It’s not news that many women do not perceive their body image accurately. Research going back over 40 years shows that women typically don’t see their body the way the rest of the world does. We are usually more critical of our own appearance, and even when another woman is the same size as us, we often see them as thinner and more attractive.
Why don’t we see ourselves in the same light that the rest of the world does? It’s believed to be a combination of comments from others and of course, the media. With years of outside influence it’s no wonder our perception of the lady staring back at us in the mirror can become skewed from reality.
I came across an interesting new website whose goal is to allow women to see a more realistic view of their bodies. My Body Gallery is trying to show women how good they really do look by comparing them to other women with the same height, weight, clothing size and body shape.
The point being, that when you see someone of the same body shape and weight you will be less critical of them than you would of a photo of yourself, which will hopefully allow you to feel better about your own appearance.
According to the site, 95% of women who do not have an eating disorder overestimate the size of their hips by 16% and their waists by 25%. These same women were able to correctly estimate the width of a box.
”Most women have spent so many years looking at themselves in mirrors that we can no longer see what's really there. The My Body Gallery project's goal is to help women objectively see what we look like and come to accept that we are all beautiful.”
Since the site is fairly new, they are also looking for women to post anonymous pictures of themselves to build up their database.
Of course, staying active, eating healthy and taking care of yourself can all contribute to a more positive attitude about not only yourself, but the world around you. If you are having negative thoughts about your body, you need to put an end to the damaging behaviour. Iit will only bring you down. Here are some tips that may help from Denise Martz, Clinical Psychologist:
Stop negative self-talk immediately. Although you still may not like what you see in the mirror, you need to stop the harmful words, which will help end the cycle of low self-esteem. Instead of “my muffin top is disgusting” you could think “I need to work on my abs."
Focus on what you like about your looks. Find the things you love about the way you look. Focus on these areas the next time you look in the mirror.
Treat yourself the way you treat your best friend. You wouldn’t respect a friend who says your thighs are too big, but you find it appropriate to not respect yourself?
Dress up. Don't put off buying new clothes until you lose some weight, or wear baggy clothes to cover your body. Buy clothes that fit your body and make you look great no matter your size or shape.
Until next time,
Peace, love and vitamin C!
Jennifer Pretty began her career as the director of artist development for a well-known Canadian music label. Branching out on her own, she then started her own PR business “Pretty Media Management” planning and hosting various charity, entertainment and fashion events. As a dance and fitness class enthusiast Jennifer is a firm believer in the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. She also loves to cook, travel, spend time with family and friends and most importantly living life to the fullest!