Societal Pressure / Sociocultural Influence

The media, peers, parents and past experiences are often hugely overbearing factors that contribute to many having a negative body image.

Society sets standards and promotes ideologies that you should look a certain way which has affected a multitude of demographics. This likely stems from the association with what a “healthy” body looks like and the sexualisation of just about everything.

As of the last decade or so, social media has exacerbated the issue as we are now constantly bombarded by posts that endorse these ideals, which leads to a disproportionate amount of time and attention directed towards image and social status. This sends messages about what we could, should, or would be if we only purchased certain products, made certain choices, or engaged in certain behaviours.

I wholeheartedly accept that the fitness industry is part of this problem, but believe if a business operates morally and ethically with zero judgement, there is nothing wrong with promoting your services to help people change the way they look. This is merely one element that can improve quality of life.

Nonetheless, understanding the influences these various factors can have on body image can help shed a light on what may be at the root of your negative body image.


Self-perception is vastly complex. But the key point is, body image is entirely subjective. What you believe about yourself will have a profound impact on your life.

Bottom line is, chronic dissatisfaction can lead to distortion. A negative body image can become part of your identity.

Put it this way. You could have what society has told you is the perfect body, but still hate what you see in the mirror.

Desire & Perceived Ability to Change

Do you actually want to change your body image? If not, that’s absolutely fine!

If you do want to change it, your ability to do so will be determined by your desire, self-efficacy (your belief in your capacity to achieve something) and willingness to reflect and carry out introspection (the examination of one’s own mental and emotional processes)

Sam Bacon – Pioneer Performance Coach

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