New Year’s Eve ends the holidays with a bang, and recognizing the effects of holiday indulgences can hit pretty hard.
People who assess their reflection and find a disconnect between what they look like and what they feel they “should” look like are experiencing body image issues. And dropping those extra pounds is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions.
Body image is a mental construct of what people think they look like; it can be grounded in reality or it can be very different from how others see you. Sometimes those extra pounds are only perceived by you.
Body image is influenced by internal factors like emotions, moods, and early life experiences and by social factors like peer groups and the media. Having a good body image means you are comfortable with what your body can do, its size, and its peculiarities.
But over the past few decades, the idea that a good physique equals not only a healthy body but a healthy mind has caused a surge in interest in personal fitness and negative self-esteem.
Many more people feel pressure to strive for the ideal body. Magazines promote an idealized body image, when in reality people can only change so much about their appearance.
Metabolism and many physical features are dictated by biology, so desiring the perfect weight, build, or skin tone will leave you dissatisfied and drained emotionally, physically, and possibly financially.
That stress is amplified around the holidays because parties, dinners, and visiting family create many opportunities for health-conscious people to succumb to temptation. People also tend to assume that coworkers’ and family’s boosting of health-eating and exercising accurately represent their behaviour and they are the only ones sneaking goodies.
If you are overly preoccupied by your weight or physical imperfections, a meeting with a psychologist would be a step in the right direction.
Susan Krauss Whitbourne. “Time for a Body Image Makeover? A 10-Step guide: A 10-step makeover for your body image can benefit your health.” Psychology Today. ://www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201112/my-beautiful-body/10-steps-towards-feeling-better-about-yourself
J. Rodin. “Body Mania.” Psychology Today.http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199201/body-mania
Photo by: Perfecto Insecto
Patients in this story are a fictional composite of people who have sought help for this issue. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Dr. Eva Fisher is an Ottawa psychologist who has been providing psychotherapy for a variety of issues for over 20 years. Follow her on Twitter @drevafisher. Blog writing assisted by freelance journalist Sara Frizzell.
Copyright © Dr. Eva Fisher