Fighting Body Dysmorphia

angie harris

angelina_jolie1.jpgMegan Fox. Angelina Jolie. Jessica Alba.

These actresses are considered “sexy” by media standards.

I, however, do not look like any of the above-mentioned names; far from it, in fact.

As a woman living in Southern California, sometimes I get the feeling that everything is about image and looks. Everywhere I look, I see beautiful, fit, well-maintained bodies (both male and female). No one really cares about “the content of their character” anymore. I blame the media. The massive piles of magazines piled into the supermarket showing a 5’7” supermodel wearing size 2 clothing; the super-fit actress who has the perfectly shaped stomach, arms and legs that I so desperately want to achieve. The off-chance that we do see someone “normal-looking” in a magazine is few and far between. And don’t even get me started with the tabloids!

The “perfect” body that seems so far out of reach.

I think a lot of women suffer some degree of body dysmorphia or another. We’ve all been in that situation where we are in a fitting room looking at our bodies in the mirror and going, “I look fat. I wish I had thinner (insert body part).” We are all concerned about our bodies, based on the images that we see, whether it be billboards, magazines, movies, television, or commercials. We are constantly bombarded with the images of what our bodies should look like.

I think during the 50s, women actually had more “meat” on their bones. They didn’t look anorexic. They didn’t look “fat.” They looked like the average human beings that we see on the streets every day. They looked like your next door neighbor. And, if I remember my art history correctly, there are numerous paintings of women who had a “pooch” for their stomachs. During that time, the bigger the pooch, the richer the person was because it depicted that the subject could afford food.

When has society come to think that thinner is more attractive?

So how does one combat the mentality of “I have to look a certain way?” The thought that crosses your mind is: I have  wobbly triceps. I have to have a flat stomach. I have to have the perfect body.

Those thoughts come into your brain either as a tidal wave of negative realization towards your body or that gentle whisper in your ear saying, “I wish…

Does yoga help with this?

We talk about uniting mind, body and spirit, about being at peace with one’s own self image. But how easy is it to attain? From personal experience, it takes a lot of work. Did yoga help me? I think it did. Yoga – and a lot of pep talks to myself.  Looking at my body and embracing it for what it is rather than focusing on the negative aspects is something that I had to train my brain to do. Why dwell and fight genetics? This is how my body is built.

I have basically come to the realization that I am never going to be the next super-model who is 5’7” and can wear a size 2 or size 0 dress. I am never going to be super-model thin. I’m not going to sacrifice my body to look a certain way. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is important to be healthy and to treat my body with the respect and love that it deserves. I still believe in working out and staying in shape, but I’m not going to purposely starve myself to get thinner or stretch myself to get taller.

Liberate yourself from society’s standards of what your body should look like.

Embrace your bodies, ladies!

Love it for what it is!

Love Thyself!

[tags]Megan Fox, Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, super-model, workout, body-type, sexy, media, actress, fit body, flat stomach, images[/tags]

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