Body image is what you think or feel about your body. It doesn't always match what is reality. Sometimes we may think or believe something that isn't true. Poor body image doesn't just effect women. Many men are struggling with negative body image. Negative body image in men can spark problems with mental health, dieting issues, eating disorders like anorixa nervosa, excessive exercise, and steroid abuse.
We don't read or hear about men who are struggling with body image. It is often swept under the rug and ignored. We read about women's body positivity and how media gives women an unrealistic image of what a woman should look like. The same holds true for men. But men don't have a lot of outlets covering this topic and a body positivity movement.
When men are dealing with the unrealistic images of what they are expected to look like and when they don't, they may suffer with self esteem issues and hold a negative view of their body. It is reported that one in a thousand men are diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. It is believed that number is under reported. Men are at a higher risk for death of eating disorders because of being under reported and under diagnosed. And many suffer with muscle dysmorphis, or "biorecia", which is a condition where one believes that their body is too skinny or small, even though they will often have a muscular build already.
So why is the number of men struggling with body image increased over the years? Well scientists believe there are different factors that could be effecting this increase. One of those factors is the rise of social media and societies messages that idolize a certain body type. With elite sports, the television, social media, and advertising with unrealistic, hyper muscular images of men.
They state the increased phone usage fueled by the pandemic with fewer human, face to face interactions have contributed also. When we had to spend time isolated, many of us turned to the internet for socializing. Spending hours scrolling through social media and seeing all the airbrushed and altered perfect photos, didn't quite help the situation.
Poor body image may lead to dieting disorders and behaviors like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Muscle dysmorphis is almost exclusively diagnosed in men.
When should you seek out professional help from a doctor?
* When you have an irrational fear of gaining weight.
* When you talk a lot about weight, body image, and food.
* When you have an unexplained, significant weight loss.
* When you have bloating, constipation, and stomach cramps.
* Trouble regulating body temperature.
* When you follow a rigid diet and excercise routine.
* When you have mood changes. Depression. Irritability.
* Skipping meals.
* Significant food or calorie intake/restrictions.
* Refusing to eat in front of others.
* Mental confusion.
* Low levels of testosterone and reduced sex drive.
* Fluctuations in weight, both up and down.
* Denying that extreme thinness is a problem.
* Dry skin.
* Hair loss.
* Low blood pressure and/or low heart rate.
* Lying about have eaten.
* Low self esteem.
* Constantly reading nutrition labels.
* Counting calories.
* Regularly weighing yourself and examines body in mirror.
* Withdrawal from family and friends.
* Angry outbursts.
* Shame or guilt.
This is not a full list but if you suspect you are suffering with an eating disorder, please seek out professional help. Eating disorders are very serious and harmful to your health. Not only to your health but it could cost you your life!! And the universe needs you!! Because there is no one else like you in the whole world!! Please go help yourself!!
If you have a poor body image and you want some tips on cultivating a positive mindset, then read on!! I have put these practices into effect in my life also and I can tell you that they work!! Of course, it had taken many years to cultivate the negative image I had obtained, so it definitely has taken significant time to achieve a positive mindset. But I can tell you that the shifting of the positivity of my thinking happened pretty immediate. I mean it wasn't all positive and automatic, but it made me feel better knowing I can be positive and knowing that I am working towards loving my own body!!
We all have that little voice in our head telling how fat or how unattractive we are. When that voice begins to put us down, we usually just let it say whatever the hell it wants!! If another person spoke to us like that, we would put an immediate stop to it!! Right?? So why do we let ourselves speak to us like that?? We shouldn't!! When you look in the mirror and that little voice begins with the insults, stop it immediately!! Focus on the good of your body and what you do like about it!! Let that voice say positive things about you.
Our bodies have amazing capabilities and can do some pretty cool things!! Appreciate what your body does!! Learn to shift your negative connotations about your body image to a more thankful, accepting mindset!!
Try to understand where the negative voice is coming from. Is it that you don't like your shoulders or is it the voice of the one that criticized you growing up?? Is it your voice or someone else's?? Try and understand the source of it. That will help you to steer it, control it and to vindicate yourself from that negativity.
Don't 'mirror check' yourself as often. What mirror check means is body checking what we look like in the mirror. Instead focus on your health and how your body functions, instead of how much you weigh, your size and your shape.
Make a pact with your body, that you will respect it, no matter how you feel about it, knowing that you're trying to feel more positive about your body.
Look at Yourself as a Whole Person
Look at yourself as whole person, not just a body. Remember your great qualities as a human also!!
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Write down the things you appreciate about your body everyday. The more we write it about it, the easier it is for our brains to recognize the positive perspective we are trying to obtain. Focus on the positive qualities about your body, instead of dwelling on the negative.
I know. I know. But it truly does help!! Everyday when you are looking in the mirror to shave or to get dressed, whisper those sweet nothngs into your own ear!! Tell yourself how much you appreciate your amazing body and tell yourself all the good things about it!! Focus on the positive instead of the negative!! It truly does work!!
Be Kind to Yourself
Practice self care of your body!! Nourish it with good, nutritious food. Take time out of your day to let it relax. Taking good care of your body will help you appreciate it and love it!! Appreciate what your body does for you!! Learn to love your body!!
Keep At It
Shifting our thoughts towards a positive perspective of anything will take time. Everyday make a conscious effort to do these tips and before you know it, it will be automatic!! But even then, you will have to keep working at it!! It will always be a work in progress but the longer we practice a positive mindset, the easier it will become!!
So here are some tips that I hope will help you obtain a positive perspective of your beautiful body!! If you feel you cannot change the negative mindset on your own, seek out professional help. Don't feel embarrassed or ashamed. We all need help sometimes!!
I have put these own tips into practice and they began to immediately work for me. So I hope they will do the same for you!! Happy body positivity~ing!!