Body Dissatisfaction: Do You Have It? Novel Interruptions to the Pattern
Posted on 02 March 2015
There’s something terribly wrong with this statistic: 80% of women are unhappy with their body. I believe female body dissatisfaction is at epidemic levels, and it’s a top driver of food addiction and its sidekicks: eating disorders, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, chronic stress, hormone misfires, accelerated aging, and obesity. Body image is how you perceive yourself, and how you assume others perceive you. On the surface, it’s all of those thoughts about your height, weight, shape, and movement. On a deeper level, it’s about how you feel in your body. Are you like an alien who longs for another vessel, or a woman who is fully embodied and at home with her unique biology? The problem is that so many of us have “I hate my body” moments. I hate my arms. I hate my belly. I hate my thighs. Body dissatisfaction never ends, and not surprisingly, it’s worse when your body mass index is higher.  In fact, 98% of women who are overweight complain about their body, compared with 65% of normal weight women.  (My reading of that statistic is that both are insanely high, and something must be done!) While the more rigorous scientific studies show that it’s more like half of women are dissatisfied with their body,  the problem continues to haunt women and hold us back from greatness. How can we save the world when we’re obsessed with thigh gap?
How can we stop mentally shredding ourselves and our body image? The answer lies in mental retraining.
- In 1975, top models and beauty queens weighed only 8% less than the average woman. Now, they weigh 23% less.
- Eighty percent of 10-year-old girls have dieted. 
- One in three normal dieters will become “pathological” about their weight loss. Another one in four will be diagnosed with a partial or complete eating disorder.
- Traditionally, Black and Asian women have had a more positive body image than Caucasian women. However, this may be changing. Studies in Japan have found that more than 40% of elementary school girls (beginning at age 6) thought they were too fat.
- You’d think that older women would be wiser and more accepting, but 12% percent of over the age of 50 reported being satisfied with their body size. 
- Acknowledge your efforts and see your contributions – I like to call these your daily wins!
- Find your voice: the one that is deeply resonant (and not your inner critic)
- If you feel a lack of meaning, consider a new career or take on a new volunteer role (see below for a few ideas)
- Find tribe: blog or attend a workshop or a retreat where you can connect with like-minded individuals on a similar mission
- Yoga interrupts your habitual patterns by valuing humility and shrinking the ego
- Yoga focuses on presence, awareness, cessation of thoughts and obsessions, and detachment from the material
- Yoga strengthens your body and increases your flexibility