The two sides of the body image coin

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With the constant bombardment in the media of what constitutes ‘the ideal body image’, there are often concerns about how this can affect a person’s mental health. These almost impossibly high standards have been found to affect both the young as well as more mature individuals in society. The Mental Health Foundation defines the concept of body image as the feelings and thoughts one has about one’s body, and how these have an influence on mental and physical wellbeing. Body image can incite feelings that range from anxiety and self-loathing, which naturally has a detrimental effect on a person’s mental health.

The results of a YouGov poll found that in the 18-to-24 year old age group, 57% acknowledged feelings of anxiety because of their body image, while the percentage for the 45-to-54 age group was 30 percent. Being dissatisfied with one’s body image can increase the risk of psychological distress, as well as adopting unhealthy eating behaviours.

Understanding the concept of body image

When looking at body image, and what some people may consider to be the ‘perfect’ body, it is clear that there are many different aspects to consider. However, the two most common factors that seem to be looked at are body shape and weight. Individuals who may be overweight may experience dissatisfaction with their bodies, and want to reach the standards they see in the media. Body satisfaction, in turn, not only elevates feelings of wellbeing but allows the individual to feel confident in their own skin. This could be why a whole market segment has opened up to help individuals on the way towards achieving their ideal body.

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Wanting to reshape the body is not always an entirely aesthetic pursuit. It is generally known that a healthy body weight is better for overall health. Excessive amounts of stored fat in the body can often become a serious cause for concern. What is considered a healthy body weight is determined by a person’s body mass index (BMI) that takes into consideration the measurement of a person’s height and weight. There are five categories that one can fall into. At the low end is being underweight (a BMI of under 18.5) and the other end of the spectrum is classified as being morbidly obese (a BMI of 40 or over).

There are a wide range of health conditions that are associated with high BMIs. The list includes: diseases such as kidney and fatty liver disease, cancers, infertility in females, high blood pressure, coronary heart conditions and stroke. Seen in this light, tackling issues with high levels of body fat becomes a health-enhancing issue. To combat excessive weight, many individuals try fad diets and ‘quick-fix’ products, which often return little to no results. In other cases even hours of exercise may not seem to show any visible results, which can be disheartening. However, the answer may lie in a ground-breaking fat-freezing procedure that involves little to no recovery time. Get in touch with a clinic offering CoolSculpting near me to speak to experienced practitioners.

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