Change Your Body Image, Not Your Body

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you like the image that looks back?

Many people feel pressure to measure up to a certain social and cultural ideal of beauty, which can lead to feeling bad about the way their own body looks.

TV, movies, and magazines constantly show images of models and actresses that are, at best, difficult to achieve and maintain -- and at worst, unhealthy and even unattainable. Even people in your life can affect how you feel about your body image. Family and friends can affect your feelings with comments -- both positive and negative. And a doctor's health advice can be misinterpreted, affecting your sense of body image.

Celebrate and Nourish Your Body

We all want to look our best. But remember -- healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.

Developing and nurturing a positive body image is crucial to your happiness and wellbeing.

People with a positive body image see themselves as they really are. They have a true perception of their size and shape and feel comfortable and proud about their body.

Someone with a negative body image don't appreciate their body. They may not see themselves the way they really are, compares their body to others, and feels shame, awkwardness, and anxiety about their body. That can lead to emotional distress, low self-esteem, dieting, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.

Changing your body image doesn't have to mean changing your body. You can have a better body image starting right now by changing the way you think about your body.

Start on the inside. For instance, can you stop saying you "hate" certain parts of your body and start appreciating what your body does for you every day, from your lungs breathing, your heart beating, your brain guiding you through the day's challenges, and your hands making a meal or holding someone else's hand?

Being active, eating healthy food, and getting plenty of rest will also help.

Eating healthy can promote healthy skin and hair along with strong bones. Exercise has been shown to boost self-esteem, self-image, and energy. Getting enough rest is key to stress management. All of these can make you feel good about your body.

If you have kids, they will pick up on your attitude about your body. Read how to positively influence your child's body image.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on July 26, 2021



Mayo Clinic: "Healthy body image: Tips for guiding girls."

TeensHealth: "Body Image and Self-Esteem." "promoting positive body image." "Body Image."

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