Yes, it is possible to have positive body image. There are several tools below that can help. Much of this blog comes from a wonderful website on positive psychology.
According to the National Eating Disorders Collaboration the definition of body image is ““…the perception that a person has of their physical self and the thoughts and feelings that result from that perception.”
As you can see, it’s a multidimensional construct. It involves how we think, feel, and look. Having a positive body image is about being OK with your body as it is. You recognize that it isn’t perfect, but are fine with it, and don’t obsess about it.
One reason positive body image is so important as it provides resilience against eating disorders. Another reason is that it improves your self-esteem and how you feel about yourself. When you feel good you are more self-confident. As you begin to further accept the way you look, you will realize that the images in the media are not reality. They won’t impact how you feel about yourself. And finally, when you feel good about your body, you are able to lead a more balanced lifestyle with food and exercise.
Instead of berating your body, why not focus on the positive aspects. How about looking in the mirror and daily saying things such as:
I am perfect just the way I am.
I love myself as I continue to be healthy.
The way I look doesn’t affect my self-worth.
I deserve love just the way I am.
Nobody focuses on my body like I do.
Click here for a list of 101 positive body affirmations.
For each day of the week, count how many times you hear someone mention their weight or talk about body image.
If someone is talking about weight or dieting when you are there, either change the topic or leave the conversation.
Let others know about the one-week challenge and see if they would like to do it too.
When the week is over, count the number of times you heard someone talk poorly about his or her body. Also tally up the number of times you talked about your negative body image (if at all).
After 1 week of doing this, ask yourself if you feel better about yourself after avoiding these types of conversations.
Make a list of the top 10 things you like about yourself
You will realize that these have nothing to do with the way you look or what you weigh. Most people like you for who you are, not what you look like.
Books for positive body image
Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and Quiet that Critical Voice!) by Connie Sobczak and Elizabeth Scott
Mothers, Daughters, and Body Image: Learning to Love Ourselves as We Are by Hillary L. McBride
Positive Body Image for Kids: A Strengths-Based Curriculum for Children Aged 7-11 by Ruth Macconville
The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor
Body Kindness: Transform Your Health from the Inside Out- and Never Say Diet Again by Rebecca Scritchfield
Helpful YouTube Videos
These are great videos to get people talking and understanding about body image on how to look at it more positively.
The video below from Bustle discusses important questions to consider about people’s bodies.
In the TED presentation below Ira Querra talks about self-esteem and positive body image.
Below Lillian Bustle talks about the way media portrays women and how it affects the way they think and feel about themselves. She talks about how to maintain your self-esteem in light of these messages.
Hopefully you have found some new things to try. If you struggle with body image concerns or eating disorders, please give me a call at 713-304-6554.