Myth 2-Body image is women’s issue
Wrong– Body image is not a “feminine” problem. Men can also have a negative body image. The media portrays images of the “perfect” male body too. It sets pressures and unattainable standards for men as well. The media frequently displays images of tall, lean, muscular and well-toned V shaped male bodies. The ideal muscular body for men is emphasized and linked with being masculine, confident, in control, strong, desirable and sexy. Trying to achieve the unattainable standards lead many to engage in restrictive diet, body building or muscle toning, excessive excising, taking supplements, using muscle building products, going through cosmetic treatments/ procedures even using steroids. Dissatisfaction, frustrations, sense of personal failure, self-consciousness, insecurity, shame and distress from the perceived body’s size, weight and shape may lead to depression, low self -esteem, eating disorders, stress among men similarly as they do among women. Negative body image thus effects men and women alike.
Myth 3: Fat talks and self -criticism motivate me to stick to my exercise routine and diet.
Incorrect– Your inner critical voice exaggerates your flaws, weaknesses and under-recognizes or undervalues your beauty and strengths. The constant self put-downs and comparison with unrealistic unattainable body standards drag you into unwinnable race towards perfectionism, which breaks your self-esteem down, blows up your perceived imperfections out of proportions and not only maintains, but also intensifies your negative body image. Inability to the reach the perfect body standards, which you set for yourself, will mean that any change in the body size, weight and shape will never be enough because no alternation was also made to the inflexible harsh self- critic.
That fuels the negative emotions, negative thoughts and promotes the adaption of unhelpful and unhealthy behavioral patterns. It leads to a downwards spiral of more dissatisfaction, insecurities, hate and feelings of shame towards your body.
Your inner critic does not motivate you. It breaks down your motivation, leads to avoidance, isolation and raises a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. You might think that by criticizing yourself you are in control of your body, but in fact your negative thoughts have more control over the way you feel, think, behave and feel physically.
Fat talks were found in recent research to have more negative influence on the body image than exposure to images of models. Engaging in fat talks, which is normative and automatic for woman and men, thus damages your body image even more than the media does. Think about that for a second and remind yourself of that the next time that you find yourself saying those negative sentences about your body to yourself, to others or when you are listening to others’ fat talks.
If you have missed part one read it- here