Body image is simply how you see yourself. It consists of your thoughts, feelings and beliefs you hold about your body. Body image is not defined by a person’s specific size, shape or weight. The way you see the form and shape of your body reflects the positive and negative experiences you’ve had with your bod, as well as your social attitudes and cultural ideals.
How you feel about your body, including your height, shape, and weight, as well as how you feel in your body, not just about your body, greatly affects your self-confidence. And with images of “ideal” yet unrealistic standards of beauty bombarding us daily, it is quite easy to develop a body image disorder these days.
Negative vs. Positive Body Image
|Negative Body Image||Positive Body Image|
|You perceive parts of your body unlike they really are.||
You see the various parts of your body as they really are.
|You feel that only other people are attractive and that your body size or shape is a symbol of personal failure.||
You appreciate your natural body shape and understand that a person’s physical appearance doesn’t say much about their character and value as a person.
|You feel ashamed and self-conscious about your body.||
You feel proud and accepting of your body and don’t spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight, and calories
|You are uncomfortable and awkward in your body.||
You are comfortable and confident in your body.
Body Image and Eating Disorders
People with negative body image tend to develop an eating disorder and are more likely to suffer from depression, isolation, low self-esteem, and obsession with weight loss.
Of course we all may have our days when we feel uncomfortable in our bodies, but you need to learn how to snap out of it and develop a positive body image. Learn to recognize and respect your natural shape and try your best to overpower negative thoughts and feelings with positive and accepting ones.
Preventing Body Image Disorders
Here are some things you can do to avoid body image disorder:
- Examine at your own beliefs. Reflect on your own feelings about food and weight, being fat and being thin. Do you feel good or bad about the way you look? Strive to be a role model for positive attitude towards food, weight, and body image.
- Develop a healthy relationship with food. Eat well-balanced non-restrictive meals when you’re hungry. Eat foods that you enjoy but learn how to stop when you are full. You can eat all sorts of foods without guilt as long as you know how to eat in moderation.
- Demonstrate a positive self-image. Show that you accept your natural body size. Think about the comments you’d give yourself about your own body. But always try to see your positive attributes when you look at and think of yourself.
- Stay active. Participate in sports for fun and personal development rather than weight control or winning.
- Affirm yourself and the people around you. Demonstrate that you believe the value of a person really comes from within. Take any opportunity to compliment attitudes, actions, and effort, rather than appearance.
- Be aware of the resources and professionals available. If ever you’d need support dealing with body image issues, find out who you can turn to in your community. There is always someone ready to assess, help and guide you.