Recently I read an article about Candice Bergen and her love for carbs and fatty foods. I was taken aback by her comment, “I am fat”. I googled her image and checked her out at various angles and poses. Fat? No way. She looks beautiful and happy.
It is no secret that how we see ourselves in the mirror is how we treat our mind and body. Unfortunately, too often we set unrealistic and unattainable ideal body expectations. The impractical expectations are acquired from various sources such as the media, family, friends and even strangers. As a result, commonly the reflection in the mirror causes negative thoughts about our bodies because of conditioning that tells us that we have not met expectations that we have internalized from others. While doing a quick search on the internet regarding women and body image I found that there were hundreds of articles as to why women hate their bodies and several on their most hated body part(s). So, what is the ideal body?
The ideal body does not exist. As I searched for the ideal body I found several articles with comments about models who the readers felt were too thin and appeared to be starved or sick. I found comments about an actress that readers pointed out that she had put on a “few extra pounds” and should be banned from the television show. It was clear that fame did not exclude women from meeting others impossible body expectations. I began asking women to relate to me their ideal body image. The answers were interesting. A few had much to say about other women who were too thin and felt their bodies were unappealing. More interesting was the same group of women quickly pointed out larger framed women who also failed to meet their standards. What I did learn from reading and talking was that women can be immensely judgmental not only regarding their body but firmly point out the perceived flaws of other women. I wondered if we gain some kind of satisfaction from pointing out the flaws of others, as if to remind them that they are not perfect. And through reminding other women that they are not perfect or meet expectations we somehow feel better about our own perceived imperfections.
Perhaps we can’t all take on Ms. Bergen’s lifestyle about food and weight gain but we can adapt to her message of not caring what others, or as she refers to as the “haters” think or say. Let us put an end to the time consuming efforts to reach a perfect outer body while our inner selves are struggling. Instead we must embrace good health and passion for being alive!
A Fine Romance by Candice Bergen available at: http://www.amazon.com