What is body image? Your body image is made up of several components: your perceptions of your body and its appearance, how you feel about your body, and lastly, how you feel in your body.
Each one of has a body image of ourselves. Some people have a positive body image, in which their perceptions of their height, weight, and shape are accurate. Others have a negative body image, in which their perceptions are shifted. People with negative body images do not see themselves accurately, and do not accept themselves for who they are.
Your body image affects your self-esteem, your habits, your mental health, and your happiness. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to maintain a positive body image.
Don’t Mind the Media
The media tells us what our bodies should look like, how we should perceive our bodies, and displays society’s idea of “the perfect body.” The truth? This “perfect body” doesn’t exist. The models portrayed in magazine ads don’t look like the people in the photographs. The media tries to convince us that these images, which have been photoshopped and edited, are real and attainable by buying a product or service. My advice? Don’t buy into that.
Do you ever catch yourself making negative comments about your appearance when you look in the mirror? Would you ever say those comments to someone else? Of course not! So why say those things about yourself? It is of utmost importance that you treat your body with kindness and respect. Fuel your body with fruit, vegetables, and protein. Exercise daily to keep a healthy heart and mind. Get enough sleep for your body to function properly. Being kind to your body is being kind to yourself, your self-esteem, and your body image.
Each of us has perceived perfections and imperfections of our bodies. This is normal. What’s not normal is accepting your body as whole – pro, cons, and everything inbetween. These minute details about our shape, size, height, and weight are what make us unique. I wouldn’t be myself it weren’t for my long legs, big feet, scarred finger, or thick hair that can’t decide if it’s curly or straight. Accept yourself for who you are, and you have made a giant step towards a positive body image.
Think of your body as a powerful machine that carries you throughout your busy day. Your strong legs take you from place to place, your sharp mind helps you learn new things, your stomach digests food, the fuel for your machine to run efficiently. You are lucky to be living, thriving, and moving in your amazing body! By writing down the things about your body that you are grateful for, you can become more aware of all the wonderful things your body can do.
For More Information:
Stop by Abbey’s House, WUC 106, on Wednesdays at 5:00 PM to attend SPEAK meetings. SPEAK (Students Promoting Equity, Activism, and Knowledge) is a WOU club that hosts free events for students, provides a listening ear, and offers counselor referrals. Weekly meetings are open to everyone and cover a broad range of topics, including body image and eating disorders.
Visit the Body Love Campaign website, a national campaign promoting body love for a positive body image.