TV Reality Shows Destroy Women’s Body Image and Confidence

As I was heading into the uptown F train this morning, I grabbed one of those free papers that are being handed out... If you know me, you know this is RARE. But there was a cover story that caught my eye. Today's Metro NY paper has a story on how reality TV (which, by the way, is not real at all) erode women's confidence and body image. The first thing I thought to myself was: 'Is this news?" Is this like the 'reports' that come out saying children who play video games have poor communication and social skills? Isn’t this stuff obvious? Do people really not know this? Now I can understand the recent news exposing the hidden amphetamines in fat burners and diet drinks – that’s shocking news for many people. But reality TV? Come on. Does anyone think that these shows are actually real? The recent USC study that prompted this story brought up some interesting facts. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery:

  • The number of 18-year-olds who underwent breast-implant surgery nearly tripled from 2002 to 2003.
  • There has been a 444% increase in plastic surgery since 1997.
  • Over 90% of all plastic surgery is performed on women.
  • Americans spent approximately $12.4 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2006.
The findings suggested that women felt a surgically enhanced body was more attractive to men, …but do you know what men think about it??? To find out what men really think and simple steps to avoiding low self esteem, drugs or surgery….

Professor Julie Albright of the University of Southern California who interviewed college students for this study says at the very least, these shows act as an advertisement for the plastic surgery industry. At the most these shows impose unrealistic beauty standards that make people question their own bodies while giving them an instruction manual on how to change their appearance

I can’t agree with her more.

Now I have a much more affordable way to change your appearance so you look and feel AWESOME
And it’s GUARANTEED to enhance your self esteem that no amount of plastic surgery will ever be able to do

And it works every single time

Did you see my latest posts on my blog about how NY women stay thin?

All of those women are healthy, vital, energetic and lean
They don’t diet… they don’t take fat burners…they don’t use drugs and they don’t do anything extreme
They don’t watch reality TV shows and don’t get plastic surgery to enhance their self esteem
There is nothing plastic about any of them – this is New York

…and healthy, fit NYC women are the real deal

If you want to know how to lose weight, reduce body fat, get a flat belly and toned arms, lean athletic body and have an abundance of energy — simply focus on the basics and turn your focus away from the media

The media is always trying to sell you something that will NEVER come

There is no ‘next best thing’ that’s going to come out and save your ass from a crappy diet
The media is always trying to string you along with some new gadget, novelty or ‘next best thing’
It’s a lie

If you STOP doing the things that make you fat in the first place, you wont need surgery

If you love yourself for who you are – with all your good and bad qualities, you will become the one you’d
love and wont have a need for surgery

Here are my top tips for enhancing self esteem, uncovering your true self and crafting a killer body without diets, drugs or surgery…

1) First, throw your weekly tabloid magazines in the fireplace where they belong – this includes US Weekly, People, Globe, Star, National Enquirer, Life and Style Weekly, In Touch, OK and MOST women’s fitness magazines and reality TV shows

You know, the ones that are at the check out at your grocery store, drug store or gas station

And no, I am not being overly harsh or judgmental…these magazines, much like ‘reality’ TV shows set up unrealistic expectations and promote an anorexic standard of ‘beauty’

They highlight celebrities’ drug and alcohol addictions, diet failures and occasional diet success

If you want to be healthy, lean and fabulous, you can’t focus on failure, struggle and addiction
You have to focus on success, health, vitality and living an awesome life

2) Find blogs and books that will inspire, educate and empower you with the right information
They have stories from successful people that have real world tips to teach you how to do the same

I am creating a ‘my favorite blogs’ column and will have it up later this week so you can check out some blogs that I read regularly

Also, when you hear about a celebrity’s diet success, you can easily fall into the trap that ‘what she did is what I should do.’
This leads to unrealistic expectations and frustration because you are way too unique to follow someone else plan

To be successful, you have to discover what works best for YOU
You are unique and what works for someone else may be a total disaster for you and may do nothing for a third person

Follow my blog and I will make the process easy for you….

Get clear on what you watch and how you spend your time on TV

The only shows I watch are educational, inspirational, music and sports
I love Discovery channel, great films, and biographies
I do watch Man vs Wild once in awhile and boy do I love that show! That show is exciting and is not designed to teach me how to suppress my self esteem issues or offer a false sense of security by covering up an irresponsible diet and lifestyle

No, I don’t watch the news or reality TV shows

Reality shows are scripted
They promote an anorexic standard of beauty and a plastic facade of ‘perfection’ which doesn’t exist anywhere – EXCEPT ON TV

The study which was recently published in Configurations Journal from Johns Hopkins University Press, confirms what I have observed for 15 years — the more women watch these shows the more they feel anxiety about their bodies.

4) Find out what inspires you the most and radically reduce your time on the TV

When you do watch TV, make sure you watch something that leaves you feeling GOOD
Watching shows that regularly show children being raped, family betrayal, fighting, stealing and murder may be very popular, but is not conducive for health, wealth, happiness or a lean, vibrant body.

