Body Image and Your Health
Due to the obesity crisis in America, it is not nearly as common as before to hear about the other side of the equation, such as the millions of men and women who are suffering from anorexia or bulimia. Nor is it common to hear of individuals that suffer from body dysmorphia, meaning the inability to see their body for what it truly is. Overall, your health can be greatly affected by your body image. How many of us overeat because we look in the mirror and don't like what we see? How many of us don't eat, because we see ourselves as fat or wanting? And then, how many of us consume food in secret, with guilt, only to "get rid" of it after we've fed our indulgence? Unfortunately, it is definitely difficult to take care of one's health when you suffer from a poor body image. Below are just a few tips for how you can battle a poor body image and not only help yourself, but others along the way. Tip One: See a Counselor If you feel your body image is adversely affecting your health, then by all means, see someone. The benefits associated with seeing a counselor or a psychiatrist far outweigh the stigma attached to it. Having someone to talk to freely about your concerns and feelings may be all the inspiration you need to start seeing yourself in a new and positive light. Tip Two: Form or Join a Support Group Remember that you are not alone. There are countless others who are experiencing the same emotional turmoil and confusion as you are. Perhaps coming together to share your experiences and feelings can help in the healing process. Keep in mind that you can join a support group anonymously online, as many body image support groups are popping on the web. Tip Three: Help Others When you focus on helping others through an ordeal similar to your own, it's easier to handle your own stressors. It's also easier to stay motivated to do better, because someone else is depending on you. As someone who has suffered or is suffering from issues pertaining to body image, you're in a great position to help someone else because you share similar experiences. Sometimes it takes the experiences of someone else, to guide us through the difficulties of our own lives. Tip Four: Accept Yourself: Imperfections and All Yes, you may have problems, issues, or obstacles that you find insurmountable. All of us do. But the desire to lead a healthy lifestyle should be a main motivator in accepting ourselves for who we are, imperfections and all. Once you realize that imperfections are what make us unique and that we are not defined by how we look, but who we actually are, our outside appearances become less important and taking care of ourselves, via healthy eating and exercise habits, becomes of greater importance. Tip Five: Remember that You Matter Above all else, remember that you are the most important person in your life. And no, it's not being selfish, conceited, or arrogant to think so. Living a healthy lifestyle means having a good image of yourself, but you can only do that once you realize that ultimately YOU matter more than anything else.