In today’s image-conscious world, it’s encouraging to see that people are becoming more aware of their health and making conscious efforts to lead a healthy life by nourishing their bodies with the right foods, engaging in regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, and maintaining mental health.

While taking care of yourself is essential, there is a thin line between caring for your body and torturing it to fit societal standards. To fit in, people sometimes engage in unhealthy practices to lose weight. Extreme dieting, excessive exercise, and other harmful practices can lead to malnutrition, weakened immune systems, eating disorders, and long-term psychological issues. Society’s unrealistic standards often prioritize appearance over health, leading many to pursue dangerous methods to achieve a certain look.

Building a positive body image involves shifting your focus from appearance to well-being. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and beauty is diverse. To understand the difference, educate yourself on the dangers of extreme dieting and over-exercising. Recognize that health is a holistic concept encompassing physical, mental, and emotional well-being. If you struggle with body image issues, consider seeking help from a professional who can guide you toward healthier habits and a more positive self-perception.

Embracing this diversity and rejecting narrow definitions of attractiveness is key to fostering a healthier relationship with your body. Ultimately, taking care of your body means honoring and respecting it. It means choosing health over societal approval and understanding that true beauty lies in being your authentic, healthy self. By focusing on genuine self-care and rejecting harmful societal standards, you can achieve a balanced, fulfilling, and healthy life.

Written by Drishti Jalan, psychologist at I’m Powered – Center for counselling and wellbeing