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Body Image, Body Shape

Body image and body shape are important factors in weight control. The self-image we have of the size, shape and weight of our body determines many things - not least our attitude to dieting and weight loss. Unfortunately, many of us have an unreasonably negative view of our body size and shape. As a result:

  • We aim for an unreasonably low weight - almost guaranteeing failure.

  • We try to lose weight too fast - almost guaranteeing failure.

  • We try fad diets and other bogus weight loss products.

  • We convey our negative body image to our children.

  • We set ourselves up for eating disorders and malnutrition.

Body Image, Body Shape

Before trying yet another diet or weight loss product, try to improve your body image.

US Research into Body Image & Shape

Research into body image by Kellogg's Corporation reveals that women typically base their perceptions of their body shape on the size and shape of models and TV/Hollywood stars, rather than on the size and shape of ordinary women.

For example, the estimated 'average' American woman [5 feet 4 inches] weighs 138 pounds, while the estimated 'average' model [5 feet 9/10 inches] weighs a mere 120 pounds.

No wonder an estimated 95 percent of women and 33 percent of men have complaints about their shape and have such a negative body image. How can they compete with the perfect body and shape of a supermodel?

UK Research Into Body Image & Shape

Recent UK research into perceptions people have of their body image and shape, show that:

  • UK women are up to 10 times more likely than men to be unhappy with their body image. This negative perception persists even when women are a healthy weight for their height, according to a new survey.

  • Just 1% of young UK women were "completely happy" with the shape of their body and that one in ten had taken drugs to try to achieve their ideal weight.

Distorted Body Image & Shape in US Teenagers and Pre-Teens

  • Reports indicate that children as young as 5 years old are becoming concerned, even obsessed, with their weight and shape. Indeed, eating disorders and significantly disordered eating attitudes and behaviors are appearing in pre-teens and teens at an increasing rate.

  • According to US estimates from The National Institute of Mental Health, between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of girls and women (i.e. 5-10 million people) and 1 million boys and men suffer from eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or other associated dietary conditions.

  • Estimates suggest that as many as 15 percent of young women adopt unhealthy attitudes and behaviors about food.

Give Yourself A Chance! Improve Your Body Image

You may not be able to change your frame-size or body shape. You may even have difficulty dieting. But you CAN change your body image. For example:

  • Stop comparing yourself with models or film stars.

  • Stop focusing on the body areas you don't like - look at ALL your body.

  • Get active - both physically and mentally. Busy, occupied people have less time to worry about body image and shape than those with time on their hands.

  • Appreciate the things you have, rather than focusing on the things (including small butt, long thin legs) you don't have.

  • When trying to lose weight, have REASONABLE weight-loss expectations and avoid buying diet products that promise 'miracle' results. There are no miracle results in dieting and weight control!


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