4 signs that you have body image issues

Despite the common misconception that body image issues almost always relate to anorexia, many people around the world in fact suffer from a poor body image. This is linked to the pressures that society places on teenagers as they go through adolescence. While females are often seen as the main victims, many males also suffer from issues around body image. However, as a result of the ideals that we as a society place on males, they often feel unable to reach out.

Body image is a big part of how people view themselves, and is heavily tied to individual self-worth - which why it often results in negative effects on your mental health. It can seem easy to say that you don’t suffer from body image issues. However, it often isn’t until we consider that the signs that point to body image issues are thoughts and feelings that we have ourselves that we realise this may not be the case.

Here are some signs to help you identify some of the most common symptoms of body image issues:

You compare your body to others around you

Whether it’s your best friend or a stranger you pass on the street, comparing the size and shape of your body to others is a sign of a poor body image. It can also be a sign of an unhealthy obsession with the role that weight plays in your happiness. Everyone has a unique body, and this shouldn’t affect how you feel about your own.

You put things off so that you can lose weight first

Whether it’s putting off going on holiday until you look beach ready, or holding off your wedding until you lose just enough weight to look perfect, avoiding certain events until you feel that you’ve lost enough weight is a sign of poor body image. It links to the notion that your self-worth is tied to your body image, and as a result can lead to you not being able to enjoy experiences because you are concerned with how you look.

You can’t stop thinking about your appearance

Thinking about your appearance isn’t an inherently bad thing to do. There is nothing wrong with checking to see if your makeup or hair needs a quick touch up, or to see if your shirt needs straightening up. It is instead situations such as sucking in your stomach because you’re constantly being aware of what your stomach looks like when you sit down, or inspecting your body in the mirror to see if you ‘look good enough’ every time you pop to the bathroom. Having an almost compulsive need to readjust how you look to others is a sign of a poor body image.

You don’t like what you see in the mirror

Everyone has those days where they look at themselves in the mirror and aren’t very happy with what they see. But if you find looking in the mirror is a compulsive way to criticize various aspects of your body that you dislike, then this is a sign of body image issues. Rather than seeing the good points about yourself and the smile that you bring to other people’s faces, getting sucked into how you look physically and all the things you want to change about your body is damaging to both your mental health and self-worth.

If you feel that you have poor body image and that it is affecting your wellbeing and mental health, don’t be afraid to get help. Contact Supportline, Seed or Time to Change for professional help and support.