When it comes to body image, many people have the wrong perspective about whether it is about your physical body appeal, body features and your overall appearance. Wrong!

Body image is how to feel and think about your body. It has very little to do with our actual appearance and rather a lot to do with the thoughts, perceptions, concepts and values you associate with your body. Although traditionally body image has been strongly linked with women, body image is also more deep rooted amongst men.

Men who are more into sports, athletics, media, modeling, bodybuilding and professional dancing are prone to depression and anxiety that stems out of body image issues. Such men are more vulnerable to poor body image and feeling insecure about their approaches.

Poor body image usually roots from being judged as a child or in their profession where they are likely to be more judged. A negative image can result in many destructive behaviors in men, which most of us overlook when we are talking about overall appearances in men.

Self-Destructive Behaviors in Men Due to Poor Body Image

1. Fad Diets

We often stress this for women, but it works equally for men. According to a study in Australia 11% of the men’s population follow some type of diet at any given time. Most of these diets are not balanced and usually recognized as fad diets. For most athletes and bodybuilders many men are encouraged to take steroids for rapid growth and performance, which is again not only extremely unhealthy but also agitates mood and mental health.

2. Disordered Eating

Almost 1 third of the total disordered eating population is identified as males. The most common disordered eating found in men is anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. According to a top sexologist in Peshawar, disordered eating is also associated with; excessive dieting to the point it turns into starving sessions, binge eating, over-exercising or over-eating. This can lead to low self-esteem issues, depression, anxiety, substance abuse or other forms of mental health issues.

3. Steroids Abuse

As mentioned earlier, many men who are involved in the athletic industry rely on steroid use. While steroids enhance performance they are very dangerous and destructive in the long run. For body builders who use steroids, it may promote muscle growth and enhance your body shape, but once you achieve your desired goal you will definitely lose considerable muscle mass over time. This will lead to poor health and a drastic drop in strength over time.

What Causes Poor Body Image in Men?

There are many factors that contribute to a negative body image in men, however, some of the most prominent factors are;

  • Childhood or adolescence abuse- as a child or a boy being teased on body weight and shape can greatly damage men’s overall physical health and well-being. Being bullied is also a major factor for developing insecurities regarding body matters.
  • Cultural tendencies- being judged by people for a certain body type in some cultures is a common norm. Many men who come into body-building are due to the main reason of being judged by their peers.
  • Advertising companies stress men looking a certain way.
  • Wrongly perceived public health campaigns that urge people to lose weight.
  • Peer pressure on sportsmen to achieve certain goals or else they will let down their teammates or cheering crowds.

How to Improve Your Body Image?

Changing a lifelong perception may seem like a hard thing to do. It may require some time and effort from an individual’s end from time to time. However, the following are some suggestions to make when it comes to improving your body image.

  • Reflect on your childhood experiences and identify if there are any underlying traumas. Once you identify any such issue, try to work through it. Consult with a specialist if you have to, there are institutes and hospitals such as irfan general hospital that specialize in working with athletes in solving their traumas. 
  • Focus on the health of your body, rather than how your body looks. Replace your steroids or any such supplements with healthier vitamins and foods.
  • Surround yourself with people who are also struggling with body image issues but are trying to make healthy choices. This can help you a lot in your journey.
  • Exercise in a healthy moderate way. Build valid reasons for exercising, such as more strength, improved concentration and releasing stress.

Help Yourself and Others on this Journey

Once you recognize your pattern, working through can be a bit tough. However, at the end of your road, you will feel more positive and confident about your body. By doing this, you will not only yourself but also your peers around you. If you feel you need extra help, don’t feel pressured to seek professional help.