4 Ways to Foster Positive Body Image

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?

About Courtney Mirenzi

Courtney Mirenzi is the voice behind Those Graces. She has been named one of the 50 Most Fashionable People in Boston, one of The Boston Globe's Top Bloggers and favorite human of one of her cats. She loves red lipstick, hiking and traveling. (Find out more.)

Comments

  1. Jane Jeanor says:

    Since I read this post, I’ve learnt to love myself and no kind of words will make me change that. Thanks for the inspiration:)

  2. Yes, I love blogging and your tips of positive body image are quite interesting and helpful. Thanks a lot for sharing this. I like your saying Courtney about the real women…:)

  3. Michelle says:

    Courtney thanks for sharing the very insightful and helpful advice. I think it’s so important for young girls or even older women for that matter, to know that the images they see in magazines are photo shopped. That everyone has flaws. But that’s what makes each one of use unique and beautiful in our own ways.

    I specifically like your advice about changing the subject when we’re talking with our friends or just saying something nice about the person being talked about. That’s what I do when I find myself in that conversation. Every time, no. But my goal is to be more aware of what I’m saying or hearing about someone and not to add criticism to the conversation. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.

    There are a lot of people who are focused on appearance and looking up to the celebrity these days and media knows that. That’s why the distort our perception by modifying the images we see. I think just knowing that will help a lot of women who feel they don’t compare to these women in the media.

    I am very passionate about this subject. It really hits home for me because I used to be one of those girls who felt not good enough because I wasn’t flawless. Now I know better and I wish the same for every women. That’s the main reason why I started my self esteem building website was to give back for the many times I was lifted up by a women who was stronger emotionally than I was.

    Great job Courtney for shining some light of this subject.

    Michelle

  4. LOVE this post Courtney (and thanks so much for the shoutout!) :)

    I think one of the reasons I love being a blogger is that I can participate in a community who isn’t afraid to talk about these real issues that we women have as well as show the rest of the world that the industry standard of beauty is a farce! You get to see real women of all different ages, sizes, ethnicities be fashionable and gives others those realistic role models that you mentioned.

    I also think that helping others feel beautiful is an important tip because when you brighten up someone else’s day, you automatically feel better about yourself! :)

    • Thanks MJ!

      I really love all the ways that the blogging community helps women and isn’t afraid to sound off on difficult issues. We’re real women dealing with real issues–not behind the pages of a glossy magazine.

      I think your advice is great! Helping others is always a good way to feel great about yourself :)

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