I do not know for certain if the United States is a country made of mirrors, but I sometimes suspect it might be. I also suspect that there is no person living in this country who can actually pass by one of these mirrors without taking in his or her reflection — especially the body image after weight loss. Sure, some of us are cautious about our bodies and sneak a peek from the corner of an eye. While others are blatant and linger on the image, digesting the familiar face and body that returns the assessment. Regardless, all formulate an opinion of body image.
The average woman in the United States is five feet four inches tall and weighs about 160 pounds. That’s a BMI of 27.5, which is on the high side of overweight.
Overweight Americans and Body Image
More than two-thirds of adults in the United States are either obese or overweight. The average woman in the United States is five feet four inches tall and weighs about 160 pounds. That’s a BMI of 27.5, which is on the high side of overweight (overweight = BMI of 25-29.9).
Whereas the desired American female has been described as tall, thin, and athletic, women who do not fit this image may be less than satisfied with their image. Women who are obese may very well find satisfaction even more elusive. Depression is common, and nearly half of people with depression are obese. Negative body image is one of the underlying reasons why weight loss surgery is increasing in popularity in America.
Research is currently underway to assess what effect weight loss surgery has on body image.
Body Image and Media
The media has baited the hook, and the public chases after a trophy that will probably never be had. It is similar to purchasing a winning ticket for the lottery: It is possible but not probable. As a matter of fact, the average five foot four inch tall American female will never be tall and slender. She cannot match the media sales image of “desirable.”
Males share the experience. Bare-chested young men sporting bulletproof abs recommend this or that deodorant while mid-aged men watch and calculate the number of sit-ups they will need to do to bulletproof their own stomachs.
A major global study concluded that current characterizations of beauty are restraining and normally beyond reach. A current contention is that this unrealistic presentation helps to promote social acceptance of discrimination against obese people.
Body Image after Weight Loss Surgery
The literature suggests that those who have had gastric bypass have Improved self-image. Less is known about the impact of this new self-view.
Spousal relationships often become stressed, and the divorce rate following bariatric surgery is high. It is also known that parent-child relationships can be pressured.
Patients who have had weight loss surgery can experience an emotional detachment from food. This alone can produce psychological strain that effects social interactions. The lifestyle changes the patient implements after obesity surgery can also have adverse affects on members of a household.
Reeducation About Body Image after Weight Loss
A professor associated with the pending study believes reeducating people about self-image is a critical component to accepting oneself. This will help lessen the extremes people employ as they try to grab a brass ring that is always beyond reach.
Eating disorders and severe exercise regiments driven by desperation are common in the United States.
Reeducation or early education about body image after weight loss can improve a bad self image or unrealistic expectations. If this were done, perhaps those attitudes that promote obesity could be alleviated. The extreme measures that people employ to fit a mold that is a poor match for them might be alleviated, as well.
In good health,
Content is the opinion of the author and does not constitute or is a replacement for medical advice.