You know what shows I’m talking about: CSI, NYPD Blue, Law and Order, and the thirteen other shows that are exactly the same just with a different titles

It’s not healthy to watch other humans being suffer or get killed
These shows and the news produce an adrenaline & cortisol (stress hormone) response
Cortisol makes you fat and tired
Especially at night time when you should be winding down and getting ready for sleep

What shows can you watch that inspire you and encourage your personal, professional or spiritual growth?

I can tell you that all of my male friends feel the same way about women…and the women I know feelthe same way about men

Reality TV shows and magazines are lying to you about these simple truths….

Women who love themselves – regardless of how they look – are much more attractive than women who stress about their appearance and go on and off diets and get surgery to cover up a low self esteem issue

Men who are confident, not cocky…are much more attractive to women – regardless of how they look

Men and women who exercise, make intelligent choices about what they eat and take responsibility about their health and overall lives, love what they do and do what they love – LOOK and FEEL awesome, regardless of what their current weight or body fat percentage is…

That is WAY more attractive to the opposite sex, despite what any media induced, false standard of beauty or any wack ‘reality’ show will ever be able to convince me of…

5) If you want to enhance your self esteem, simply love yourself NOW for who you are.
And you will become the one you’d love a lot sooner…

So what do men think about women who get plastic surgery in this study?

According to the findings of this study, women felt a surgically enhanced body was more attractive to men, though men in the study disagreed.

If you want a lean beautiful body…stop doing the things that create a fat, sluggish body

And no, you don’t have to be skinny to be healthy or beautiful

Just be yourself first and foremost

Then eat right, exercise a little bit, get to bed on time and don’t watch a lot of TV the fat naturally comes off

Its a simple formula that works every single time

I have some great posts coming up from my friends, clients and colleagues (male and female) who will offer their best tips on how to live a healthy and inspired life without drugs, diets or surgery

Oh, and if you feel I dissed one your magazines or favorite TV shows, good.
That means there is some truth to what I said…

Do you have something to say about self esteem or plastic surgery or reality TV?

Do you have a favorite blog you want me to check out and consider for my ‘favorites’….

Please comment below…

To see more about this study, check out Science Daily



15 Comments on TV Reality Shows Destroy Women’s Body Image and Confidence

  1. Thanks for this post! I really love the positive message it sends out.

    I’ve realized that i’ll never be a size 2. Even at my “healthy” weight, i was a size 7-8. I am now doing what makes me feel good. I still wear makeup but i wear it for myself. And if i am too busy to throw some on, oh well. If my thighs look big in this or that, no big deal. This is me now. While i am not where i want to be, i am working on it. And not just with my weight but my education and eventual career. It all takes time, commitment and patience.
    I am working on loving my body because the reason i am overweight isn’t because my body failed me, it is my body doing what it is supposed to – to tell me to get healthy. I love my body for that.

    One show i love, What Not to Wear, i think is a great show because they have women of all shapes and sizes and they show them how to dress for their bodies and the women always come out feeling good about the shapes even with their flaws.

    Thanks Antonio

  2. Antonea


    thanks for sharing

    I dont know that show but its sounds pretty cool based on what you said

    your attitude & personal experience would do a lot more for this world than the crap that gets pumped out on TV

    thanks again

  3. First, thank you for your wonderful blog. I always look forward to the happy and positive things you’re going to say when I get an e-mail letting me know there’s a new post.
    Now, an interesting story…But first let me preface it by saying I am a 35-year-old from rural west Tennessee, and I am by no means a beautiful woman.
    For the last 2 years, I have been on my journey seeking health and vitality in all its forms. Part of this has included finding a way to return to a healthy weight (again) but also, and most importantly, a way to STAY there, comfortably, for the rest of my life. In the past, periods of stress have seen my weight skyrocket as much as 20 or more pounds in as little as 2 months. In January of ’08, I was 173 unaltered pounds, no surgery anywhere, no dyed hair, very au naturale. I headed from TN to Orange County, California for a photography class. I am still not certain they were ready for me. Though I am not loud, everywhere I went people looked at me as though I had three heads. As I looked around in restaurants and shops, parks, and sidewalks, everyone was tan, slim, blond, and perky. It was like being in a cookie-cutter world, and as people stared at me, I felt like my cookie cutter was BUSTED. Not until my last day there did I realize that at least some of those people were staring for good reasons.
    As I was preparing to leave for the plane, I went into a local restaurant to grab a bite. Admittedly, I wasn’t feeling too “Orange County” in my jeans, t-shirt, and make-up free face, but there were only 2 people in the store. The gentleman behind counter and one gentleman he was taking care of who was facing away from me. As I walked in, the customer turned and looked at me at which point I smiled and said,”Hi, how are you?” Read a Southern accent here, because mine is fairly strong. He smiled back, said, “Good” and went about his business. After I had ordered and was paying, the fellow behind the counter said,”You really impressed that man.”
    “I beg your pardon?” I said.
    “You really impressed that man. He told me, ‘Now, THAT, is a beautiful woman!’ You impressed him,” he replied.
    I was stunned. Suddenly I realized that not all of the stares all week had been negatively motivated. People there simply were unaccustomed to seeing a 34-year-old woman who wasn’t surgically altered then dyed, poofed, and primped. I’ve thought a lot about that since then, and I thought you might find it interesting.
    Thanks, again, for your wonderful blog.

