The Truth About Bodies
Body Image Basics
To get started, the video to your left gives an overview of the true body image epidemic facing young women in our country.
Body image is something that so many women face and it is neccessary to see where it comes from and how it manifests.
Self Esteem vs. Body Image
First, it is important to understand the difference between body image and self esteem. Tese two ideas are related, but include different ways we think about ourselves.
Self Esteem: How you think and feel about yourself as an entire person, including your appearance, personality, worth, etc.
Body Image: How you think and feel about your body. This is a component of your self esteem, and if it is negative it will have adverse effects on your total self esteem.
You're Not Alone
Dr. Heather R. Gallivan did a study on body image in America and found:
80% of U.S. women don't like the way they look.
Over 75% of girls are unhappy with their bodies by age 17.
70% of normal weighted women wish they were thinner.
Over 50% of teenage girls use unhealthy weight control behaviors.
Over 50% of Americans aren't happy with their current weight.
The Media Curse
Photo Courtesy of
Photos Courtesy of Pinterest.com
Women face a constant bombardment of beauty "ideals" that are unattatinable and place all women's worth in their appearance. A huge part of the emphasis is on a woman's weight, as you can see in the various magazine covers above.
This carries over into advertisements, televsion, movies, and social media, which women spend about half of their day engaging with.
The average U.S. model is 5'10" and weighs 110 pounds, while the average woman is 5'4" and weighs 144 pounds - talk about unrealistic standards.
These constant comparisons tell us that we aren't good enough, but that's NOT TRUE. These "ideals" are created through photoshop, unhealthy dieting, and careful camera angles.
Every Body is Different
We do not all fit into the same mold. Every person is born with a different body type and shape and this is not something that can be changed. When we try to fight our natural form there can be serious health consequences. It is important to learn about your own healthy body type and provide it with the proper nourishment to be healthy.
Ectomorph v. Mesomorph v. Endomorph
This distinction has to do with your natural, genetic body type. These differing types control the degree of difficulty you have losing/gaining weight and muscle and the overall shape of different parts of your body.
Determining your body type helps yout to train and eat effectively for your body, and not to change something that is purely genetic.
Female Body Shapes
You are probably more familiar with the body shapes in the figure to the right.
Body shapes are also natural and genetic and are something that should be embraced. Wherever your curves are, they are beautiful and you can dress in ways that emphasize them.
Exercise and healthy eating will keep you active and tone, but your body shape is not something you can change to fit into society's current ideals. Embrace how you were created and just focus on staying healthy.
Photo Courtesy of coachpage.com
Photo Courtesy of hourglassangel.com
So What Next?
Your focus should be on being healthy NOT skinny. In the tabs that follow I will give you tips on proper nutrition for your body, tips on thinking positively, and easy to follow healthy recipes. Being healthy will help you live a full and happy life, and at the end of the day that's what all of us deserve. So all I ask of you is to focus on yourself and what's best for you, not comparing yourself to everyone else. EveryBODY is beautiful!
Photo Courtesy of Noteworthy-The Journal Blog
1. Gallivan, Heather R. “Teens, Social Media, and Body Image.” Park Nicollet Melrose Center, www.macmh.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/18_Gallivan_Teens-social-media-body-image-presentation-H-Gallivan-Spring-2014.pdf
2. Different Body Types and Female Body Shapes.” Menopause Health Matters, 2019, menopausehealthmatters.com/menopause-and-weight-gain/different-body-types/.