This week we have an honest talk about body image with three people that have battled body image themselves.
This week, Tony and Lexi welcome Sierra Rich, Certified Personal Trainer and operator of The Body Movement, an online fitness/training company based in Tempe, Arizona.
Sierra Rich Bio
- Owner – personal trainer, small group fitness organizer/trainer at The Body Movement
- Studied atISSA (International Sports Sciences Association)
Sierra posted a very moving post on her Instagram about her own struggles with body image, which led Tony to invite her on the show to talk about her own story as well as how she confronts her client’s body image issues.
Here is the post: “It’s taken me 28 years to get to a point where I love my body more often than I hate it. What’s heart breaking, is how many women I see still struggling with self-love. Training has given me the opportunity to try and reverse the dialogue that many women have in their head about their body and replace it with positivity and affirmation that they are beautiful. Loving your body isn’t about loving the shape or size of it… it’s about appreciating the strength and power it has to keep you going through this thing called life.”
What are we talking about? What is Body Image?
- Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. It encompasses what you believe about your own appearance (including your memories, assumptions, and generalizations), How you feel about your body, including your height, shape, and weight, How you sense and control your body as you move. How you feel in your body, not just about your body. (definition from the National Eating Disorders Association)
What would be considered a “positive body image”
- A clear, true perception of your shape–you see the various parts of your body as they really are. You celebrate and appreciate your natural body shape and you understand that a person’s physical appearance says very little about their character and value as a person. You feel proud and accepting of your unique body and refuse to spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight, and calories. You feel comfortable and confident in your body.
What would be considered a “negative body image”
- A distorted perception of your shape–you perceive parts of your body unlike they really are (body dysmorphia). You are convinced that only other people are attractive and that your body size or shape is a sign of personal failure. You feel ashamed, self-conscious, and anxious about your body. You feel uncomfortable and awkward in your body.
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Here are a couple of studies that show the huge impact of body image:
Refinery29 recently asked millennial women to open up about how they feel about their bodies. While 54 percent of the women said that they are “mostly happy” with their bodies, only a small 7 percent admitted to being “completely happy” with their bodies. In fact, 80 percent of the millennial women even admitted to avoiding certain activities because they felt self-conscious about their bodies. Specifically, going to the beach was the #1 activity that women avoided. Body insecurity has changed the lifestyles of these women: Sixty-two percent of millennial women have tried some kind of diet. A heartbreaking 70 percent of those women dieted before the age of 13 — an age where some women haven’t even hit puberty yet.
Glamour Study: More women than ever are reporting negative body image issues, and one of the main culprits is social media, according to a new survey of 1,000 women ages 18-40 conducted by Glamour. The survey, http://www.glamour.com/story/body-image-how-do-you-feel-about-your-body
carried out for the magazine by Ohio State University assistant professor Jesse Fox, is a follow-up to the original Glamour survey from 1984 — and the comparison is pretty depressing. Overall, 54% of women polled in the most recent survey said they are unhappy with their body, and 80% said simply looking in the mirror makes them feel bad, according to Glamour. The first number is up from 41% in 1984. And according to Fox, there is no question what is behind the increase: “The biggest thing that stands out is social media. In the 2014 survey, a huge number of women—64 percent—report that looking at pictures on sites like Facebook and Instagram makes them feel bad about their body.” Ironically, whereas before women might compare themselves to celebrities, always knowing at some level that they represented unobtainable perfection, part of the problem with social media is that it allows women to compare themselves to more “regular women,” who still however present idealized images of themselves (thank you, Instagram filters!). Indeed 60% of women surveyed by Glamour said that they use digital tools to crop, filter, or retouch their images.
Sierra, Lexi and Tony all shared their own personal stories about body image and how they have learned tools and techniques to shift from the negative into a more positive body image attitude.
They also talk about the positive and negative impact social media has on body image, including a frank discussion about “fitspo” girls on Instagram and the unrealistic expectations that are being sold by “normal” women on social media.
Here are a couple of articles about the impact of “wellness” or “fitspiration” or “fitspo” sites/posts:
Shape article: Why “Fitspiration” Instagram Posts Aren’t Always Inspiring
If you’re truly dedicated (or insecure, depending on how you look at it), you can even download an app like SkinneePix, which helps you remove 5, 10, or 15 pounds from your appearance.
Time Article: How Social Media is a Toxic Mirror http://time.com/4459153/social-media-body-image/
The meteoric rise of the “wellness” industry online has launched an entire industry of fitness celebrities on social media. Millions of followers embrace their regimens for diet and exercise, but increasingly, the drive for “wellness” and “clean eating” has become stealthy cover for more dieting and deprivation. This year, an analysis of 50 so-called “fitspiration” websites revealed messaging that was indistinguishable, at times, from pro-anorexia (pro-ana) or “thinspiration” websites. Both contained strong language inducing guilt about weight or the body, and promoted dieting, restraint and fat and weight stigmatization.
As an extra bonus, here’s an article that has helped me to tackle my own binge eating problem: