In today’s society, beauty standards are often unrealistic and unhealthy. There is a great amount of pressure placed on women and men to fit into the beauty standards set by the media. These standards are often unattainable, leading to body insecurities, disordered eating habits, and low self-esteem.
The media perpetuates these unhealthy beauty standards by promoting unrealistic body images and idealizing unhealthy behaviors. Magazines, social media and television shows portray a certain body type as the “ideal”, which can be damaging to those who do not fit into this mold.
Women are often encouraged to be overly unrealistically lean. Men are expected to have broad shoulders and have a muscular physique. Social media has also had a significant impact on beauty standards by creating unrealistic expectations for appearance and behavior. Many people compare themselves to the “perfect” (doctored) images they see on their feeds, leading to feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. In reality, for the majority of people, these body types are not only unattainable, but also unhealthy.
For women especially, having a low amount of body fat works against their genetics and can have long term consequences like lowered bone density and infertility. When our body reaches low body fat percentages, the body goes into a stressed state. Evolutionarily speaking, women were designed to carry the next generation, any danger of fertility being affected is a stress.
This brings us to the fitness industry which perpetuates an unrealistic picture of what a human body should look like while claiming that it is the pinnacle of health.
Fitness does not equal health
Fitness and health are two concepts that are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Fitness is the ability to perform physical activities, such as running, swimming, or lifting weights.
Health, on the other hand, is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. While fitness can be an important part of overall health, it does not guarantee it.
Fitness does not automatically mean that you are healthy. It is possible to be physically fit without being healthy. For example, if you are an avid runner but you are not eating a balanced diet or getting enough sleep, you may be physically fit but not healthy. Additionally, fitness does not address mental or social health, which are just as important as physical health. Fitness can be a great way to reach overall health, but it is not the only factor.
Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment are all part of achieving true health. To achieve real health, you must consider all aspects of your physical, mental, and social well-being.
How you feel in your body in terms of energy, how you interact with others in your life and your general feeling of wellbeing is a much better indicator of how healthy you are. Your mental health is a great factor in your physical health. In the fitness industry i have experienced many people (including myself at times) who may look physically fit and healthy although in terms of mental health they are incredibly unhealthy. Anything that we are overly concerned with has the potential to derail our mental health and, in tur, our physical health.
The best way to combat these unhealthy beauty standards is to focus on loving and accepting ourselves and realising what a healthy body ACTUALLY is. We need to challenge the images we see in the media and strive to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit. We should also encourage and support one another, rather than engaging in body shaming or comparison. By celebrating diversity and embracing our individual beauty, we can create a healthier and more positive environment.
Do you struggle with body image? Do let me know in the comments.
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