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Body Image

body image coping skills mental health May 31, 2023

This post was written by a CSUCI student.

We are not defined by our body. We are defined by who we are and how we present ourselves to the world. As we age our bodies change, as do our personalities. We have lived in a society where skinny is thought to be the norm and what is best. Thick and “fat” are seen as horrible and disgusting. Body shaming is no joke and can lead to many mental health issues for not just yourself but other individuals.

In my family, sadly the first thing one says if they see a photo of a friend or relative online is, “They got fat” or “They gained weight” but then they also say “You can tell they got work done” or “They look fake with all the work done to them.” I think the first thing one should say is, “I wonder how they are doing?” not comment about their body. 

I have heard before that girls who are skinny are treated better than girls who are on the heavier side. Sad to say, I believe that is true. I have had many friends tell me that after losing weight boys paid more attention to them and when they were out people were nicer to them and treated them with more respect. I have also experienced that. Why should some be treated with less respect because of their body shape? 

Overcoming body shaming can and will take some time. There are many ways individuals can learn to love their body and not let their body define who they are because other people are defining them that way. Every day it’s a constant battle to ignore what people say about your body, but know that you are not alone. Here are a few ways I remind myself that my body is not what defines me. 

  • I listen to my body. Whenever I am hungry, I eat and if I am tired, I go to sleep because it is unhealthy to starve yourself and deprive yourself of sleep.
  • I change the way I speak to myself. If you talk to yourself in a negative way, it can not only impact your confidence but your mental health. Speaking more positively towards yourself will bring more joy to your day and confidence.
  • Exercise to feel healthy and good about myself. Working out is not only about losing weight and wanting to slim down. It is also to stay healthy and active in your life. You do not necessarily need to lift weights, you can simply go out for a walk or a jog as long as there's movement in your day.
  • Surrounding myself with supportive people. Having negative comments thrown at you because of your weight is never healthy. Eliminate toxic people from your life because in reality they might just envy your hard work.
  • Lastly, I always tell myself I am beautiful. Hearing this from myself makes me happy because I know I will slowly be more confident each and every day with my body image.