What is body image?
WHAT IS BODY IMAGE?
Body image is what we think and how we feel about our bodies. It also includes how we perceive our bodies on their own and in relation to others (example-comparing with others). Body image develops at a young age and is shaped by many influences: society, culture, family, friends/peers, life experiences, genetics, gender identity, and more.
What is negative body image?
WHAT IS NEGATIVE BODY IMAGE?
Negative body image occurs when we think our body is not good enough, feel embarrassed by it, dislike it for various reasons (e.g., size, shape, weight, height, amount of fat), over or underestimate its size, or believe that it is faulty in some way. When negative body image occurs, it can lead to excessive focus on it (preoccupation), comparison with others, isolation from others, change in what we do, and even result in unhealthy behaviors (e.g., dieting, overexercise, use of substances, and more). Negative body image can be a risk factor for an eating disorder.
What is positive body image?
WHAT IS POSITIVE BODY IMAGE?
Positive body image occurs when we have favorable opinions of our bodies (regardless of actual appearance), accept it as it is, focus on how it functions (versus what it looks like) respect it by tending to its needs, and protect it from unrealistic media images. It also includes surrounding ourselves with others who feel good about their bodies.
Why is it important to discuss body image?
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO DISCUSS BODY IMAGE?
By age 6…
Girls express concerns about their own weight or shape (Smolak, 2011) Boys desire a muscular and leaner body (McLean, Wertheim, & Paxton, 2018)
By elementary school…
40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming “too fat” (Smolak, 2011)
By high school…
Over ½ of teenage girls and nearly ⅓ of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors (Neumark- Sztainer, 2005)
People who experience negative body image are more likely to suffer from feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem, and eating disorders (NEDA.org)
Is it possible to move from negative to positive body image?
IS IT POSSIBLE TO MOVE FROM NEGATIVE TO POSITIVE BODY IMAGE?
Yes it is!!! With time, effort, and consistent practice, you can transition from negative to positive body image. The process involves approaching uncomfortable emotions and thoughts along with behavioral changes, all topics that are addressed in body image treatment.
Positive Body Image: A
Clinical and Self-Improvement Guide (2021)
National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) information on body image
Mirror Mirror Eating Disorder Information