Most would be lying if they said how they looked meant very little to them.
Statistics show addiction to how we look is more prevalent in females. But the physique fascination plagues both sexes, particularly since the ‘70’s when Schwarzenegger and co. brought bodybuilding public.
What drives us to care about how we look? Is there a correlation between the growth of the media’s influence and our physical obsession?
Hop aboard the Doc’s DeLorean and travel back to a time when television was non-existent – you’ll find smoker’s but very few with eating and body image disorders. People could only compare themselves to others around them and the odd black-and-white newspaper photo of a celebrity.
Then dawned the silver screen and the growth of Hollywood, and with it the ability to compare our looks to individuals hand-picked for their physical appearance. Average Joe’s competition grew – from folks in his neighbourhood to handsome movie stars.
Since then, what constitutes a ‘good body’ has changed. The era of Arnie brought the muscular look to our attention. But we failed to grasp that these physiques were impossible to achieve, for most.
Youngsters believed eating chicken, rice and broccoli six times a day would build them Mr Olympia-like physiques. They didn’t know of the ‘supplementation’ (read – steroids) used by the guys at the top level until years later.
Today, the impact of photo editing, filters and other advancements in technology allow us to easily improve our appearance. Technology is so good it’s difficult to know what’s real and many are left feeling unsatisfied with how they look.
How do we re-create a healthy body image?
It comes down to the individual. Approach social media with a discerning eye and place less value on what you see. Limiting social media is a useful tactic.
Choosing realistic role models helps too.
We often aspire to a body built for looks. There is nothing wrong with this but wouldn’t a functional physique be more useful? Your training should reflect this.
Finally, develop a better understanding of your body, its physiology and needs. A working knowledge of nutrition basics is invaluable rather than relying on gym rats to guide your dietary approach. Also, an awareness of sleep, recovery, training and other areas of body maintenance will prove priceless.
Next time you regard yourself in the mirror, ask yourself, who am I comparing myself to?
Compare you to you.
Improve by using an intelligent, objective approach rather than following the generic advice of an Instagram model.