Skip to Content - Skip to Navigation

Video for Poster Contest—Love Your Body

What is Body Image?

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, body image includes:

  • How you picture yourself in your mind
  • What you believe about your own appearance
  • How you feel about your body, including your height, shape, and weight
  • How you sense and control your body as you move
  • How you feel in your body, not just about your body

Body image is influenced by a variety of factors:

  • Comments from family, friends and others about our, their, and other people’s bodies
  • Ideals that we develop about physical appearance
  • The frequency with which we compare ourselves to others
  • Exposure to images of idealized versus normal bodies
  • The experience of physical activity
  • The experience of abuse, including sexual, physical, and emotional abuse
  • The experience of prejudice and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, ability, sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Sensory experiences, including pleasure, pain and illness

Individuals can have a negative body image—a distorted perception of their shape, or feelings of discomfort, shame, or anxiety about your body—or a positive body image—a true perception of your appearance, seeing yourself as you really are and liking what you see.

For most people, body image is fluid, meaning it falls on a spectrum rather than being 100 percent positive or negative. Your perception of your body image can change on a daily basis or even multiple times in one day.

For more information on body image, download the Body Image Fact Sheet.

Love Your Body

There is so much that you can do to love your body. Below are a few suggestions.

  • Appreciate all that your body can do
  • Keep a top-10 list of things you like about yourself
  • Remember, true beauty is not simply skin deep
  • Look at yourself as a whole person
  • Surround yourself with positive people
  • Shut down negative voices in your head
  • Wear comfortable clothes
  • Become a critical viewer of social and media messages
  • Stay off the scale
  • De-emphasize numbers, such as weight and BMI
  • Realize that you cannot change your body type
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others
  • Recognize that size prejudice is a form of discrimination

Take a Body Positive Approach

Taking a body positive approach means you should:

  • Re-envision your beauty as a creative, dynamic process
  • Create your own beauty definitions
  • Take power away from the external messages you receive about what beauty is supposed to look like, and decide for yourself what constitute real beauty
  • Remind yourself: beauty ideals are social constructs, not truth
  • Don’t confuse physical self-care with a desire to transform your body to fit someone else’s definition of beauty

For more information, visit The Body Positive.

Sources: National Eating Disorder Association, The Body Positive, NOW Foundation's Love Your Body Campaign

Disclaimer: This site is a resource for IUP students. It is not intended to replace consultation with your medical providers. IUP Health Service staff members are available to treat and give medical advice to IUP students. Visit the IUP Health Service website for more information.

Visit our resource library for more information.

2014 Love Your Body Poster Contest

CALLING ALL ARTISTS! Health AWAREness is looking for submissions for its 2014 Love Your Body Poster Contest! Posters must challenge the media’s portrayal of unrealistic standards and demonstrate that body image is not determined by body size, race, age, or physical appearance.

Submissions should be no larger than 9” x 12” and include the following information on the poster: (1) “2014 Love Your Body Campaign” (2) “IUP Health AWAREness”(3) “"

Submissions can either be emailed in PDF or JPEG format to or dropped off at Suites on Maple East, G-59. All submissions are due by Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.

E-mail for more information.

2013 Love Your Body Poster Contest – Winner

Holly Sammons, Love Your Body 2013 Poster Contest WinnerThe Health AWAREness program, a part of the Center for Health and Well-Being, is pleased to announce the winner of the 2013 Love Your Body Poster Contest, Holly Sammons.

When asked about the motivation behind her poster, Holly shared, “I learned to love myself for who I was, because beauty comes in all sizes. I thought I would share my positivity towards my body by entering this contest, so that others could do the same.”

Several students participated in the poster contest to demonstrate that beauty is not determined by body size, race, age, or physical appearance. The poster contest was a part of Love Your Body week, a campaign sponsored by Health AWAREness to encourage students to love their bodies by promoting healthy body image.

To Holly, “Love Your Body” means that you “accept yourself no matter what you look like. Even if you’re not the weight you want to be, or think you have different flaws or imperfections, you are perfect exactly the way you are. If you looked any different, you wouldn’t be you!”

The 2013 Love Your Body winning poster: You are more important than the number on your scale!

Visit the Love Your Body photo gallery to see all the poster submissions.

  • Health AWAREness
  • Suites on Maple East
    Suite G-59
    901 Maple Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-4799
  • Fax: 724-357-4457
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.