Why Is Self-Esteem and Body Image So Important?
Self-esteem is all about how you see yourself. Self-esteem is important because feeling good about yourself can affect how you think and behave.
Someone with good self-esteem has a positive self image. They are aware of their strengths and accepting of their weaknesses without judging themselves too harshly. They feel confident in different situations and are comfortable around other people.
People with poor self esteem tend to be self critical and feel worthless or not good enough. They often expect to fail and lack confidence.
Some people think that someone who is successful, popular and attractive, must have good self esteem, but this is not always the case.
Sometimes people who appear to "have everything" can also have very poor self image.
Body image is how you see your physical self - including whether you feel you are attractive, and whether others like your looks. For many people body image can be closely linked to self-esteem. Whatever you think of yourself, if you want to improve your self image, you can begin by making the most of your appearance.Why is appearance important?
If we want to feel good about ourselves the first thing to look at is the image we present to the outside world.
Whether we like it or not, we are constantly judged by our physical appearance. This doesn't mean that we have to adjust our appearance to suit other people, far from it! But what is important is that our appearance suits us and enhances the way we feel.
If we face the world feeling good about ourselves then we are creating the best possible start to the day ahead, it's about making the best of what we have.
Regardless of how you look, or what you'd like to change about your appearance, you can still present to the world an image of someone who values themselves because you take the time to care, and this shows you have self respect.
- Pay attention to hygiene. If you let your hygiene slip you're saying "I don't care about myself".
- Keep your hair in good condition. A well kept hair style will help to make you feel good about yourself.
- Wear clothes that enhance the way you look. Avoid the temptation to neglect the way you look because you feel low, it will make you feel worse!
When you get it right, your clothes and appearance help you to feel good about yourself and boost your confidence. When you're happy with what you see on the outside it helps you to feel happy and more confident inside. So make the effort, it's worth it!
- First of all you are unique, there is no one on the planet like you, we are all unique in this way.
This is something you should feel proud about.
- Make a list of all your good qualities. This can be your own opinion or the opinion of other people, family or friends.
- Learn to love yourself. Eat well, pamper yourself. Do things you enjoy, that make you feel good. You are worth it!
- Don't compare yourself to other people. We are all unique and you don't need to constantly judge yourself in terms of other people's achievements or strengths. You might have qualities that they don't possess!
- Don't be lazy! If you're not happy about something that you know you could change, then do something about it.
- Think positively and focus on the good qualities you have. You will have beautiful features in your personality and appearance but they may be buried beneath the surface by negative thinking. You have to learn to recognize them, draw them out and build on them.
When negative thoughts come into your mind try and change them to positive ones. For example, change "I'll never be able to do that" to "How can I learn to do that?" Positive thinking leads to positive action which will help improve your self esteem.
Does being overweight affect your mood?
As a quick check try this questionnaire to find out Is My Weight Affecting My Mood?
Obesity is on the increase and is becoming a serious problem, especially for children, who are statistically more overweight now than ever before. The UK is second only to the US for weight problems and it's getting worse.
In the UK leading doctors are urging the government to appoint an expert to lead a health drive to tackle this problem, because weight problems and obesity are putting a tremendous burden on the health service.
Firstly society makes judgements based purely on appearance and obese people are often stigmatised as being unintelligent, almost inferior human beings. A study by Yale University found that male jurors were more likely to convict a female defendant who was obese than her slim counterparts. Men tended to judge overweight women as lazy and not as good as slender women.At school obese children can have a very traumatic time, often being subjected to verbal abuse and bullying.
Traditionally, overweight characters are jolly and good fun, but in reality they can feel isolated and miserable because they're unhappy about the way they look and their size prevents them from being as active as they would like. The more overweight you are, the more difficult it is to sustain regular activity as you can tire very quickly.
We are bombarded in the media by images of stick thin celebrities. There is also an endless array of diet regimes to try, so there is a lot of pressure, particularly aimed at women, to be thin.
Amongst all this are people, some of them celebrities, who though hugely overweight, claim that they are completely content with their size and being fat doesn't mean being unhappy.
Ask yourself this, can I be fat and happy? The simple answer to this is yes, if you look in the mirror and you like what you see, you're also not concerned about the health implications, and you don't care what other people think about you or your appearance.
If you are not happy with your appearance or health, or how others think of you, then being happy and content about your self image is impossible, and your mood will suffer because of it.
For those of us who are overweight by choice (eating too much and lack of exercise) we can do something about it, but we should show great respect and understanding to some who are clinically obese, because due to their metabolic inheritance, they have great difficulty controlling how they look or feel.
For me, I don't think being very thin or being a little overweight in itself determines your mood, but I think it is certainly a contributory factor to either a small or significant degree depending on how you feel about your weight and how you look. If you're a little bit overweight it might not be a significant influence on your mood, but if you are obese then it can seriously affect how you feel.
I have never met anyone who has successfully lost weight and not been proud of it, saying they feel better, have more energy, their clothes fit better and they have more stamina.
And there lies the crux of the matter. Anyone who has been overweight to whatever degree, knows that you don't feel good if you have to drag extra weight around all the time.
If you are not happy and want to lose weight but don't do anything about it, you can spend a lot of time feeling guilty and miserable. But there's one thing that's certain. The only way to feel better is to do something about it. If you don't, how can things improve?
People make all sorts of excuses as to why they are overweight because it's easier to indulge yourself than deny yourself, but if we're honest, there is no real excuse, and the more we put on, the harder it is to lose it.
So what can you do?
There is no "One size fits all". Only you can decide if you are happy with your weight. Be honest with yourself, and if you're not, then there are lots of things you can do.
It might be that you just want to lose a few pounds, or it might be that you are obese, or anywhere on that spectrum. Either way, you can do it, but only if you want to. Don't blame other people for your weight problem, it's down to you!
The one exception here is that if you have a weight problem that is difficult to control because of genetic reasons, you must try not to worry about it. There is nothing to be gained by worrying about something you may not be able to change. Try to think positively and focus on the good qualities you undoubtedly have. You will have some beautiful aspects to your personality and appearance, but you have to learn to recognize them, and build on them.
The simple formula for losing weight is easy. The calories eaten must be less than the calories burned. Eat less and move more!
It sounds so easy but for a lot of people it's really hard to achieve and maintain. Lots of people lose weight successfully only to put it all back on again when they stop "dieting".
The reason for this is that the body adapts to the lower food intake by becoming more efficient at nutrient extraction and storing fuel (fat). Then when you come off your diet and eat normaly, the metabolism is in great form for storing foods rapidly.
I think this is part of the problem. People go on a short, fast diet or eating regime in order to lose weight, then once they've lost it they go back to "normal" food and the weight comes back.
To overcome this effect, you should increase your foods gradually and settle on a quantity of food that matches your daily energy requirements.
To be successful at maintaining your desired weight, you need to educate yourself about food, the foods you should eat, the foods you should avoid, how often you should eat and how much you should eat.
For some this could include why you eat.
If you just apply the rules to your usual food regime, there is no reason why you shouldn't be successful.
In contrast, if you go on some special diet for a limited time, you might lose weight, but is it sustainable......?
Remember, don't risk destroying your self confidence, personality and moods by viewing yourself in an over critical manner. A poor self image can be unjustified, are you seeing yourself as others see you ?
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