Body Image

Ever feel insecure about your “not-good-enough” body? Join the club. Research suggests we’ve got some big, fat body-image problems. And no wonder: Thanks to the endless onslaught of hyper-perfected images we see in the media and our social feeds, we’re nudged toward self-loathing on a daily basis. Here, we examine the scope and nature of the problem, and we challenge some of the assumptions behind it.

This week on The Living Experiment, we’re talking about Body Image, and exploring the challenges of maintaining a positive self-regard in our body-shaming culture.

From disturbing statistics about widespread self-loathing to pop-culture and media trends that appear to be making matters worse, we explore the individual and collective costs of promoting unachievable, hyper-perfected body ideals.

We also share some of our own body-image insights, including the places we struggle to shape healthy values and viewpoints in the face of dysfunctional social programming.

Finally, we offer you some experiments to help you develop more awareness about your own sense of body-image, and to evolve it in ways that work for you.

“Body Image” Episode Highlights

  • Pilar shares some statistics about how common negative body image is and the effect it’s having on both kids and adults
  • How weight and appearance affect both women and men not just in romance, but in the workplace
  • Why the public outcry against hyper-perfected body ideals doesn’t seem to have meaningfully changed the pursuit of those ideals
  • Believing it’s possible to be truly happy by living in line with your values and prioritizing a healthy, happy body, rather than a “perfect” one
  • Thinking beyond physical attractiveness as an important feature of a potential date/mate
  • Challenging the notion that beautiful people are more important, more gratifying to be around, or any happier than anybody else
  • The value of trading self-criticism and self-loathing for self-appreciation and self-respect

For 10 minutes, in public, move the way you would move as if you loved the way you look. Observe what happens.

For the next week, strive to avoid, clear, or ignore all the images that make you feel bad about your body (magazines, catalogs, social feeds, TV, etc.). Notice first how hard it is to tear your eyes away from these pictures, then notice how much time and energy you could reclaim for yourself by opting out of them. At the end of the week, evaluate whether they hold less power for you and/or whether you are more conscious of their intrusion into your life. For bonus points, send yourself a loving message every time you see one of these images.

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We’d also love to have you connect with us on Facebook. Tell us about your experiments, and share your thoughts, stories and reflections there.