A recent study in PLoS ONE shows that the more we see a range of body sizes, the more accepting we become of different-sized bodies. So if you saw too much footage of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show last week, you may need to detox.
In the study, showing women thin bodies made them like thin more, and showing them fat bodies (examples at left) made them like fat more -- it was that simple. Lynda Boothroyd, a psychology researcher at Durham University in England who led the study, calls the process a "visual diet." And if you change what you're seeing, you'll change what you prefer. (This holds true for switching from Cheetos to carrots too -- really!)
Of course this study makes us wish even harder that we'd see more varied bodies on TV, in magazines, in the movies and in advertising. Imagine, being comfortable with women's figures that aren't just thin and waify (or sometimes that thin and buxom combo). We could look for health, vivacity and joy in the bodies we see, instead of waist measurements. What a concept!
PS-If you want to find a spot where body love is all around, check out I Feel Delicious, a great place to find inspiration and encouragement to love what you've got. (Here's the non-Facebook version.)