What is Body Image?
Improving Your Body Image
Body image involves our perception, imagination, emotions, and physical sensations of and about our bodies. It s not static- but ever changing; sensitive to changes in mood, environment, and physical experience. It is not based on fact. It is psychological in nature, and much more influenced by self-esteem than by actual physical attractiveness as judged by others. It is not inborn, but learned. This learning occurs in the family and among peers, but these only reinforce what is learned and expected culturally.
In this culture, we women are starving ourselves, starving our children and loved ones, gorging ourselves, gorging our children and loved ones, alternating between starving and gorging, purging, obsessing, and all the while hating, pounding and wanting to remove that which makes us female: our bodies, our curves, our pear-shaped selves.
Developing a Healthy Body Image
Here are some guidelines (Adapted from BodyLove: Learning to Like Our Looks and Ourselves, Rita Freeman, Ph.D.) that can help you work toward a positive body image:
Think of it as the three A's
Attention: Refers to listening for and responding to internal cues (i.e., hunger, satiety, fatigue).
Appreciation: Refers to appreciating the pleasures your body can provide.
Acceptance: Refers to accepting what is -- instead of longing for what is not.
Healthy body weight is the size a person naturally returns to after a long period of both non-compulsive eating* and consistent exercise commensurate with the person' s physical health and condition. We must learn to advocate for ourselves and our children to aspire to a naturally determined size, even though that will often mean confronting misinformed family, friends, and media advertising again and again.
Courtesy of HealthyPlace.com