Why is positive body image important?
- Self esteem, which dictates how a person feels about themselves and can infiltrate every aspect of life, and contribute to happiness and wellbeing.
- Self-acceptance, making a person more likely to feel comfortable and happy with the way they look and less likely to feel impacted by unrealistic images in the media and societal pressures to look a certain way.
- Healthy outlook and behaviours, as it is easier to lead a balanced lifestyle with healthier attitudes and practices relating to food and exercise when you are in tune with, and respond to the needs of your body.
Snapshot: 7 Tips for Improving Your Body Image.
What causes body dissatisfaction?
- Age – body image is frequently shaped during late childhood and adolescence but body dissatisfaction can affect people of all ages and is as prevalent in midlife as young adulthood in women
- Gender - adolescent girls are more prone to body dissatisfaction than adolescent boys; however the rate of body dissatisfaction in males is rapidly approaching that of females
- Low self-esteem and/or depression
- Personality traits - people with perfectionist tendencies, high achievers, ‘black and white’ thinkers, those who internalise beauty ideals, and those who often compare themselves to others, are at higher risk of developing body dissatisfaction
- Teasing - people who are teased about appearance/weight, regardless of actual body type, have an increased risk of developing body dissatisfaction
- Friends and family who diet and express body image concerns - role models expressing body image concerns and modelling weight loss behaviours, can increase the likelihood of an individual developing body dissatisfaction regardless of actual body type
- Body size - In our weight conscious society, larger body size increases risk of body dissatisfaction
How can you improve your body image?
- Focusing on your positive qualities, skills and talents can help you accept and appreciate your whole self
- Say positive things to yourself every day
- Avoid negative or berating self-talk
- Focusing on appreciating and respecting what your body can do will help you to feel more positively about it
- Setting positive, health focused goals rather than weight loss related ones is more beneficial for your overall wellbeing
- Admiring others’ beauty can improve your own body confidence but it is important to appreciate your own beauty, avoid comparing yourself to others, accept yourself as a whole and remember that everyone is unique and differences are what make us special
- Remember, many media images are unrealistic and represent a minority of the population