  4. It is sometimes amazing how the energy you cast out brings you things and people with the same type of energy. In the middle of last year, I came to the realization that I had to do things for myself, that I needed to take care of myself for my sake, that I needed to enjoy what I do, even if it is exercise, and that I should take care of my body for the health and not for the “weight loss”. I also stopped watching tv, because I noticed that I did not sleep as well,even though my favorite show is CSI. I do watch some reality TV, mainly project runway and top chef. And I do watch Biggest Looser, because I can relate with their struggles, but I do know that people in this show are not always shedding weight, they are playing the game, which is why some of them gain the weight back.
    As far as your favorite blogs, I hope you visit mine and like what you see. I am not necessarily going for the weight loss or the diet, I am more interested in the mindset that women need to have a good life, and love themselves first. Hopefully, some day you might even share your insights with us, and give some beginners some pointers.
    Keep up the good work. And keep in mind, when the student is ready the teacher will appear….I found you when I was ready to understand the concepts that you are teaching, which is the point of the story I started this message with.
    Keep up the good work.


  5. I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for your blog, it really is a breath of fresh air. I have been looking at fitness and nutrition blogs for a while and get tired of feeling like everyone is trying to push something on you (I understand that people need to make money and am not looking for a free ride). I love that you write about wide range of topics and your blogs are so easy to read.
    Thanks again

  6. Amen Antonio! Women seem to be most vulnerable due to the unrealistic expectations of TV. I wish women would realize that they are in fact, exceptionally beautiful and that men really don’t want cookie cutter women. Sure, we all have our preferences, but few will end up with their definition of perfection.

    The media as a whole is largely at fault for women’s self-esteem issues. In fact, self-esteem issues tend to be more related to other women than to men. Just be real and we’ll love you.

    Cheers buddy
    Scott Kustes
    Modern Forager

  7. I just recently found your blog, but am enjoying it immensely. Another blog I enjoy reading you might check out is – totally real and about accepting yourself as you are.

  8. Wow, Antonio. Awesome post! You hit the nail on the head with regard to what is really important–good health, good food and the good sense not to get consumed by what we see in the media.

    As a woman well north of forty (much closer to fifty, actually!),it’s hard not to get caught up in the race that some people seem to have entered in an effort to remain eternally youthful. Your reader’s comments stating that they agree with you on what truly is important in life are really refreshing. I especially loved the story your reader Jen B. told.

    I recently started a fitness blog for women and aspire to provide uplifting, relevant content to my readers as you do to yours! You’re a great blog to emulate!

    Now, I’m off to my Twitter account to that I can tell all of my followers that they should read your post!

    Yours in health,

    Becky Williamson

  9. Hey, Antonio…definitely appreciate your time on this blog post. Some great stuff here!

    Jeremy Nelms
    No Excuses Fat Loss!

  10. Thank you for really down-to-earth basic ideas and writing.
    I enjoy your stuff.

    Keep up the good work, Anna

  11. Excellent post and wise advice. As a mom, too, I’m always thinking about how my body image example — the way I treat and talk about myself — affects my daughter. Think about the positive effect we could all have on the next generation of girls!

  12. Thank you everyone for your comments!!! I love it.

    This has been a passion of mine since so many of my female clients and past girlfriends initially have self esteem issues

    The media exploits this

    It takes some work to rebuild a strong sense of self and I have found that crappy magazines and TV shows instill these problems

    I have some great tips on living an inspired life coming up tomorrow

    thanks again for your comments

  13. Great post Antonio! I can’t stand reality tv, it’s such garbage. I wish I could get my step-daughter to stop watching it. I always tell her what she sees is a great example of what NOT to do!

  14. Images of unrealistic body types portrayed in the media certainly factor into women’s body image issues. The statistics such as “the number of 18-year-olds who underwent breast-implant surgery nearly tripled from 2002 to 2003” in your post are frightening but an unfortunate reality for many. Darryl Roberts created a film exploring American women’s obsession with beauty. Darryl interviewed 200 women and found that only 2 felt they were beautiful. He hopes to encourage women to love themselves for who they are. We were able to interview Darryl on our eating disorder blog. To read what he has to say visit:

  15. First I have to say, this is a excellent website you have here. I chanced upon your web site while doing a search on google. Fantastic site post, I will almost certainly bookmark it for future reading.Thanks once more for taking the time to put this up. I definitely loved every part of it. I have been fighting with my eating problems for a long time now, I’m always on the lookout for helpful information.

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