By: Hailey Brandon
Your body image is a subjective picture or mental image you have of your own body. If you have a poor body image you may look into dieting as a solution to improve it. With all of the unrealistic Ads on television, online and in magazines, some women's body image and self esteem may become warped. When you are striving for an unattainable goal the feeling of failure and disappointment in yourself will arise. Eventually, this feeling will begin to damage your feeling of confidence and self-worth completely.
Social media can be a very dangerous place for vulnerable teens. It is a platform for them to compare themselves to others and therefore, lower their self esteem. There are plenty of social media influencers with “perfect” bodies who get millions of likes and have huge followings. Most of these influencers have had some type of surgical procedure to look the way they do. A large number of influencers promote “healthy living”, this may be an attempt to hide the fact that their bodies are unnatural and impossible to attain from just genetics and exercise. The young teens fragile minds are filled with unachievable fitness goals and body standards. With these impossible standards that young women are consistently striving for, they will eventually fall into a deep depression because they are not meeting their goals.
Social media platforms are filled with celebrity endorsements including “skinny tea” made famous by the Kardashians, and “all natural” diet pills. This is very dangerous for teens who will stop at nothing to look like their favourite superstars. Celebrities are paid extensive amounts of money to endorse products like these and there is a good chance that they don't even use them.
With all of these unrealistic standards out there, women are more likely to develop disorders like Body Dysmorphic Disorder. People with BDD are constantly thinking about all of their real and perceived flaws for multiple hours each day. It is nearly impossible for them to control their negative thoughts and they will not believe anyone who tells them they look beautiful. BDD causes severe emotoinal distress and they will even go as far as isolating themselves from friends and family in fear of someone pointing out their flaws. In some cases they will even miss school or work because they don't feel good enough emotionally from all of the anxiety they have regarding their appearance.
When teens are so focused on being “skinny”, sometimes they will try fad diets that completely cut out necessary nutrients they need to live a healthy and happy life. Some of the more popular fad diets include The South Beach Diet, The Paleo Diet and The Macrobiotic Diet. When you don't have all of the important nutrients you need, you may feel more tired than usual causing you to be more irritable. Eventually, this may cause conflicts with friends and family. This will become very stressful over time causing you to gain more weight and again, feel that disappointment and feeling of failure in yourself.
The best way to maintain a positive body image and live a healthy lifestyle is to quit the fad diets and stop obsessing over your weight. Instead, you should be focused on eating a balanced diet that will fill you with all of the necessary nutrients you need to be happy and healthy. Instead of trying out a new diet pill, go for a long walk outside and take in the beauty of the world around you. Try to stay off social media and instead, take 30 minutes to yourself each day to meditate and focus on the positive things in your life. Instead of having the mindset that you need to lose weight to be beautiful, have the mindset that you are already beautiful and that you want to start taking better care of your body by getting the right amount of exercise and eating healthy foods each day. The most important rule to be healthy and have a positive self and body image is to love yourself enough the way you are to take care of and pamper your body… Every. Single. Day.