I reached out to readers and asked them to share advice on how to encourage positive body image. As part of an ongoing discussing on body image, I compiled a list of 4 ways to improve and encourage positive body image.
Tips for Encouraging Positive Body Image
Realize that most images in the media are doctored or photoshopped. Think someone in a makeup ad or magazine article is flawless? Think again! The beauty industry is a $10 billion a year business that depends on women believing that perfectly modified images are real, and even more so, achievable ideals. The second you realize these images aren’t real, the quicker you can stop setting unrealistic expectations to live up to them.
“Whether you have a baby, gain some weight, get wrinkles, or gray hairs, it’s going to change. That’s why it’s important to remember to cut yourself some slack, don’t hold yourself to what the media standard of ‘beautiful’ is, and most importantly love yourself.” From Fierce by MJ
Stop the body snark. We’ve all been there before with a group of women who either speak badly about their own body or how others look. Start to notice when your friends are degrading themselves and point it out, because it may be a sign of a larger issue such as disordered eating or poor body image. Take yourself a step further and remove yourself from criticizing other women based on their appearance or personality.
“In middle school I heard a girl comment on how another girl looked ‘chunky; and that no one should be friends with her because of it. This comment, which wasn’t even directed towards me, changed the way I saw myself. The snarking I heard from my friends transformed into my eating disorder ‘voice’, which constantly reminded me of my imperfections and areas for improvement.” From Seventeen Magazine
Let real women inspire you. One of the things I love most about reading blogs is that I come in contact with everyday women who are just like me, and slowly over time, these women has become my new role models. When you turn to people you know whether it’s a sister or friend or blogger you follow, you’ll set yourself up for realistic goals and expectations. Yes, movie stars are fun to admire and there’s no reason you shouldn’t have big dreams for yourself, but it’s so empowering to turn to those around you for inspiration for your everyday life.
“A friend of mine used to tear pictures of models out of magazines and tape them to her wall. She said it gave her “inspiration” to work out. But how inspiring could it be, I wondered, to surround yourself with pictures of people you could never actually look like?” From Scarleteen, Recommended by Tashia
Reach out for help. Sometimes changing the conversation and turning to positive role models isn’t enough. If you ever feel like you need help because you are struggling with negative body image, disordered eating or an eating disorder, there is help. Find someone you trust to talk to whether it’s a friend, doctor or partner.
“My advice to anyone who is suffering is to take that leap of faith. Gain the courage to reach out and talk to someone about what you are going through. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late. You don’t want to not live the life that you wished to one day have.” From National Eating Disorders Association.
Sounding Off on Body Image
In this video below, I’ll talk more about the tips mentioned about and share my feelings on encouraging positive body image.
Share Your Advice
What’s your advice? Do you struggle with negative body image? What’s something we can do to help those struggling?