Love Your Body

It's time to speak up about body image! The media has painted a picture of the “ideal image,” but let's face it . . . the ideal image is not realistic and can be unhealthy to achieve. The Love Your Body Campaign encourages students to love their bodies by promoting healthy body image.

Are you AWARE?

This Dove Evolution video is an example of why our perception of beauty is distorted.

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. 

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 constitutes 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