What is Unhealthy Body Image? How to Talk to Your Teen About Unhealthy Body Image?

 What is Unhealthy Body Image? How to Talk to Your Teen About Unhealthy Body Image?

What is Unhealthy Body Image? How to Talk to Your Teen About Unhealthy Body Image? ichhori.com

BODY! We all have different kinds of body, some have a lean body, some have a curvy body, while some have an obese body, but it not always in our hands to have a perfect figure that we desire, because it depends on various factors like genes, health issues and many more. But what happens when you don’t have a desired body, well most of the times people end up being sad and doing drastic things that in turn affects their health. And this happens because of the negative body image that they have like a preconceived notion that only people with a perfect zero size figure (lean body) are beautiful. But this a very vague idea of what unhealthy or negative body image is, so let’s dive in and have a clear look at what exactly unhealthy body image is, but before that let us also understand what is body image and healthy body image for you all to understand exactly what are we trying to say we say ‘Unhealthy Body Image’.

Body Image – Body Image is nothing but simply the way you think about your physical self. And when it comes to Body Image there are two types of Body Image, Healthy Body Image and Unhealthy Body Image. 

Healthy Body Image – Healthy Body Image is when you feel happy and confident about your physical self and body. Having a Healthy Body Image will make you feel relaxed, and it will also make you accept who you are and make you feel special irrespective of what you look like. 

Unhealthy Body Image – Unhealthy Body Image is when you don’t feel happy and confident about your body and physical self. Having a negative or Unhealthy Body Image will make you feel concerned about  your body and you will feel that only people with a good body (lean body) look beautiful, thus making you believe that looks determines the value of a person. Also having a negative or Unhealthy Body Image will make you want to change your body type desperately, like if you are thin and not muscular, you would want to gain some weight, get muscular and have six-pack abs and when you are fat or obese then you will feel like losing your weight in order to have a perfect zero figure. 

Now that we know what Body Image is along with the difference between Healthy and Unhealthy Body Image, let’s have a look at the reasons why we are prone to having Unhealthy Body Images:

  • Image created by the Media – We can often see that media portrays and encourages petite frames for women whereas a tall and muscular frames for men, thus the moment you don’t have a figure or body that is not similar to that portrayed in the media, you start feeling low and wish to change your body type. 
  • Relatives – Even though they are a part of the family, they are the ones who creative negative image in your mind about yourself the moment you are different from the others and most importantly from the societal norms. 
  • Stereotypes – A perfect body image meaning having slender body (females), tall and muscular frames with six – pack abs (males) have been set as the perfect body image for each gender and thus the moment you don’t fit in them the society makes sure to make you aware of it. These body images have been stereotyped for long and still haven’t changed that much. 
  • Peers – Just like relatives, societies, and the media, peers are also one of those people who make sure to taunt you if you are different from others and don’t have the perfect figure. 

Now that we know what is Unhealthy Body Image, what are the reasons why one develops a negative or Unhealthy Body Image let’s have a look at the effects of negative body image. Having an Unhealthy Body Image also causes some severe consequences and some of them are as follows:

  • Lower Self Esteem
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Nutritional Imbalance and Growth Issues
  • Eating Disorders
  • Instead of losing weight, end up having a BMI (Body Mass Index) of more than 30, meaning Obesity
  • Not confident enough to face oneself and appreciate oneself for who they are, thus as a consequence even end up being bullied
  • Addition of other health problems

And now after getting to what kind of consequences one can have or face as a result of negative or Unhealthy Body Image, let’s finally have a look at how can you as parents talk to your teens about Unhealthy Body Image. Teenage is the time when kids are in the form of transition from kids to being adults and thus a lot physical changes take place due to hormonal changes and as result one can end up having a type of body which they don’t desire or are mocked about. So, it becomes a duty as parents to support them and make sure to tell them a certain things about Unhealthy Body Image.

  • Talk to your teens about puberty, it effects on their body and what changes can it do to their body.
  • Encourage healthy habits – Instead of doing an unhealthy dieting, make sure to encourage healthy and balanced eating habits right from the start.
  • Monitor social media usage and counter negative media messages.
  • Set a good example, where you make your teen understand the real meaning of being beautiful in life, being able to accept who they are and how they are and most importantly that ‘Looks aren’t everything’.
  • Promote daily physical activity like exercises, just dieting won’t help you gain or lose weight, doing a proper physical exercise according to one’s body type is also important.
  • Use positive language which is full of love and care, while explaining and talking to them about Body Image, healthy Body Image and Unhealthy Body Image, so that they don’t feel pressurized.
  • Share stories and media messages that talk about positive and healthy body image instead of negative and unhealthy body image.
  • Can also take help from your teen’s doctor regarding approaching your teens to talk about Unhealthy Body Image. 
  • And last but not the least encourage positive and healthy friendships, that don’t compare one another on the basis of one’s body type and frame.

So dear parents make sure to follow these tips when you are talking to your teens regarding unhealthy body image, as talking in a wrong manner or promoting unhealthy body image may also lead you to lose your teens, as we all know that teenage is the time in life when kids are going through a lot of changes and also wish to experiment a lot of things, thus being able to provide them with a positive ideology is very important, especially teaching them being beautiful is not everything and in order to be the real beauty one needs to see what’s inside their heart and not just the outer appearance.

“You have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise Hay 

Ref: Healthy body image: Tips for guiding teens - Mayo Clinic


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