Many of us feel unhappy about their body. It’s not like we’re all clinically unhealthy when it comes to our bodies. In surveys of gay men showing high levels of body fat dissatisfaction, the typical participant’s weight was within a healthy range. That’s not to say everyone was the same — there was wide variation from super-skinny to overweight — but on average we are more concerned than we need to be.
Whatever the cause it’s clear that this isn’t a good frame of mind for us. Being unhappy with our bodies is linked to general feelings of unhappiness and mental health issues. It’s even linked to a greater chance of us having risky sex.
Fixing it is more difficult though. There is no magic sure that’s going to wipe out our body image issues but it’s good to see gay culture these days starting to show the reality of how diverse our bodies really are.
Try out some of our tips below to help.
7 ways to boost body confidence
- Re-assess your body ideal. Constantly comparing yourself to someone else is unrealistic. But if you must fixate, let it be based on more than physique. Healthy, attractive people come in a variety of shapes.
- Do exercise to feel healthy. Sometimes our low opinion of our body can come from a general feeling that we are unhealthy. Focus on exercise to improve your mood rather than your shape.
- Stop checking your weight. Weight can be an important factor in health but it can also be misleading. Step off the scales and focus on something else before it becomes an obsession.
- Get your kit off more often and notice your body. Find the things you like and focus on those. Accept the body you have and so will others.
- Surround yourself with body-positive friends. You can learn a lot from them but it will also help you avoid friends who might constantly critique you and damage your self-esteem. But it works both ways — don’t be critical of others’ appearance either as you’ll perpetuate unrealistic expectations.
- Combat your thoughts. Challenge yourself when you question your appearance. What are you gaining from hating that part of yourself? Equally, when you feel good about yourself, notice that and focus on it when negative thoughts creep back in.
- Take a look around you. Us gays come in all shapes and sizes and happiness isn’t linked to the way we look.