It’s no secret that in our society, there is a very different standard for women when it comes to body image and weight. But what about men? Do really care about their weight?
Contrary to popular belief, men do care about their weight. In fact, studies have shown that men are just as likely as women to be unhappy with their weight and body image in general.
Do Men Really Care About Their Weight?
Yes. Men care about their weight. A study published in the International Journal of Men’s Health found that 45% of men were dissatisfied with their overall appearance.
When it comes to body image, men are just as likely as women to have complex issues regarding their body and the way that they look.
Men will feel uncomfortable taking off their shirt in public, just as a woman might feel uncomfortable in a bathing suit at the pool.
Men also suffer insecurities regarding their muscle mass and overall brute strength.
Many men feel like they are not muscular enough.
According to a study by Cho and Lee (2013), it was found that men with high body dissatisfaction percentages engaged in longer more frequent attention toward muscular bodies that they feel to be ideal.
This attention and comparison to an “ideal” body leads to feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem.
It is clear that men, just like women, can be highly affected by their weight and body image.
Men are not immune to the societal pressures that dictate what an “ideal” body looks like.
Just as women are told they must be thin and have perfect skin, men are bombarded with images of perfectly sculpted physiques with nary a flaw in sight.
The media tells us that men must be tall, muscular, and have washboard abs to be considered attractive. Anything less is simply unacceptable.
This unrealistic standard leaves many men feeling inadequate and unhappy with their bodies.
It’s not only their weight that men can feel uncomfortable about. Men also can stress over things such as balding, beard growth, and height for example.
Why Do Men Hide Their Feelings About Their Weight?
Men hide their feelings regarding feeling uncomfortable with their weight due to societal standards and norms.
Many men live with the thought that they are supposed to be “tough” and “strong.”
They think they are not supposed to have any insecurities or vulnerabilities.
This is why many men will not talk about their feelings regarding their weight or body image concerns that they may have. They are afraid of being seen as weak.
Many men suffer from the same issues and insecurities regarding their weight and body image that women do, but they will not discuss them because they are afraid they will be made fun of.
Stigma Toward Men and Body Image
So, why is there such a stigma around men caring about their weight and body image?
Society has ingrained into men’s brains over time that they are to not show their feelings or make them known. Caring about their weight or the way their body looks it thought to be of a feminine and weak quality.
This invincibility that is often attributed to men is nothing more than an unrealistic expectation.
Men are human beings, just like women. They have feelings and insecurities, just like women.
Body Image Insecurity amongst LGBTQ+
According to a study, LGBTQ+ men report higher levels of body dissatisfaction and negative body image than heterosexual men.
This is likely due to the fact that they are constantly bombarded with images of the “ideal” male body type in the media, which is typically tall and muscular.
This ideal body type does not reflect the reality for most LGBTQ+ men, which can lead to feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.
In addition, LGBTQ+ men have body image issues because they are often judged more harshly than heterosexual men when it comes to their physical appearance.
They are often judged more harshly by others if they do not fit the ideal body type that is often portrayed in the media.
This can lead to a lot of anxiety, stress, and depression regarding their body image and weight.
Just because society has placed a higher importance on women’s body image over the years, does not mean that men do not suffer from similar issues.
The next time you encounter a man who might hint he is unhappy with his weight or appearance.. no matter his background, instead of judging him, try to understand where he is coming from and maybe even try to help.
He may be suffering in silence due to the stigma surrounding men and body image.
As a Man, How Can I Overcome Body Insecurity?
If you are insecure about your body weight or body image in general as a man, the first step is to acknowledge your insecurities.
This may be a difficult thing to do, but it is an important step in the right direction.
The next step is to talk about your insecurities with someone you trust. This could be a friend, family member, therapist, or even a doctor.
It is important to have someone to talk to who will understand and support you through all of the concerns you have regarding your body.
After you have talked about your insecurities and acknowledged them, the next step is to start making changes in your life that will help you feel better about yourself.
To feel better about your weight as a man and your overall body image, you can start to include the following 6 changes:
1. Eat healthier
Eat whole foods that are nutritious and will give your body the energy it needs to function properly.
2. Exercise more
Exercising more can help to improve cardiovascular health and also release endorphins.
3. Strength train
Strength training will help you to build muscle and improve your overall body composition.
4. Find motivation
Seek to find sources of motivation that will help you to stay on track with your health and fitness goals.
5. Weigh yourself less often
You can choose to weigh yourself less often. Do not focus on the number on the scale, but instead focus on how you feel.
6. Practice self acceptance
Practice self acceptance by accepting your body for how it is. Do not ever compare yourself to others.
Everyone is different and that is what makes us all special and unique. This may have been said over and over by many, but it really is the truth. Embrace what you see as flaws.
You can make all of the first 5 changes, but if you don’t learn to accept yourself for who you are, you are going to struggle to feel comfortable in your own skin.
In addition to the above ideas, you can also choose to find an outlet of healing your insecurity through clothing.
This means finding clothing items that will make you feel confident and good about yourself and the way your body is built. As men, our bodies are also different and we are not all built cookie cutter.
For some men, this may mean wearing fitted clothing that accentuates their features in a positive way.
For others, it may mean wearing slightly baggier clothing that they are comfortable in.
Finding the right type of clothing for you can be an important step in overcoming your body insecurity as a man.
Whatever clothing style you choose, just make sure it is comfortable. You can learn how to express yourself through your clothing choices.
If you are genuinely overweight and want to lose body fat in a healthy way, it can only be done by creating a calorie deficit that is healthy, realistic, and sustainable.
You must remember however, you need to be doing these things for the right reasons. Your worth is not defined by your appearance. You should be making these changes to be healthy or get stronger, not strictly out of vanity.
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Men do care about their weight and body image, just like women do.
But, there is no shame in caring about your weight or body image as a man. You are not weak or feminine for having these feelings. In fact, you are human.
Society needs to do a better job of normalizing these issues for men so that more men feel comfortable discussing them and seeking help if needed.
Do not be afraid to talk about your insecurities with someone you trust. This is an important step in overcoming them.
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