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Updated: May 12, 2022

Have you ever come across someone who is almost always struggling with food choices, or someone either binge-eating or refusing to eat at all, or those who avoid looking at their mirror image or refuse to get their pictures clicked?

I can assure you that most of them have been body-shamed at one point or another in their lives, which led them to live in a constant inferiority complex regarding their body image.

What is body shaming?

Body shaming, as per definition from Oxford Languages, is the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.

Body shaming, we believe, has far less to do with your height, weight, colour or shape than it has to do with people’s perception and mentality.

How can body-shaming affect someone?

Body shaming can affect someone not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. If a kid is body shamed for being overweight or underweight or brown-skinned, they form self-limiting beliefs, which, in turn, become their identity as a grown-up.

India is a place where you see people named mota (fat), patla (skinny), kala (dark-skinned), chhota (short), lamba (tall), etc. based on their physical traits. While people think it’s just a name, they fail to see how their physical traits became their identity over time.

Let’s take a look at how body shaming affects people:

1.It Can Trigger Insecurities

We, human beings, are full of insecurities and body shaming just adds to that. Body shaming can trigger a wide range of negative emotions in people like anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, embarrassment, resentment and can lead to people facing low self-worth, low self-esteem and a poor self-image.

2.Using Self-Shaming As Defence

Do you think people who make fun of themselves and their bodies are unaffected by body shaming? No.

Nobody likes to be shamed in any way, by anyone. At one point, when they are done being body shamed, they form a self-image of being flawed and start shaming themselves in order to make others laugh. This is nothing but their defence mechanism.

They use self-shaming to dodge being shamed by others. They mask their grief and anger with humour.

3.Social Anxiety

Body shaming can trigger social anxiety. People start avoiding other people and their company because of the inferiority complex that they struggle with due to being body shamed.

They start avoiding social gatherings because they feel like a misfit, someone who would be either stared at, made fun of or called out even by their own people.

4.Eating Disorder

Out of all the body-shaming practices, the most common of all is making fun of someone’s body weight. And in addition to mental and emotional troubles, it makes one’s life physically miserable.

Overweight people either give up eating altogether or switch between periods of binge eating and crash dieting.

Underweight people might end up on a really unhealthy diet while trying to gain some extra pounds.

There are different kinds of eating disorders and you may find more about them here.

Ways To Cope With Body Shaming

1.Be Unapologetically You

Know that people don’t and can’t define your worth. Your Creator, the greatest artist, created you and you can’t be anything less than perfect, no matter your colour, shape or size. Judgemental people are terrified of confident people. If you fill yourself with enough confidence to be you and believe in yourself, no one can question you, your body or your worth.

2.Food Is Your Fuel

It’s important to have a healthy relationship with food. Every time you put a piece of food in your mouth, look at it as a fuel for your body and nourishment for your being.

If you feel afraid of the food that you eat, it will cause negative effects inside your body because like fuel, food is also energy and it vibrates with your thoughts and feelings. So, eat and drink everything with a happy heart and positive mindset.

3.Love Yourself & Be Grateful

If you won’t love yourself, it’s an excuse for others to not love you either. You get what you give.

Give your body the love it deserves. Appreciate your body for what it does for you. Your limbs, your organs, your senses, your mind, your heart, your every cell work hard to keep you alive, and you curse them just because some people told you that you are not amazing enough?

A friend of mine, who has lost a considerable amount of weight, once shared a tweet on her story, it read: ‘Only after you lose weight, you know it’s not the answer.’ The worst you can do for your body is to take it for granted by letting people’s opinions get on your nerves.

You have got one life, one body and if you let people’s opinion take control of it, you will be a slave throughout your life.

Let’s decide to never body shame others from now onwards because our one remark can scar someone for life.

Written By - Shilpa Goel

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