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Published on February 21, 2020

3 Ways to Build a Positive Body Image

3 Ways to Build a Positive Body Image

Body image is the way you see, think and feel about your appearance. You have a positive body image when you accept your body as it truly is, and building a positive body image is important for your health. Body image doesn’t impact self-confidence alone – it also affects your physical, emotional and mental health.

Where does our body image come from? Messages about ideal beauty exist everywhere in our culture. TV, clothing ads, the internet, social media – the list could go on. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 69% of elementary school aged girls who read magazines say that the magazines’ images influence their “concept of the ideal body shape.” Today, when easy photo editing is just a few screen-taps away, unrealistic images of beauty are constantly at our fingertips.

Young women are at highest risk for issues with body image, but they are not the only ones affected. NEDA states that our culture idealizes a lean, muscular build for men, and reports that about a third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight-loss methods to try and achieve that figure. Young, old, male or female – negative body image can impact anyone.

Having a negative body image puts you at higher risk for multiple health issues. While there isn’t one single cause of eating disorders, body dissatisfaction is one of the most common risk factors. Additionally, the self-criticism that often goes along with a body dissatisfaction may lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Our culture is full of unrealistic ideas about beauty, which makes it difficult to feel confident in your appearance. Even though body image is complex and there isn’t one way to prevent negative thoughts and feelings, there are things everyone can do to boost their confidence in their appearance. Here are 3 easy ways you can build a positive body image:

  1. Appreciate your body. It’s amazing how it works to keep you strong and healthy!
  2. Think critically about social media. It’s easy for anyone to edit a photo, and not every post you see is realistic.
  3. Counter negative thoughts by remembering things you like about yourself, like your talents, hopes and accomplishments.

How do you see yourself? If negative body image is affecting your well-being or you are experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder, anxiety or depression, reach out to your health care provider for help.

About the Author

Jane Tilley, MA, LPC, LCAS, CCTPJane Tilley, MA, LPC, LCAS, CCTP, is an integrated behavioral health specialist with Reidsville Pediatrics.