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Similarly, all boys see is a body ideal that for most men is impossible to achieve without illegal anabolic steroids.

The Media The media sets unrealistic standards for what body weight and appearance is considered “normal.” Girls are indoctrinated at a very young age that Barbie is how a woman is supposed to look (i.e. NOTE: If Barbie were life-size, she would stand 5’9” and weigh 110 lb.

Regardless of how closely your actual figure resembles your perception, your body image can affect your self-esteem, your eating and exercise behaviors, and your relationships with others. And, we are conditioned from a very young age to believe that self-worth is derived from these external characteristics.

For example, being thin and/or muscular is associated with being “hard-working, successful, popular, beautiful, strong, and self-disciplined.” On the other hand, being “fat” is associated with being “lazy, ignorant, hated, ugly, weak, and lacking will-power.” These stereotypes are prevalent in our society; and they are reinforced by the media, our family and friends, and even well-respected health professionals.

In fact, there are many large, “overweight” (but fit) men and women who eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and enjoy excellent health (as indicated by their optimal blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels).

And, there are many “healthy weight” men and women who don’t.

If GI Joe Extreme were life-size, he would have a 55-inch chest and a 27-inch bicep.

In other words, his bicep would be almost as big as his waist and bigger than most competitive body builders’.

And the media’s portrayal of what is “normal” keeps getting thinner and thinner for women and more muscular and ripped for men.