How we perceive our bodies visually, how we feel about our physical appearance; how we think and talk to ourselves about our bodies, our sense of how other people view our bodies, and our level of connectedness to our bodies.
Did you know?
74.4% of normal weight women say that they think about their weight and appearance “all the time” or “frequently.” However, women aren’t alone; the same study also found that 46% of normal weight men surveyed responded the same way.
Factors that affect body image:
- Comments from family, friends, and others about our, their, or other’s bodies whether that be negative or positive.
- The frequency with which we compare ourselves to others.
- Exposure to images or idealized bodies versus normal bodies.
- Experience of physical activity,
- The experience of abuse whether that is sexual, physical, or emotional abuse.
- The experience of prejudice and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, ability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
What can you do to boost body image?
- Talk back to the media. Realize that all media and messages are constructs and not actual reflections of reality.
- De-emphasize numbers. Our weight and BMI does not tell us anything substantial about body composition and health. The way we eat, exercise, and take care of ourselves shows a better-rounded picture.
- Step off the scale. It can be hard to cultivate an attitude of acceptance when you get on a scale to ask if it is OK to feel good about yourself that day. Every day is a good day to feel good about yourself.
- Realize that your body is unique to you. You can’t get a sense of what your body needs when someone else’s body is the reference point. Research shows that frequent comparing can increase a negative body image.
- Move your body – not because you have to, but because it makes you feel strong, energized, and peaceful. Walking, climbing, hiking, swimming – there are lots of activities that can emphasize pleasure.
- Nurture your inner self. Self- esteem and body image are linked, so engaging and focusing in pastimes that make you feel good can help to make your fee more comfortable in your own skin.
- Think about the degree to which your self-esteem depends on your appearance. Building a foundation of happiness on appearance can lead to failure and frustration and could prevent you from exploring new ways you can truly enhance your life.