Body Image

Body image is how we see ourselves.

What is it?

It is our physical image and the thoughts and feelings that result from this image.  Part our body image is about what we believe our own appearance to be which can be positive or negative. This includes memories, assumptions and generalisations. It is about how we feel about our body. In addition, our height, shape and weight. Similarly, it can include how our body moves and how we feel in our body. In other words, it not only about our body’s appearance.

Our bodies are continuously changing as we grow and develop through adolescence, so it is important to realise that everybody is different. We come in many shapes and sizes. Try and not compare yourself to images perceived on social media.  These thoughts about our body image can be positive, negative or both and are influenced by many factors.

Negative Body Image

Negative body image is often a distorted perception of our body shape, meaning we see parts of our body unlike what they really are.  By comparing ourselves to others and unrealistic images, we tend feel that other people are more attractive. In addition, that our body size or shape is a sign of personal failure.  Feelings of shame, anxiety and self-consciousness are signs of negative body image; people can often feel uncomfortable and awkward in their own bodies.

Negative Body Talk

Negative body talk is when we say negative comments about ourselves and/or other people.  These comments could be about weight, height, dress style, hair, general appearance or anything to do with how we or someone else is looking.  These comments and self-criticism can have a negative impact on how we feel about our own body image and about how we compare ourselves to others.

Negative Body Image and Eating Disorders

Negative body image can sometimes be a risk factor in the development of an eating disorder. Eating disorders are mental illnesses and can be a way of coping with feelings or situations that are making us unhappy, angry, depressed, anxious or worried.  Eating disorders are complex and not all people with negative body image develop an eating disorder. If you would like any support please contact, Alder Hey Eating Disorder Service for Young People EDYS. 

Positive Body Image

Positive body image occurs when we can accept, appreciate and respect our body. You feeling comfortable and confident in your body and not spending an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight and calories.

How can we improve and maintaining our positive body image?

We all have days where we feel awkward and uncomfortable in our bodies, but the key to developing positive body image is:

  • Appreciate your own beauty.
  • Recognise that nobody is perfect.
  • Don’t rely on others for confidence boosts.
  • Take care of yourself.
  • Keep a balanced and healthy lifestyle
  • Try not to compare yourself to unrealistic images social media.
  • Try not to use negative body talk towards yourself and other people.
  • Compliment your friends and talk positively about your body.
  • Do activities that make you happy, the more you are enjoying yourself, the less likely you are to worry about your body image.