WHAT DOES A HEALTHY BODY IMAGE LOOK LIKE
How we see ourselves, ultimately affects so many other aspects of our lives. Our culture and belief system has a lot with the way we see ourselves. As our values evolve, so does our perception of what is perfect for us, what is ok, and what is a healthy body image of ourselves.
As a child, I quickly understood that our parents and other adults around us always felt content whenever any one of us had put on more weight. They felt like the weight was a good sign that we were being fed well and that we we felt well. Whenever any of us lost a little weight especially around our stomachs, the adults became more worried about. They felt like something must be wrong.
In the culture where I grew up in, traditionally, your spouse’s weight was one major means used by those around you to determine if your marriage was a happy one or not. If you are a woman and you gained more weight after you got married, it meant that your husband was a good man, taking very good care of your every need. If were a man who had gained more weight especially around your stomach after marriage, then everyone thought it was probably because you had to be making a lot of money and living a very good life. So the larger the stomach, the healthier you seemed to others. But once you started losing weight, everyone began to think you were either sick or you were not being treated well by your spouse. So, in a society or time I just described, weight gain was generally seen as positive and weightloss, negative.
Fast forward many years from that time, today, the general thinking on body image has shifted. Pictures of famous celebrities in magazines, the body image these stars portray in their movies and on their social media platforms, have set the general set for “norms”. Excess weight is deemed unhealthy and not desirable but normal weight is welcomed as healthy and beautiful. But the fundamental question to ask is ” how do we properly define a healthy body image?”
According to Drew Anderson, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at the State University of New York in Albany, “A healthy body image is a body image where you feel happy and confident and accepting of yourself,” I partly agree with Dr. Drew Anderson. I agree that it is important to always accept your present self. You have to first accept yourself before you can start making the necessary changes or decide if you are happy with your present body image. It is not a one step process. So a healthy body image to me is taking an honest look at your body size and then deciding for your best interest to make changes or not. Your decision to make changes should depend on your health and not what Facebook or Instagram promote as a healthy body. A size 4 woman is not always healthier than a size 12 woman. You have to consider so many other things before coming to that conclusion.
So, let me conclude with this very important question; are you exercising and eating well everyday just to keep up with your wealthy friends, Hollywood magazines and Youtube videos of celebrities, or are you following a healthy body goal advice from your medical professionals? Inorder for you to have a healthy and progressive view of your body, you must know your basic health numbers like your blood pressure, blood sugar, hormones, etc. Your medical professional should be able to help you improve your body image to a healthier and more progressive one.