Globally, the prevalence of body shaming is as high as 25 to 35 percent.
Our perception of an ideal body has now changed to a greater extent. There’s more to life than this, and everything you see or hear on social media isn’t true.
Body shaming is an act of making fun of or deriding someone’s physical appearance. And, it is not limited to fat-shaming. Body-shaming is a broad term and includes height shaming, thinness shaming, hair color, body shape, muscularity, facial features, marks because of injuries, and the list goes on. There’s no end to this list.
And, with the increasing presence of social media, awareness, and incidents of body shaming is increasing. So, social media here acts as a double-edged sword. Some are spreading awareness about body shaming and helping others to deal with this. And, then there are the ones who are actively involved in doing such acts of body-shaming.
Many believe that body-shaming someone will act as motivation. And then another person will move towards a healthier lifestyle. But, unfortunately, this act might push someone into serious physical and mental health problems.
It’s sad that how a place given to us for building connections is harming the other person through acts like body-shaming. Social media has now become a platform to manifest this, especially with increasing digital penetration.
Impact of body shaming:
- Eating disorders are one of the most common physical impacts of body shaming. And, they are a matter of concern. Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating disorder, pica, etc., are harmful to health. Making fun of someone based on their weight would eventually lead them to change their eating patterns. And, the sad part here is people often don’t realize this as a disorder that makes its diagnosis difficult.
- Malnutrition is another issue that might arise because of body shaming as another person will get more conscious about what they eat. And, if they are thin, they will opt for some unhealthy high-calorie products that will have no nutritional value. Or, if someone is trying to lose weight, they might start restricting their overall calorie intake. In both cases, a person has a high risk of nutrient deficiency and long-term health problems.
- Some studies even show that there’s an increased risk of obesity in people who experience body- shaming. Rather than motivating others to lose weight or develop healthy habits, weight discrimination has pushed them towards obesity and mental health issues.
You will not realize when these mental health problems will enter your life. There’s very little you can do to diagnose them. They are not visible, and few talk about them openly.
- Risk of depression increases if a person is experiencing body shaming. And, the risk increases if someone is doing this in public. It is not okay, even if they are your friend and you’re doing all this for fun. Change that right now!
- Self-esteem, we hope that you realize how important it is. And, hitting it is one of the most inhuman things someone can do. Also, one should not forget how fast things spread on social media, so doing this on such a platform might leave another person shattered.
- Social interactions might suffer as the person will not feel confident, and there will be a sense of embarrassment, fear, or anxiety. They will not feel confident in wearing any new outfit in public, considering that they might not look good. And, the same goes with eating outside because others can make fun of their eating habits. Such activities are also a hidden form of body shaming and can result in equivalent damage.
- Increase the risk of suicide as depression is one of the reasons behind it, which is a contributing factor here. Some studies show that there is a strong relationship between suicide attempts and obesity.
How to deal with body shaming?
All bodies are beautiful. And all of them deserve respect and love.
- Be kind towards your body, and give it the love it needs. We often end up harming ourselves because of another person. Start with respecting your body.
- Shift your focus from being thin. Being healthy and fit must be our priority. Focus on building a healthy lifestyle and not just being thin. Being skinny is not same as being thin.
- Don’t rely too much on the weighing scale because the numbers there will not give you a complete picture. Focus on body composition and not on numbers. Weighing scale doesn’t define fitness.
- Talk to someone you trust because keeping these feelings inside will ultimately cause more stress and discomfort.
- Filter your social media and follow the people who you think are good for your well-being. It’s your profile and, you can choose to follow the things that are good for you. Use fitspiration wisely.
- Use positive affirmations: Don’t underestimate the power of affirmations. Positive affirmations can change your thinking pattern and can help you deal with negative emotions.
- Practice self-care as this will improve your physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being.
- Love yourself: This is the most powerful tool you can use to deal with problems in your life. When you love yourself enough, you’ll always choose what’s best for you. And, this will give a sense of self-satisfaction with whatever you do.
- Don’t hate your food and body because they are the ones that keep you going. Hating your food is not going to solve anything. No food is good or bad. Respect what you eat!
- There’s more to life than your looks and focus on being healthy. Reward your body with healthy food and exercise. Don’t forget to have have a healthy medtal diet too.