Try a different approach to your health goals for 2018. We’ve got five tips to help you be body positive.
What is body image? Body image is an integral part of our self-concept and encompasses how we perceive, think about, and act toward our body. Body image is not made up of absolutes; body image lies on a continuum, from healthy body perceptions that are accurate and mostly positive, to unhealthy body perceptions that are inaccurate and mostly negative. Body image is dynamic and changes over the course of a lifetime. While body dissatisfaction appears to increase over adolescence, the greatest increase appears to be between early young adulthood and young adulthood. Body dissatisfaction is a risk factor for depression and poor self-esteem; it is also a predictor for tobacco and substance use as well as eating disorders and frequent dieting. (Bucchianeri et al., 2013; “Dieting in Adolescence,” 2004).
Body image is strongly influenced by internal factors, however external factors such as cultural messages and societal standards of attractiveness also influence body image (Voelker et al., 2015). With social media being so image-centered (think Instagram and Snapchat), it is important to have discussions with young adults, both male and female, about how to be body positive.
Positive family connections and adult role models and positive involvement in school are protective against unhealthy dieting (“Dieting in Adolescence,” 2004). In addition, improving self-compassion and encouraging mindfulness may be associated with improved body image (Braun et al., 2016).
Here are five things to help you be body positive.
- Be positive about yourself. It is easy to notice things that we do not like about ourselves. However, it is important to be a positive role model to young adults. Tell yourself you love yourself.
- Positive affirmations/vibes. Following the first thing, tell yourself and those around you positive things. It is amazing how a simple “I love your smile” can brighten someone’s day.
- No judgement zone. Find the best in other people instead of focusing on appearance. It will also make a difference in your thoughts about yourself.
- Learn to take a compliment. Thank you does not need to be a full sentence. No need to say “Thank you, but…”
- Set goals that have nothing to do with your appearance.
This article was written by Jaqueline Neid-Avila, Utah State University Extension nutrition faculty for Davis County. Comments or questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 801-451-3404.