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The Body Part 4: Body Image by Richard Drake

The Body Part 4: Body Image by Richard Drake

“I think there’s so much emphasis on body image and results and outcome, but really what you should be after is to be healthy and to feel good about yourself.” -Abby Wambach

Body image – it is a thought that we all must come to pass each time we look into the mirror. How do we feel about ourselves? Now more than ever do we put body image on the pedestal of beauty and power. We are bombarded with poster boards, ad’s and film which show us images of slender, perfectly shaped bodies that are almost certainly edited before reaching our eyes. These are the images we so often compare ourselves to when we look into the mirror – images that are sometimes unreal and unattainable. From there – we decide on our worth and ultimately how we feel about ourselves. I want to discuss ways to circumvent these images and find true worth inside yourself.
Body image and ideal beauty has changed many times throughout the years. I remember some anecdotal evidence which compared Marilyn Monroe – the picture of ideal beauty in the 1950’s to the modern idea of beauty. I don’t have the exact sizes but I do know that Marilyn Monroe had a significantly bigger waistline and proportion to many images of beauty that we see now. A pant size of a double 0 seems to be some new image of beauty and health. We must ask ourselves what has changed in ourselves that now finds a different body type more beautiful and attractive. Not just females but men as well have had an age where the rock hard abdominal region with perfectly sized chest and legs has become the norm as we see
“super heroes” on screen touting their fully decked out physique. There is no doubt that the production of mass media – the culture of physical looks over emotional state has run supreme and has led many people to believe that they are worthless.
How can we bring ourselves to believe and understand that what we see in the mirror is not ugly and disgusting? I think there are 2 good answers for this – each going hand in hand. I firmly believe that a body that performs work, exercise and is able to maintain itself through some type of physical demands is needed for life but such work has an impact on one’s physical
appearance. The body will adapt to these forces and make adaptations in order to make the muscles and cardiovascular system work to their full potential. These changes have a direct impact to what I would call our body image. Benefits to exercise also extend far past the physical changes – as we may feel more energy and feel better about ourselves in that we are
doing things that will push ourselves.
Now the second answer to the question of , how do we not feel ugly and disgusting will take place in one’s own mind. We get to choose how we feel about ourselves. I think it is very easy for us to look at ourselves and know that we don’t look like the person on the billboard. To get past this we must realize that there is no ideal beauty and body type. Every single person
has different size bones, muscle density and different amounts of lean muscle. How can there be one image of beauty if we are all inherently different? The answer is that there is no ideal beauty and that “the beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.
This is not to say that we must always feel thrilled with how we look. There is no doubt that a bigger gut may not be pleasing to ourselves and motivate us to change how it looks. Looking good and feeling good about it is one of the most important things when it comes to exercise and making body changes. Understand that we all have a different path and that our bodies no matter what are different. Once we are able to feel free in our skin, have control over it and always stay positive in our journey – we will feel power and beauty!

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