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Improve your body image

Men, women and children will find it hard to escape daily images of beauty ideals and messages about what they should look like.

This constant pressure over impossible demands on bodily perfection can damage a person's self-esteem.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport says low body confidence has become one of the major threats against health and wellbeing.

Concerns over body image can stop young women from being physically active.

It can lead to unhealthy eating behaviours and even steroid misuse for cosmetic reasons.

The negative messages can come from the media, social networking, family and friends.

Celebrate and nourish your body

Building a healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and physical activity is important for improving body image. We all want to look our best, but a healthy body is not always linked to appearance. In fact, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Developing and nurturing a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude is crucial for a woman's happiness and wellness.

Change your body image not your body

It is important to remember that when you change your body image, you don't change your body, you change the way you think about your body.

Essentials for developing healthy body image include:

  • Eating healthily
  • Taking regular exercise
  • Getting plenty of rest

Eating healthily can promote healthy skin and hair, along with strong bones; exercise has been shown to increase self-esteem, self-image and energy; and plenty of rest is the key to stress management - all of these can make you feel good about your body.

What is body image?

With a positive body image, a woman has a real perception of her size and shape and feels comfortable and proud about her body. With a negative body image, a woman has a distorted perception of her shape and size, compares her body to others, and feels shame, awkwardness and anxiety about her body. A woman's dissatisfaction with her body affects how she thinks and feels about herself. A poor body image can lead to emotional distress, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

Don't forget your children. The attitude of parents about appearance and diet affects their children’s attitudes too.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on October 04, 2017

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