Since adolescence is a period of stress and storm, a tiny remark about the body, when people are very conscious about it, could hit adolescents hard. Among adults, this might lead to reduction in work performance and might also affect one's relationship with friends, colleagues and partner

I don't have a yoga teacher, I but if I had one, s/he would have wisely advised me not to be carried away by the body images presented on social media.

But in Nepal, the first line people speak after greeting Namaste is a reminder that you have either put on weight or lost it. Gaining weight is considered not bad by a certain class of people and is regarded as a symbol of well-being and opulence.

Often, obese people are teased, made fun of because of their body size, given a tagline and time and again reminded how over-weight they are. It ends then and there for those making such remarks, but for those receiving the comments, the residue of such utterances remains, accumulates over a period of time, bothers one's peace of mind and interferes with the quality of life.

The intention behind such comments and behaviours is not harmful.

Those mindsets and intentions are inherited from generation to generation, and in one way or another, it has become a part of our culture to talk about one's increasing body weight, especially among women.

Such feedback is passed by both types of people.

The first are those who perceive they have an appropriate body image. The other are those who think they do not have an appropriate body image but are comparatively less over weight and do it to self-ensure that they are at least not too over weight.

At a 360-degree level, following the trend is the tendency in every branch of the planet. There's pressure to follow the trend to avoid the fear of missing out.

Highly applicable for those available on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok because they virtually see a lot of people globally following the trend.

Such a trend is to define yourself in terms of socalled appropriate body size. This becomes very easy and true for those falling within the category to remain in the trend zone.

For those who miss out, it could be a nightmare if not taken jokily.

The self-esteem and self-confidence progress with the amount of fitness and appropriate body size one perceives s/he has.

According to some studies done in the past, men and women who believe they have an appropriate body size have higher self-esteem. This is common more in women than in men not only in Nepal's context but also around the globe.

The darker side of this would be people who perceive they are missing out from the category of appropriate body size, who would repeatedly start lacking self-esteem and self-confidence during certain periods in life. Such a repeated encounter will not only affect one's self-confidence but also lead to a poor quality of life.

This is very common during adolescence and will continue throughout various stages but at different intensity. Since adolescence is a period of stress and storm, a tiny remark about the body, when people are very conscious about it, could hit adolescents hard. Among adults, this might lead to reduction in work performance and might also affect one's relationship with friends, colleagues and partner.

Being kind, sensitive and empathetic would help.

Place yourself in someone else's shoes before you make a judgement. Whether it's a comment during a family gathering or naming friends as per their body or posting a rude comment on social media, people should be thoughtful.

Men are mostly seen going to gyms whereas girls and women tend to engage in yoga.

Since long, females are mostly seen doing yoga in films, advertisements and, thus, people might have gendered yoga (mythically).

However, there are men in the yoga practising community, too. These days, many people do yoga and workout for the sake of social media validation. Posting a picture has been so important that people practise yoga and go to a gym only to post a picture on the social media.

Capturing a picture of one doing yoga or workout and posting it on social media have also contributed to motivating people to buy a yoga mat or get a gym membership. This has been a remarkable yet tricky way to motivate people to receive the health advantages of doing yoga.

Surely, there are advantages of having an appropriate body weight. They are mainly health advantages.

Apart from gaining confidence, the advantages of losing weight are: 1) more flexibility in body and capability to exercise and burn calories; 2) the risk of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes is lower among people with normal body weight than among those who are overweight.

Not to forget their mental health advantages. It improves the mood, keeps the brain young, increases concentration and focus, and reduces anxiety, stress and depression.

Recently, normalising the different body images has been an evolving culture, but it is far away from erasing the perception of people toward the socalled not appropriate body images.

People who have internalised this issue should bring this issue to attention and regularly talk about normalising it openly.

It could be a family discussion, a talk show event or classroom discussion in school. Such discussion will slowly change our perception toward viewing different body images and end the humiliation associated with a not-so appropriate body image. The end of such a culture will add a spectrum of colours in life.

Normalising different types of body images should be done by everyone and heard by everyone.

Everyone should show respect to all people irrespective of their body weight. It should run parallel with practising self-love and self-acceptance, which will help one feel more confident about oneself.

No one is ugly. There is no defined body standard.

All of us should try to love oneself first and be kind to others. Being different from each other is what makes each of us so special in our own way.

Nepali is a public health professional

A version of this article appears in the print on December 22, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.