Appreciating the Functionality of the Body in Male Body Image

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope

One of the common misconceptions about body image is that males are somehow immune to poor self-esteem or free of negative body image. The reality is that males are also vulnerable to body image concerns, and countless males may struggle with poor body image. This can be a result of many factors, including biology, genetic predisposition, abuse, trauma, or bullying, emotional distress, environmental conditions and more.

For example, a young man who is biologically susceptible to an eating disorder and/or poor body image may be more influenced by images produced and circulated by the media. Boys and men who have experienced body shaming may also be more inclined to deal with poor body image or with low self-esteem in general.

Learning to Appreciate Function, Not Appearance

One aspect of healing from poor body image and low self-esteem is learning to appreciate and celebrate the functionality of one’s body rather than hyper-focusing on appearance. With such a strong societal emphasis on how we look, remembering what our body is capable of doing is often lost and underestimated.

While this differs from person to person, highlighting the functionality of a body can be helpful in alleviating unwarranted pressure on appearance.

How a Healthy Body Is More Important

What is your body capable of doing on a daily basis that you are grateful for? Are you able to enjoy athletics, travel, or enjoy a career? Are you able to spend time with family and friends, cook for yourself, and enjoy the outdoors? Remember than many of luxuries you enjoy in life are a result of a healthy, functioning body that enables you to do the things you want and love.

The functionality of you body is separate from your appearance. You are living and breathing not because of the clothes you wear, the shape of your nose, or the color of your eyes. Your body functions together as a whole to support your life.

Concentrating on What You Have

While it is easy to concentrate on what you can change about your appearance, challenge your thoughts to focus on the positive aspects of what your body is capable of doing. This can be an important steps towards forming positive body image.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

If you are a man who has recovered from an eating disorder, what helped encouraged body positivity and acceptance in your journey? How did you learn to focus on the many things your body is capable of doing versus appearance alone?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 2nd, 2015
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About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.