Healthy body image

Everyone’s body shape is different.

People can weigh exactly the same but have a completely different body shape. Your genes determine your body shape: your height, muscle and bone structure – and it can’t be changed.

Your body image (the way you feel about how you look) may not be a reflection of what you actually look like. You may think you are thinner or fatter than you actually are, or that parts of your body are not the shape, size or colour you would like, and this can make you feel unhappy or dissatisfied. 

Lots of things can affect our body image and the way we see ourselves. Some people use social media to make mean comments about other people’s appearance and that can be damaging to their body image. If this happens to you, upgrade your privacy settings or logout. Others may use mobile phones to text comments or send humiliating photos. Deleting these texts or changing your number can help you to ignore negative messages.

Magazines often show photos of people who have a body shape that is unrealistic for a lot of people. Photos of celebrities in magazines often involve hours of hair and make-up styling by professionals and they are usually digitally altered to make them look ‘better’, for example, by smoothing out lines, removing blemishes, or changing body shape. 

Having a healthy body image is important because it can affect your self-esteem, self acceptance and your attitude towards food and exercise. Here are some ways to help improve your body image.

  • Look in the mirror and focus on the things you like about yourself and the way you look, or write down the things you like about yourself.
  • Don’t say bad things about yourself. You can change the way you think about yourself by saying something nice.
  • Make your goals focused on being healthier rather than ‘fixing’ things you don’t like.
  • Do something that makes you feel good, like chat to a friend, put on your favourite music, get a new haircut, or go for a brisk walk.
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others; everyone has a different body shape.
  • Be nice to others about their body shape, too. What you say can damage someone else’s body image and self-esteem. Giving someone a compliment will help boost their body image and make you feel good, too!
  • Put away the scales. Weighing yourself every day can put too much focus on the amount you weigh rather than how healthy you are or how good you feel.
  • Eat regular healthy meals. Getting the right balance of nutrients can help with improving your health and mood.
  • Exercise or participate in group sports. It will keep you fit and healthy and is a great way to de-stress.
  • When you read magazines, watch movies or look at advertising, remind yourself that the models and celebrities have been digitally enhanced, or airbrushed.
  • Don’t worry about the size of your clothes. Different labels have different sizes that vary by up to about 5 cm. Always try clothes on before you buy them to see how they fit.

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Disclaimer

The Women’s does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. The Women’s provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.

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