About Body Image

About Body Image

Embracing EveryBody

Body Image Is...

  • How you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind.
  • What you believe about your own appearance (including memories, assumptions, and generalizations).
  • How you feel about your body, including your height, shape and weight.
  • How you sense and control your body as you move. How you feel in your body not just about your body.
  • How you perceive your body, often distorted and not based on reality.

What is Negative Body Image?

  • A distorted perception of your shape– you perceive parts of your body not like they really are.
  • A belief that only other people are attractive and that your body size or shape is a sign of personal failure.
  • Feeling self-conscious about your body along with shame and anxiety,
  • Feeling uncomfortable and awkward in your body.
  • A reality for women who may view their bodies as ornamental and for men who struggle with seeing their bodies as physically capable.

What are the Consequences of Having a Negative Body Image?

With a negative body image, a person has a distorted perception of his or shape and size, compares his or body to others, and feels shame and anxiety about his or her body.  Being unhappy with your body can affect how you think and feel about yourself as a person.  A poor body image can lead to emotional distress, low self esteem, unhealthy dieting habits, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders/concerns.

What is Positive Body Image?

With a positive or healthy body image, a person has a real perception of his or her shape and size.  A person feels comfortable with his or her body.


Tips for Feeling Good About Your Body

  • Appreciate all that your body can do (walk, dance, run)
  • Take care of you body, listen to it – eat when hungry
  • Keep a top-10 list of things you like about yourself unrelated to your appearance
  • Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin deep
  • Look at yourself as a whole person (friend, musician, student, athlete)
  • Surround yourself with people who are body positive
  • Don’t “Fat Talk” about yourself or to your friends
  • Wear clothes that are comfortable and fit your body
  • Become a critical viewer of social and media messages
  • Do something nice for yourself everyday (take a nap, catch up with a friend)
  • Decide how you wish to spend your energy- pursuing the “perfect body image” or enjoying your life and the people in it. Refocus time and energy to do something to help others (volunteer to help those less fortunate)
  • Write positive body affirmations
  • Engage in mind/body activities (yoga, dancing)

Recognize that bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. There is no one "right" body size. Your body is not, and should not, be exactly like anyone else's. Try to see your body as a facet of your uniqueness and individuality.


Additional Resources and Interactive Tools

Resources at UNH


Counseling and Groups