Jim Chapman on... body image

26 September 2017

Before Jim started writing 147 Things, he asked his followers to rate their body satisfaction out of ten, and the average score was 5.3, which is pretty low.

Jim addresses the reasons why we're so unhappy with our bodies... and why we should think differently about them.

Loads of studies show that women and girls and, at a growing rate, men and boys, feel under significant pressure to look a certain way. This isn’t a new issue: there has been an ongoing conversation around the impact that the media has on our attitudes towards our bodies. The idea is that the constant bombardment of shiny, glamorous images of physical perfection we can never match up to causes a constant sense of unworthiness. And you can totally see why: a brand that wants people to aspire to purchase their product wants to sell the whole package – ‘Drink this beer and you’ll have a six pack and be happy and the sun will always be shining’.

What is new is the role that social media might now have to play. These issues are heightened online, where so much of what we see appears to be completely spontaneous and immediate. You don’t get that illusion with a magazine or advert because you know that the model had hair and make-up and great lighting and possibly even airbrushing.
 
We all do it on our social feeds to some extent – we retake a photo if we don’t like the angle. We put a filter on, we choose flattering lighting. I’m the first to admit that I do it. I have a lot of followers on my social platforms and whenever I post something, I open myself up to scrutiny and have set myself a standard to maintain; I don’t want to upload a photo if I don’t look as good as I could, so I will take it again from a different position or I’ll change the light in some way. The danger occurs when we, as viewers, forget this process and start comparing the way our lives feel to the way other people’s lives look. Trust me, if you could see behind the scenes on some of the shoots I’ve been on, you would know that they are nowhere near as glamourous as the end picture reveals, and believing they are is a shortcut to terrible self-esteem.

Granted, some humans are blessed with great genetics, they may eat well and work out hard and they may be stunning to behold, but still not as stunning as they would have you think based on what they choose to show you. If you’re under the impression that they’re all effortlessly sun-glazed gods or goddesses while you’re feeling particularly pudgy and pale, or that they’re eating quinoa salads while you’re gorging on peanut butter straight out of the jar, you’re wrong – they just don’t show anyone those photos.
 
There’s no easy solution and I’m certainly not qualified to fix it. But, for now, trust me when I say that even though you might not feel like it based on my Instagram feed, I get it. I know a lot of models and they get it. I bet Brad Pitt gets it too. I can guarantee you that your body is utterly and entirely wonderful, because how can it not be?

Your body is made up of 37 trillion cells, which in turn consist of 7 octillion atoms (7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000) and you produce 25 million new cells a second. Your heart pumps 100,000 times a day, sending blood around your 60,000 miles of blood vessels. You have bones as strong as granite and muscles capable of extraordinary feats of strength. Your nerves carry signals down them faster than a Formula One race car.

Billions of years of adjustments and tweaks have led to the evolution of the perfect vessel whose only purpose is to pass on genes and keep the fragile bit that is really you safe. I explain how rare you are in the video below, and the chances are that we don’t get a second shot at all of this, so the best reason to keep fit is to allow the unprecedented wonder that is you to live for as long and in as healthy and happy a state as possible.
 

*The above extract is taken from 147 Things

147 Things

147 Things

147 Things is Jim Chapman's very personal guide to this thing we call life. 

Ever wondered if first times are over-rated (hint: they are), whether you’ll ever find the one (hint: there are 7 billion of us) or pondered the sheer unlikelihood of the you who is you being in the world right now? If so, then YouTube superstar and fact-obsessed, over-sharer Jim Chapman is here to explain it all – whether it’s why your heart actually aches after a break-up, what’s happening when you get hangry, or why people are just so plain RUDE online.

Read extract  

 

You may also like