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Tackling Body Image Struggles In Men



While women have been grappling with body image issues, very less attention has been paid to men who were going through body image issues at the same time. We keep reading articles and watching videos on the distorted picture of an ideal woman, whether it's about her physique or her character.

However, as time passes, it is vital to recognize how social media and mass media have portrayed a specific image of what a guy should look like.

Although, quite obviously not all men are able to keep up to that ideal male body image (according to the media) due to specific reasons and end up with body image issues linked to dieting, over-exercising, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa as well as binge eating disorder, and other mental health disorders such as low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.


A man’s body image means how he thinks and feels about his body. Body image involves your thoughts, perceptions, imagination, and emotions. It may have little to do with your actual appearance. The truth about body image issues is that it can affect men of all ages.


When you compare your body image to what the media portrays, which is generally slender and muscular, it leads to a negative body image or body dissatisfaction.


According to a study, around 34.44% of young Indian males have body image difficulties because they are dissatisfied with their body form. This causes individuals to concentrate on weight loss and muscle gain, which often leads to over-training and the use of image-enhancing medications such as steroids.

Social media is flooded with fitness enthusiasts who put pressure on guys to join their local gym in order to achieve the perfect body that a certain model possesses.


What these men do not know is that most of these pictures on social media are edited to make them look perfect from every angle. These men spend hours in the gym to get that lean, muscular look, even when they are not motivated enough to do so. Instead of just being fit by going for a jog, they continue working hard for a body they don’t really want while drinking protein shakes and taking steroids.


Let us have a look at how the typically ideal ‘Body Image’, affects the brains of men around the world, and what are the causes for such stereotypes that surround men:


Self-Destructive Behaviours in Men


When a man has body image difficulties, it can have a detrimental impact on his body and lead to self-destructive behavior. Men have little control over their hair loss or their beer belly. While hair loss is a normal process that cannot be halted, some men often choose fad diets that are not necessarily nutritionally good in order to lose weight. They feel that doing so will help them reduce excess belly fat in a matter of days while also being safe for their health.


Aside from that, eating disorders are not uncommon among males who have a negative body image. While some men suffer from anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, starving themselves to lose weight, others suffer from binge eating disorder, which causes them to eat all the time.

The trend that has piqued everyone's curiosity, however, is that practically every man has developed an exercise addiction. Following the pandemic, there has been a shift in mindset in which being fit is synonymous with being active in the gym. Men are now overexerting themselves and not allowing their muscles to rest, which frequently results in injury.

Men fail to understand that there are several natural factors through which their bodies have been designed. These natural factors can not be, and should not be, transformed to an over-exceeding limit. We should accept and embrace our natural body, and also constantly keep working on it, to keep it in good shape and maintenance.

Causes of Body Image Issues


Anyone, whether athletic or overweight, can have body image issues and engage in self-destructive behavior. But, what exactly are the causes of body image problems? There are numerous causes of bad body image in guys.

If a man is teased as a teenager for being too thin, too weak, or too overweight, it might lead to body image difficulties later in life when he is unsatisfied with his body image. Even if he is muscular, slim, and has dropped weight, he will be unhappy with his body.


Peer pressure on boys during their adolescent years to be physically strong and rugged often leads to a poor body image in a man later in life, especially if he lacks the muscular figure that social media has been promoting.


Aside from that, the emphasis on male athletes as role models for young boys might lead to body image issues in men later in life. Advertising campaigns, on the other hand, can be equally damaging because they depict idealized male pictures, leading men to believe that this is how they should appear.

In addition, society has been advertising the ideal male image as thin and muscular, which has pushed men to the gym in order to achieve that ideal male body image.


Looking at Improving Body Image for Men


Body image difficulties develop over time, so you will need both time and work to address them. However, it is something that can be improved. We have a few recommendations to help you avoid crash diets and other self-destructive behavior.


To begin with, consider your formative memories and try to determine the influences on your body image. Second, you should reduce the time you spend weighing yourself, measuring yourself, and inspecting yourself in the mirror. Try to prioritize health and vitality overweight, size, and shape.

Aside from that, you must establish a covenant with your body to respect it.


You can do this by eating healthy food, such as a balanced diet, rather than punishing it by over-training, fad diets, or drugs.


Rather than focusing just on your body's appearance, try to shift your focus to a healthier understanding of how your body functions and what it can do for you in life. To learn more about body image issues and how men deal with them, read about them.


When it comes to exercise, you may always go for it; however, do not work out solely for the sake of how your body appears; rather, work out for other reasons, such as stress relief, vitality, and enhanced attention.


Conclusion


Not only have ordinary people struggled with body image issues; superstars such as Sam Smith and Robert Pattinson have spoken out about how they, too, have struggled with a bad body image despite their fame and success. Many studies have revealed that males frequently believe they are either too thin or too fat to fulfill the ideal male body image.


Men's body image difficulties, on the other hand, go much deeper than their weight. The silver screen has been a big contributor to the rise in negative body perception among men and boys. Most men are worried about their bodies since the stars on the big screen appear chiseled with their six packs.


In addition, the majority of males who are fitness freaks sometimes referred to as fitness influencers, record videos and images of themselves doing out for their social media profiles. Other men who are not big exercise enthusiasts are frequently intimidated by this and feel like hiding in a corner.


Along with the structure of their bodies, men also have to deal with difficulties related to height, hair loss, and skin maintenance.


Accepting one's body as it is is the moral thing to do for a man. Since society is so preoccupied with acquiring the male ideal figure, men need to be content with their physical appearance and shouldn't worry about changing it. Doing so would be a kind of rebellion.


We hope that this article helps Men to appreciate their bodies, in whatever shape and form they are. We also urge Men to take healthy diets and inculcate good physical exercising habits, as these will not only make your appearance better but shall also help your body to survive in the Long run!


Article by: Deepti Dogra

Facts checked by: Bhagwat Jha

Edited By: Puneet Kapani

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