Shocking Body-Image News: 99% of Women Hate on their Body (at least once per day)

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

I Hate My Body Moments Copy Blog 700X675 1 | Shocking Body-Image News: 99% Of Women Hate On Their Body (At Least Once Per Day)

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How do you feel about your body?

Glamour magazine asked women that question in a survey in 1984, and again in 2009 and 2014, finding: the way women feel about their body 30 years later is actually worse. In 2014, 54% of women, ages 18-40, reported being unhappy with how they look—up 13% from the initial survey back in the 80’s. Despite the “feminist” movement and traction women have steadily gained over the years, in all other areas (from sports, to military service, the job force and politics), body confidence has ironically declined.

What gives?!

Thrive wanted to get to the bottom of this…So I did…

Why do we hate on our bodies so much?

What is driving these beliefs?

After all, there has even been a movement over the past decade to “love our bodies more” (think: Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, Aries’ photo-shopless models, and Kim Kardashian’s emphasis on a big booty—not a small pancake).

You ARE a smart girl:

  • You know the magazine covers of Cosmo and Glamour ARE airbrushed.
  • You see a glimpse of a runway fashion model and recognize unhealthy thinness.
  • You don’t lose sleep over NOT looking like Jennifer Anniston or Giselle.

BUT STILL…100% body-confidence and acceptance is not there.

Heck, can you think of a time in your teen or adult life when it was?

When you were actually happy and content with how you looked? (And I am not talking pictures here—looking back at old photos from highschool prom or freshmen year in college and thinking “if only I looked like her again”—because, chances are, you were NOT 100% satisfied even then).

Unfortunately, while many of us feel this way. It’s an unspoken language.

(Kind of like when you were in middle school and everyone was insecure about their braces, frizzy hair, and training bras).

Thrive undertook its own body-image survey, anonymously interviewing about 50 women, ages 18-40, who gave the diet on the thoughts in their head and unspoken insecurities surrounding their Current State of Body Image.

If you have “trouble spots” or parts of your appearance you don’t like, you are NOT alone. Here are the results…(Drum roll)….

Body Image Survey

#1: Most of us started hating on our bodies between the ages 9-12.
Nearly 40% of respondent said thoughts about their appearance and worth began in their pre-teen years. This makes total sense since these years coincide with good ol’ puberty. Boobs grow, hair grows, awareness of the world around us grows—oy vey, lots of change! Couple this with the cliques dominated by the “pretty (mean)” girls and attraction (or not) from the opposite sex, and our appearance is front and center. I know this was the case for myself: At age 9, all I wanted was to have a little gymnastics’ body like my peers; look like Mary Kate & Ashley in my Limited Too get-up; gain the attention of my crush Eric Arthur; and look like my celebrity idols—since I wanted to be the “next” Julia Roberts. My body, with all the growing pains of puberty, was anything BUT my ideal—and I recognized this very early on.


#2: You have 3-6 “I hate my body” moments most days.
Glamour’s 2009 survey found most women have at least ONE “I hate my body” moment everyday—up to 12 or 13 “I hate my body” moments. On average, thoughts such as, “I should lose some weight,” “Eww”, or “If only…” enter our minds sporadically throughout the day—reminding us, we are NOT “good enough” (by our own standards).


#3: Breaking a sweat is your favorite way to feel good about your appearance (and more than 50% of respondents workout specifically to lose weight or fat and burn off calories).
Move it or lose it sister. Getting into the gym, hitting the trail or doing something that lights you up (physically) is a great way to feel more confident in your own skin. HOWEVER (there is always a disclaimer here), sometimes we end up USING (or abusing) exercise to feel better in our own skin because we “have to” (or else)! Part of this response included “checking off your workout box” for the day—meaning, you felt like you HAD to workout in order to get that boost of confidence about yourself. In other words: dependence on exercise. Working out is great-but here is where the heart check comes in: Are you moving your body because you enjoy what you are doing? Doing things that make you come alive (inside)? Or are you dragging your butt to the gym because you “have to” (or else)?

In addition to this stat, 60% of you all believe that if you eat a little more than you like or “should”, you instantly think you have to burn it off through exercise. Exercise is your ticket to feeling in control or at peace with your body. What type of relationship with exercise do you want? There is NOTHING WRONG with working out to feel good—but when we depend on it to determine our own sense of peace with ourselves, our bodies or ‘earning’ our right to eat food, then we may want to re-evaluate the place exercise has in (and over) our lives. A positive finding? Your top exercise modes of choice were: “outdoor things”, walking and weight training—all beautiful compliments to a primal body and functional fitness: Seek to vary it up throughout the week, build a functional base with strength, use your body to move and groove (walk) throughout your days, and get some Vitamin D while you’re at it. Working out was closely followed by “eating healthy” and “getting compliments” to feel better about our bodies.


