Kerry's story: I constantly battle with my body image
I feel that I constantly battle with my body image especially when my mood is low and I get really frustrated at how I look, frequently compare myself to others and wish I looked more like them.
I have always battled with the way I look
I have always battled with the way I look and my weight, since I was young. I think particularly when I was a teenager as it was difficult seeing others going out all glam and being able to wear anything, I had very little confidence in the way I looked and at times found this quite hard.
Pregnancy and my body image
I also struggled when I was pregnant with my children and had quite a strict regime regarding eating so that I wouldn’t put on too much weight and then be unable to lose it again.
Eating disorder, anxiety and depression
Then, when I turned 30, this seemed to trigger a lot of mixed emotions and this would have been where I really struggled with the way I looked, my weight and how I felt about myself and as a result, I was diagnosed with an eating disorder. I become very depressed and anxious about the way I look on a regular basis and this can be very frustrating, not only for me but for my family too.
Factors affecting how I feel about my body image
In terms of factors that affect how I feel about my body image, it’s always had a lot to do with how others looked and how I felt about myself. Also, social media was a big thing for me as I was always comparing how I looked to others and wished that I had the confidence that they had and looked the way they did.
I think that there is a lot of pressure from TV, social media etc and this has an effect on lots of people but I think that children are now exposed to this from a young age as they have so much more access to television, social media and internet and as a result they have this instilled in them from very young.
Ways to reduce the pressure around body image
I think as individuals, and as a society, we could try and reduce this pressure by having less focus on how others look. I think companies should be mindful of the image that they advertise because I feel that this adds more pressure to look like the models that they use to advertise their brands.
I also feel quite strongly that there should be less of a focus and talk around commenting on weight, diets and body image in front of young children as I know personally, that my youngest daughter takes all that information on board and compares herself to others, especially TV characters from kids’ TV shows.
I think that by addressing the situation and trying to reduce the pressure around body image that we may be able to avoid further mental health issues and possibly prevent some mental health issues in the younger generation.
Practical tips to improve how you think and feel about your body
- At home, parents and carers should lead by example, by modelling positive behaviour around body image, eating healthily and staying active.