Why You’re Struggling With Body Image

By December 26, 2016Ashley Azevedo, Fitness, Happiness, Life

Have you ever wished you could change something, or maybe a few things, about your body? Leaner legs, flatter stomach, smaller waist, bigger hips, and the list goes on and on. I know that I’ve done it. I think that we all have at one point or another. As women especially, there is so much outside pressure to look a certain way (usually a very unattainable and unrealistic way I have to mention) that it’s hard not to battle with body image issues and wish that you could change certain parts of your body.

To make things worse, for some reason people seem to think that it’s okay to comment on another person’s body.  I know when I was younger, I battled with body image issues a lot because of the constant outside comments and jokes that were made. Through the years I’ve learned to love my body and realize what a great gift it really is. Don’t get me wrong, there are still times when I let the old thinking creep in but I’ve gotten a lot better at realizing when it does and redirecting my thoughts. But I know that there are a lot of people who just aren’t there yet and who are still really struggling with their body image–and trust me, I get it. For these people, negative body comments can totally crush them!

Over the holidays, one of my mom’s friends stopped by to say hi. I’ve only really been around her a few minutes at a time maayybbbee once or twice? But I definitely don’t know her well. Anyways, that didn’t stop her from walking in, saying hi and then grabbing my sides, to say “You sure are looking fat!”

What?! She was being sarcastic and implying that I’m very thin–also not okay. And she also proceeded to tell me that she tells her daughters that too. My mind was completely blown. I can’t imagine ever saying that to anyone…like EVER. Let alone someone I don’t know, or my daughters if I had them! Not even in a joking way! Body image is really NO joke. We should be teaching the women around us to LOVE their bodies, not making negative comments about them.

Luckily, I’m at a comfortable place in my life and with my body to where comments don’t really bother me anymore. Regardless, I’m still blown away at how frequently they happen and I don’t ever think that it’s okay. Joking or not, it’s these kind of comments that contribute to people’s feelings of low self-esteem and body image issues.

Imagine the damage you could do to someone who is already battling an eating disorder? Or someone with body dysmorphia? Or what if the person is still battling to get to a place where they are happy with their body and then you come in with a horrible comment like that? Or what if the person has worked their butt off to get to where they are and then you come in with a mean, negative comment?

Please, please, PLEASE think before you make any kind of comments about someone else’s body. Or even better yet, just don’t! We are so much more than just our bodies and there really should be no reason to comment on someone else’s. But if you do, keep it positive and uplifting only! Only say things that will help those around you to love their bodies. Just having a functioning, healthy body is such a gift!

It’s easy to let other people’s negative words get the best of you but just remember that words only hold meaning if you let them. The next time someone says something negative, realize that it really says more about them than it does about you. Don’t let negative words have meaning to you–instead just let them go in one ear and out the other and remember that you are AWESOME! Your body doesn’t define you and neither do other people’s words. You have all the control, so only take the happy, nice comments to heart! 🙂

There are a few things that might be fueling your negative body image. Try paying attention to see if any of these are contributing, and if so, it’s time to make a change!

1. Take a look at your social media. Are you only following accounts that post one type of body? Are following account who may have great information but their posts just make you feel bad about yourself? If your social media is giving you any kind of negative feelings, make a change! Follow a diverse variety of accounts and if one makes you not feel so good, unfollow! Simple as that!

2. Watch your self-talk. Make a conscious effort to pay attention to the self-talk you use each day. How are you talking to yourself? Is it positive and happy? Is it how you would talk to your best friend? If not, make a change!

3. Surround yourself with great people & set boundaries when needed. The people around you should lift you up and push you forward. Even so, there will always be someone outside who says something mean–whether it was intentional or not. Learn to let the negative comments just slide right off your back. If you’re getting negative comments from family members or someone you can’t avoid, be sure to set boundaries for yourself and the time you spend with them. Have a talk with the person, let them know how their comments make you feel, and ask to avoid that certain topic.

Are there other things that make you struggle with body image? What ways do you combat a negative body image? I’d love to hear about it–let me know in the comments below.

Here’s to a positive body image in 2017!

Until next time,

Xoxo

Ashley 

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