How do you see yourself? It’s a question that turns out to be more complicated than it seems. There are so many outside factors that influence your perception of yourself.
Body image is a major concern in the fitness world. Why is that? What can you do to promote a healthy, balanced view of yourself?
Body image is one aspect of how you view yourself. It is related to self-esteem. It is not necessarily rooted in the hard visual reality of how you look. Rather, it’s about how you perceive your body, often in comparison to others.
Your own body image may differ greatly from how others view you. For example, a guy may think he’s scrawny and thin. He wishes to be as strong as some of the ripped guys at the gym.
But to others, he’s made great strides in his efforts to build lean muscle. He looks strong and muscular. The disconnect is in your attitude and objective point of view.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a physical change. If you see unhealthy aspects of your life in your own body image, that can be a motivator towards healthy adjustments. But taken too far, those can become dangerous tendencies that push you to unhealthy habits.
Self acceptance is related to a positive image. If you set unrealistic expectations for yourself, negative body image can be a consequence. Comparing yourself to others with questions like these can also lead to a negative self view:
Perfectionism can lead to a negative view of one’s self. So can attributing too much value to body features. Men and women must learn to look at themselves as a whole person with physical features and inner qualities. You're not just a body with good or bad parts. That's where a healthy body image begins.
According to the Center for Young Women’s Health, two of the best ways to improve your body image are to eat better and get exercise. Why do these contribute to a better body image?
As you exercise and make progress, you discover all you are capable of. You see your body as something to be proud of. You reach your goals and see the positive changes in your mind and body.
A healthy approach to dieting and weight loss is also good for your self-image. Instead of chasing dieting fads, take a long term approach to good eating. Learn to enjoy fruits, vegetables, and foods you may not have been used to. As you do, you’ll develop new tastes and experience a balanced relationship with food.
Want to maintain the good results you've achieved from fitness and dieting? Use natural supplements like whey protein isolate, green tea for weight loss, and a fat burner to reach your goals. As you work towards a stronger, healthier you, never forget that it’s a long term project.
You may not love every part of your body right now. That’s OK. But stay positive as you work towards improving your fitness and health.
With time and hard work, you can achieve your goals and stay positive about your body.