positive and negative comments.
A doctor's health advice can be misinterpreted and affect how a woman sees herself and feels about her body.

Learning to Love What You See in the Mirror

We all want to look our best, but a healthy body is not always linked to appearance. In fact, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes! Changing your body image means changing the way you think about your body. At the same time, healthy lifestyle choices are also key to improving body image.

Healthy eating can promote healthy skin and hair, along with strong bones.
Regular exercise has been shown to boost self-esteem, self-image, and energy levels.
Plenty of rest is key to stress management.

More resources on body image

Add a Comment3 Comments

hairgypsytn

To the ladies above...I am 50 and can feel your pain, however, we have to look in the mirror and get our "positive on" from ourselves...I do not look like a "Barbie Doll" and being in the beauty industry has taught me to see the beauty in every1...I just find it and bring it out...We are all beautiful no matter shape, size, or age...Embrace yourself and see the inner you...these lines on my face I can fix if I choose, but only when "I" choose to do that will it happen not when society tells me "oh, you look old.." Besides, who really wants to look like "Joan Rivers" anyway...(Sorry, Joan...but I think you are the new "Plastic Barbie!" ) Beauty is at every age! May you look in the mirror now and see yours...;-)

March 16, 2012 - 6:46am
The Real Cie

Honestly, how in the flying flock can I have anything even close to a positive body image when I am told every day, if not directly than via advertising, how hideously ugly I am? I am nearly 50 years old and weigh around 300 pounds. I have started working out again and I have started monitoring my caloric intake although I am not going to do any kind of strict calorie reduction because that only leads to failure and weighing even more than I did before I started. Some days I don't really care what other people think. But sometimes I have actually considered suicide because I know I will always be a pariah. Hell, I was being told that I needed to lose weight when I weighed 130 pounds. Yes, you heard that right, 130 pounds. Give me a damn break. I am tired of this hateful society.

March 15, 2012 - 1:37pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to The Real Cie)

I despise the way our society worships only those who are young, thin and beautiful.

I just turned sixty and am having a hard time with it for this very reason. I'll eventually adjust and believe me I'm grateful to be in good general health -- but becoming invisible -- an old lady -- has caused some anxiety and a little depression.

As for the first poster: keep the faith and love yourself and I will too.

March 15, 2012 - 2:00pm
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