What is a Healthy Body Image?

by Catherine Rein
(last updated April 22, 2009)

A negative body image is related to feeling uncomfortable and awkward in your body. You might feel ashamed, self-conscious or anxious about the way your body looks. If you have a negative body image you are more likely to develop an eating disorder and/or suffer from feelings of depression, low self-esteem and be overly concerned with weight loss.

You can work to overpower these feelings and relearn how to be comfortable in your own body. A health body image is about feeling proud and accepting of your unique body. If you can build a positive body image you learn to celebrate your physical appearance no matter what its flaws and don't look for approval from others. Consider the following as you work to build a healthy body image:

  • Forget Weight and Focus on Health. You should remember that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Building a healthy body image is about being comfortable in your own body and using your body in all the glorious ways that nature intended. By staying away from the scale and enjoying food because of its healthy taste and the way it strengthens your body you can begin to view your body in a different and healthy way.
  • Strengthen Your Mental Health. As with so many physical attributes, healthy body image starts with good mental health and high self-esteem. People with positive, optimistic outlooks are able to withstand social pressures to follow fad diets or become unnaturally thin. You can build a healthy body image by focusing on your self-worth and by starting with the attributes you love about yourself.
  • Stay Active. A strong, healthy body is naturally beautiful. You should aim for at least 30 minutes every day of brisk physical activity, including walking, riding a bike or playing with the kids. Children should aim for at least 60 minutes every day of physical activity. Encourage them to walk or bike to school and join them, if possible. Physical activity brings associated feelings of well-being and a healthy mental mindset.

It is important to be good role model for your children. When they see their parents eating healthy foods and enjoying fun physical activity, it will help them develop a positive body image for themselves. Model a healthy body image and healthy mindset about weight for your children. These are keys to avoiding eating disorders in the future. Teach your children to stay away from the scale and enjoy healthy food and physical activity.

Author Bio

Catherine Rein

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