Body Image

Body Image and Weight Loss

You’d think people would be motivated to change if they were unhappy with their body. In fact, the opposite is true: Greater body image dissatisfaction actually hinders weight loss.

Every hour of our awake time we’re bombarded with images of unattainable, unrealistic, and unhealthy Photoshopped. airbrushed  beauty.  I hate how my stomach looks. My calves are too tiny. My legs need more definition. My shoulders aren’t round enough. Maybe I should focus on improving my butt a bit more. This saree makes me look fat. I weigh too much and need to lose a few kilos. Last night’s dinner has made me plumper…… over time, as you engage in such negative self talk, your body image steadily takes a nosedive. This leads to disordered eating habits. Which could result in you putting on weight. Which then makes the negative self talk a self-fulfilling prophesy. Paradoxical as it sounds, new research shows that a better body image could actually help you lose more body weight.

So what can you do about it?

First, , accepting your body as it is and spending less time thinking about it is the best way to live a leaner, healthier lifestyle. Pointing out that someone is overweight or obese, or beating up on yourself, doesn’t make you more motivated. Nor does it help you get leaner. Whenever you look in the mirror, make it a point to focus on a positive feature and give yourself at least one compliment. In the beginning, you may have to fake it a bit and pay yourself the best compliments you can, even if you’re not actually feeling that good about yourself. Stick with it, and be consistent. After a while, you’ll no longer have to fake it. Pointing out that someone is overweight or obese, or beating up on yourself, doesn’t make you more motivated. Nor does it help you get leaner.Exercises to improve body acceptance and evaluation include:looking at a mirror and systematically looking at body parts;making realistic goals and expectations for your body; and creating a realistic ideal body based on your  parents’ weight history and their body type.


Exercise to become stronger, and NOT to lose weight. Too often, we place all of our focus at the gym on burning calories and improving the appearance of specific body parts. But try to focus less on how you look and more on what your body can do. Set performance oriented goals like being able to perform 10 push-ups, a few bodyweight chin-ups, or whatever else gets you motivated. Discover what exercises or activities you’re naturally good at and enjoy, and do them. Keep the focus on having fun.

Watch your friend circle. Social support can be either extremely helpful or hurtful. If your close friends also engage in negative self-talk, it could be rubbing off on you. Either encourage your friends to join you on a boycott of all negative self-talk, or surround yourself with individuals who are strong and confident — and who inspire those characteristics in you, too.

Does it work? Well, in a study that compared two groups of people with negative body image, one of which was given “positive body image training” and the other which was not, the positive body image group lost 7.3% of their body weight, while the control group lost only 1.7% of their body weight.

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