Is Negative Body Image Normal?
And it’s become so “normal” now, that we barely recognise it’s a problem. I’d like to propose that negative body image is ‘usual’ but it’s not normal.
So what exactly is it and how do you know if you have it? Read this list, see how many sound familiar (or do the body image quiz to get an idea where you fit on my Body Bliss Scale).
Negative Body Image Checklist
- You feel uncomfortable about part of all of your body, so much that you sometimes won’t go out because you feel like you have ‘nothing to wear’ when what you really mean is that you think all your clothes look terrible on your body
- You apologise for or explain away your weight around others.
- You criticise your body and/or your weight around others.
- When you think about your body, you feel like you have to go on a diet, or work out to change or improve some part of it, or wish you could afford cosmetic surgery to ‘fix’ your problems.
- Walking down the street, you compare your body or parts of it, to other women.
- You feel like you’re bigger than your friends say you are.
- You are extremely conscious about something about your body, such as the size of your stomach, the shape of your nose, your regrowth, or how many wrinkles you have.
- You closely watch what you eat, counting the calories or carbs or only eating food of a certain colour, so that you don’t ‘get fat’.
- You try not to think about fat at all, instead you interchange words like ‘healthy’ for ‘thin’, but you know that you really mean thin.
- The number on your bathroom scales affects your mood for the day – if it’s a low number you feel great, if it’s higher than you were hoping for, you feel depressed, anxious and self-critical.
- When you go clothes shopping you leave having bought nothing and feeling depressed.
- You feel like others’ behaviour or expectations are pressuring you to change your body.
- When you think about your size or shape, you feel anxious or depressed.
- You over-exercise to maintain your weight (over-exercise is more than an hour a day with the purpose of changing weight, unless you are a professional athlete).
Can You Unlearn Negative Body Image?
The good news is that negative body image can be unlearned by being willing to notice your own feelings, thoughts and actions, and those of others. You can also tap into resources like my Body Bliss 101 book.
It is possible to change negative body image. It’s my dream to have every woman and every man truly know that diversity in size is what is ‘normal’. I wish you’d join me 🙂 Start with my free resources to help you love your body!