#4: 50% of folks think about food “all the time.”
What’s for dinner? How many calories did I eat today? Soup or salad for lunch? Tomorrow for breakfast, I will allow myself to have half a banana. If I eat THAT, then I can’t eat THAT. I am going on a trip in 2-weeks, I wonder what I will eat on the day I travel on the plane? I want to eat that—but I will need to run for 2 hours to make it up.


#5: You are NOT alone if you find yourself thinking about food—a lot.
Ironically, increased thoughts about food are actually spurred on by dieting and making ourselves follow rules. Check out this post to find out more on this phenomenon from the semi-starvation study—a study conducted amongst 36 ‘normal’ healthy individuals, who were summoned to 6-months of dieting. At the end of 6-months, the participants were more obsessed and consumed with thoughts about food—even when they were allowed to eat normally again. If you’ve ever dieted in your life or had “food rules” at one time or another, then you may be a victim of “food obsession.”


#6: Social media isn’t doing us any favors. 70% of respondents admitted they compare themselves to others when they see pics of other girls, food, fashion or fitness bloggers on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Snap Chat.
In addition, 60% of folks said these images also make them feel like they need to “do more” or “be better.” These findings are nothing new within the world of social media research—as more and more findings begin to point at the negative (dark) side of social media. Rather than comparing ourselves to the fashion models in magazines, runways, or celebrities in movies, we are comparing ourselves more and more to EACH OTHER. Instagram and Facebook have become the “Us Weekly” of modern day. Here’s a fun Thrive project for you: Consider fasting from your social media for a FULL DAY…A week…or even just some typical hours you would usually check it (like first thing upon waking). I went as far to delete facebook off my phone, and challenge myself to, instead of checking social media within 5-minutes of waking, whip out my favorite devotional (“Jesus Calling”) instead. Find what works for you.


#7: The top “trouble spots” are our stomach and thighs.
Shocker right? A flatter stomach and thighs without cellulite are the “dangling carrots” of women kind. Ugh. #NeverSatisfied. What to do about it? Sure there are plenty of “love your body” affirmations—but how do you genuinely ACCEPT the skin you are in—jiggle and pooches included? It’s a head scratcher I’ve tried to wrap my own head around for a long time. What I’ve found to overcome these trouble spots? Re-focus. By shifting my own focus to:

(1.) Fueling my own body well with a balance of foods for health’s sake (not appearance or physique focused);

(2.) Working out for the pure joy of sweat and smiling (not a chore or mandate);

(3.) Finding and pursuing my passions (the things I love to do and that make me ‘tick’); and,

(4.) Living out my purpose (outside of the mirror, kitchen and gym)…

My “trouble spots” seemed to take less and less of a central focus.


#8: Your “inner mean girl” is ferocious. The top thoughts in your heads include:

  • “Stop being such a fat ass.”
  • “Don’t eat that or you will just get fatter.”
  • “Ugh. Why did you eat that?!”
  • “Your stomach is fat.”
  • “You would look better if you were 10 lbs. thinner.”
  • “My stomach is so pudgy.”
  • “You’re fat and ugly and not worthy of love or friends.”
  • “People really respect me and think I have it ‘all together.’ Why do people think these things about me?”
  • “I’m worthless and not deserving of anything good. I shouldn’t eat.”
  • “I need to lose weight.”
  • “You’re in a wedding ________ weeks – I need to be doing push ups every day.”
  • “I feel bloated! I look tired. This outfit feels too tight from eating bad.”
  • “I’m weak, undisciplined. I’m disgusting, shameful.”
  • “The skinnier I am, the better people will think I’m doing in life.”
  • “I’m bloated but will look better in a few days.”
  • “My legs are large and have cellulite.”
  • “My boobs are too small; I need a boob job.”


Pretty harsh stuff.

What does your inner mean girl say to you on the daily?

Reading those words’ from others may make you think twice about believing everything you hear.

Thrive’s survey may be nothing ground breaking—but it confirms this inner-battle many of us are still in (on the daily).

Thinking about your IDEAL, picture-perfect relationship with yourself and your body, what is it that you WANT?

You CAN have it.

So as we think, therefore we become.


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For that reason, I created the
Bikini Mindset Program

—a 30-day program that will walk you through a fun step-by-step process to genuinely learning how to improve your body confidence, get fit (mentally and physically), stop fighting food so much, and love the skin you are in.

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Over the course of 30 days, you will get:

  • 30 Days of Bikini Body & Mind Workouts
  • 30 Daily Mission E-mails
  • 30 Thrive Projects
  • 30 Day Nutrition Blueprint for supporting your best body and mind now
  • Exclusive Invite to join the Bikini Body Facebook Community
  • Access to Dr. Lauryn for questions and support
  • Did I mention fun?

Sign up here and find out more about the program changing “the way things are” when it comes to “attaining the ideal.”

(P.S. For today only, use the code “letsdothis” to get $5 off the $30 program!).

Get the body you want with a mindset that’s TWICE as stunning. I’ll show you how.


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