A healthy body image starts at a young age. With a positive body image, a girl or woman has a real perception of her size and shape, and feels comfortable with her body. She feels proud of her body! With a negative body image, a girl or woman has a distorted perception of her size and shape. She compares herself negatively to others, and feels awkward and anxious about her body. Negative body image can lead to low self esteem, depression, and serious health issues like eating disorders.
For mothers, the way they see themselves can impact the way their daughters think about their bodies. A mother who is overly concerned with her own weight and appearance may not realize that her daughter sees and picks up on this as a cue for the way she should behave. A mother who is obsessed with her daughter’s weight and appearance can put a lot of pressure on her child.
Too many girls see the ultra-thin media ideal as the only attractive female figure. Too many girls of average weight think of themselves as overweight! And don’t think boys are free from body image issues, either. Body changes during puberty can cause body image issues for both girls and boys.
Teach your children that being healthy is beautiful! A healthy lifestyle that includes balanced meals, regular exercise, and plenty of rest can do more for body image than any restrictive “miracle” diet and media-perfect figure.
As I went through high school and college, I was convinced that someone would love me if I only lost weight. As if my size was the only thing of value about me! Female role models told me that boys would like me if I wore more makeup. As if makeup is the magical fix-all. This isn’t something I would have ever confessed or discussed to anyone at the time. To be honest, it’s hard to confess it NOW. My body image now isn’t great, but it’s getting better.
Believe in the power of positive thinking!