Mirrors can be the worst enemies of some people. Looking at a mirror, many might end up feeling sad. As we see pictures of the so called ‘perfect’ bodies on the Instagram, a lot of us might feel sad. This can drop our moods and confidence both. We might end up criticising ourselves. Despite of feeling physically healthy, it may distress us if our bodies are not skinny. ‘Why do I think I am fat?’ we may wonder. In this article we explore the perception of feeling fat about one’s body. We also highlight why some very healthy people can end up feeling fat and how it affects their mental health. In this article, we also explore some ways to feel positive about one’s body.
Why Do I Think I Am Fat?
We can think we are fat because of number of reasons. The very common reason is being overweight. However, there can be many other reasons for it. We can think that we are fat when we compare ourselves to others who are thin or lean. Additionally, societal standards and cultural norms also decide our definition of ‘fat’. Therefore we cannot pinpoint at one cause. Let us explore some common reasons why we may think that we are fat.
A body mass index of twenty five and above is termed as overweight. When we eat too much or have no control over our diet it can lead to becoming overweight. Additionally, being overweight or obese is a result of genetics. At times when we over eat or consume a lot of fluids, we can end up thinking that we are fat. This is because our stomach actually feels heavy and the body might not be at ease. This feeling can be temporary and may end once the food is digested.
Lack of Exercise
When you don’t exercise and do physical activity, you body might feel lazy. This might make you think that you are fat. Additionally, when you don’t work out, it is likely that the body can put up some extra pounds making you feel fat. People who exercise regularly and have to miss it for a while due to some reason can feel fat too. This is because their body is used to exercising daily and they wish to remain fit. Not working out is equivalent to gaining extra pounds for them. This is true to an extent because when people suddenly stop exercising, their body does not burn the calories that it burnt when a person was working out. This can lead to gaining a few extra pounds, thus making the person feel overweight.
When people are not comfortable in their bodies, it can make them think that they are overweight. People can get self conscious due to many reasons. They can have a distorted body image or may have past trauma that makes them feel bad about their body. It is also possible that people around you are skinny which makes you feel self-conscious. Sometimes, people use words or comments that are directed towards people who are overweight. For example, people might use hurtful comments if they see someone who is overweight. If you have overheard those comments it can make you feel self-conscious if you have put on some weight. Even during pregnancy, women may think that they are getting fat. This is because their body is actually changing and becoming fat is a part of the process. However, this can be distressful for many women.
Low self-esteem is a major reason for a negative body image. Often people think, ‘Something is wrong with mybody’, ‘Nobody will love me because of my body’. ‘I am fat hence not worthy of relationships’. In other case, low self esteem also leads to generation of negative automatic thoughts. These negative thoughts lead to a negative body image. Many people who have a healthy self-esteem are very confident in their body, no matter fat or thin. However, if a person has low self-esteem, they can feel miserable even if they are healthy.
Teenagers go through a lot of changes. This is the time of life when body is changing drastically. Teenagers attain sexual characteristics. Girls and boys both go through bodily changes. Weight gain is also a part of the process. In this case, many teenagers can become uncomfortable with their bodies and end up feeling fat.
Social media has the ability to boost or shrink a person’s confidence. The type of body it promotes is generally a ‘slim’ and ‘tall’ type. Therefore, girls and boys who follow social media end up feeling miserable about themselves. In some cases, even when a person has a healthy body weight, they end up feeling low because their body type is not like their favourite influencer’s body. Social media also puts pressure on young boys and girls to look lean. Teenagers especiay are highly vulnerable.
Having a negative body image can not only affect our mental health but it can limit the quality of life. If we constantly worry about our body weight, we may not be able to live our lives to the fullest. Moreover, it is also important to understand that a healthy body weight is what helps us fight diseases. Therefore we should not always listen to the influencers that we see on social media who propagate an unrealistic body image. Moreover, all of us a unique body type. Every body type has different dietary requirement. It is important to understand that there is no ‘ideal’ body weight. Here are some ways in which you can stop worrying about your body and live a healthy and happy life.
Dont Obsess Over Numbers
As mentioned earlier, don’t be obsessed with numbers. Dont keep checking the weighing scale again and again. It will only make you more anxious. There are so many factors that can show a heightened number on the scale. For example, bone weight can lead to a higher body weight. However one should not worry about it. Additionally, just being skinny does not equals to being healthy. Other factors such as stamina and strength count too. Therefore don’t worry a lot about those numbers on the scale.
It is important to love the body that you have. It is one thing to work on it in order to get in shape and it is a different thing to become self-critical. People who beat themselves up for being fat are actually doing themselves harm. When one accepts their body and love themselves, it becomes easier to work on it. Additionally, when you are critical of your bod weight, you feel pressured to lose weight. In that case, even if you just miss one day of weight loss training, you can get distressed and start having negative thoughts about yourself. A lot of celebrities and models are promoting body positivity. They are coming out with their struggles of a negative body image. Additionally, there is a movement around the world to celebrate one’s body. People have started to understand that a lot of our self-image is based on societal norms and negative benchmarks of an ‘ideal’ body.
Shift Your Focus
While it is very important to look after one’s health, it is not important to be overly concerned with the weight. Our bodies change and sometimes it is not possible to keep the weight constant. Do not get occupied by the thoughts of an ‘ideal’ body. Additionally, shift your focus from fat to fit. Focus on becoming fit but don’t make it the center of your life. There are other things to focus on such as career, relationships, and family.
As discussed earlier, there are many reasons one may think that they are fat. Physical and psychological factors both play a role in perceiving oneself as fat. The thought of being fat can affect the way you feel about yourself as a person. We have discussed that low self esteem and ow self confidence are causes of feeling fat. It can also be a consequence of feeling fat. In other words, if a person thinks that they are fat, it can lower their self-esteem. If you are struggling with problems of low sel-esteem, help is available. At Epsychonline, the course name Low Self-esteem helps people deal with low self worth. Additionally, there are many articles that deal with body image issues. Do check them out.