Women with a healthy body image tend to be in the minority. Studies show that a negative body image is quite common among women of all ages and sizes. How can you determine if you have a healthy body image?
Pay Attention to Your Self-Talk
One way to figure out the answer to this question is by paying close attention as you go about your day. When you first wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, what thoughts pass through your mind? Do you feel happy about your body? Or do you feel inadequate?
Experts recommend a variety of methods for creating a healthy body image. First, they suggest that you focus on health rather than a strict preoccupation with weight management. Choosing nourishing and healthy foods will help to lower your weight, for example, and give you the energy you need to go about your day.
Exercise for a Healthy Body Image
Additionally, exercise has been shown to boost body image. When you work out regularly, endorphins are released that elevate your mood. You benefit from greater muscle tone and strength and burn off more calories.
Exercise, however, needs to be performed in moderation. When it is done in excess with a strict focus on weight loss, it is generally correlated with a negative body image. Try to find fitness activities that you enjoy and look forward to doing on a daily basis.
Body Image and the Media
Pay close attention to the images that are prevalent in your life. Media images of overly thin celebrities may present a distorted picture of true health and beauty. Surround yourself with images of people who are truly healthy and well-balanced.
Body Image and Relationships
When it comes to body image, relationships are also worth exploring. Some body image issues arise in childhood and the adolescent years where teasing and bullying are at their highest. It is possible to carry some remnants of these experiences into adulthood and become sensitive to other people’s impressions of your appearance.
Experts recommend choosing positive and healthy interpersonal relationships. Constant exposure to criticism can be emotionally debilitating. Choose to surround yourself with positive people who inspire you and motivate you. Any relationship that is abusive can be damaging to your body image. Conversely, positive people who recognize your beauty and your uniqueness will help you to cultivate a healthy body image.
Be Kind to Yourself
If you find that you constantly have negative thoughts running through your mind about your body, try to consciously replace those thoughts with more positive ones. You may have no control over some aspects of your body. If there is a feature that you do not like, focus instead on one you do like.
Also look for opportunities to highlight your favorite features. If you have beautiful eyes, treat yourself to special eye make-up and eye shadow. If your hair is your favorite feature, buy some hair accessories. Take pride in your beauty and your unique characteristics.