Simply Health ME E79 – Body Image

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Body Image episode

Define “Body Image”: “The subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body”.

The key here is that it is subjective. There is not objective way to view our own bodies. We can use objective measurements (height, weight, waist, et al…) but those objective ‘factual measurements’ will always be viewed through the skewed lens of our own psyches.

Can be positive or negative.

Women AND Men have issues with body image.


  • Often relates to being smaller / thinner
  • May relate to the time in which you grew up
  • E.g twiggy, kate moss models of my youth
  • Lets remember there is nothing wrong with also being very thin unless eating disorder
  • Many women (and men) want a body “TYPE” that would be unattainable
  • Remember genetics is a big factor


Often relates to being larger / bigger / taller

Men have just as many issues with body image as women do but are often not allowed to share those thoughts for fear of being outcast or ridiculed by peers. The adonis complex is a perfect example where men are told they need to have massive ‘shoulder boulders’, huge biceps, a chiseled chest and back. For many men it is difficult to put on weight or lean mass. It is also unrealistic to compare the amount of time you can devote to training vs. the professional body builder whose JOB is to be a gym rat and create his/her physique.


2014 study in JAMA found that adolescent boys are increasingly affecting with body dysmor

So Can you have positive body image AND always being pursuing improving health / performance and physical appearance???

Recognize, you will likely never “arrive” at the perfect look or the best performance, and that is okay.

It is human nature to push to be better.

Imposter syndrome

How Do we combat negative body image?

  • Gratitude journaling related to the way you look
  • List the things that you like about your body
  • Focusing on improved strength / performance
  • Focus on exercise and food you enjoy
  • Don’t “punish yourself” (this is what I like about high fat / low carb)
  • Surround yourself with others who are positive in general
  • Think about how others see you (the way your children see you)
  • Postcards / phone call / email / text to say you appreciate someone else
  • Help someone on their health journey
  • Focusing on Health (getting off meds / BP down)
  • Recognize you will have negative thoughts and that is okay
  • Once you have reached one health goal (say related to body composition) have an unrelated goal (volunteering, doing more for others, a goal related to work, get better sleep)

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