Body image is a part of your self-esteem. It is how you see your body size, shape, and attractiveness. It also includes your attitudes and feelings about your body and how you think others see you.
Someone with a healthy body image feels good in their skin and feels good about their body. They do not strive for a “perfect” body but focus on their other attributes and abilities in order to feel good about themselves. It is common for people, especially teens, to experience body image dissatisfaction, which is often caused by unrealistic cultural ideas of attractiveness.
Having a poor body image is highly related to low self-esteem and, in some situations, can lead to disordered eating behaviours. Weight-loss practices can negatively affect a person’s mental and emotional well-being and, in more extreme situations, can result in nutritional deficiencies, or can delay or damage development.
The Balanced Approach
Health is influenced by more than the number on a weight scale. The Balanced Approach says that our emotional, mental and spiritual factors are also important to our overall health and wellness. It aims to create a personal balance among physical, emotional, mental and spiritual factors. The Balanced Approach highlights the importance of accepting yourself on your own terms.
Be Active – Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week
Eat Well – Experiment with nutritious meals using spices and natural flavours for a taste adventure
Be Yourself – After all, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes!
Healthy Body Image and Children
Body image is an important part of self-esteem for children, too. The way a child views how they look, such as weight, height, facial features, physical maturation, race and even abilities can affect how they value themselves.
Unfortunately, media images—and to a certain extent Canadian society—promotes thin and perfectly proportioned bodies as measures of success and happiness. Children pick up on these cues as much as we do. These cues are reinforced if we are constantly worried about our own weight around our children.
TBDHU’s Working Together for Healthy Kids strategy helps to foster a healthy body image in kids. The strategy is centred on beliefs around healthy living instead of body weight, and focuses on helping children understand that happy, healthy people come in all shapes and sizes.
The Dressing Room Project
The TBDHU has partnered with the St. Joseph's Care Group Regional Eating Disorders Program to become a local registered Action Team for The Dressing Room Project (Facebook page). The program features workshops for girls in grades seven and eight that discusses how images in the media influence how we see ourselves and others. We are also conducting local research on boys and body image, which will be shared here when completed.
For Further Information
Call the Nutrition Program: (807) 625-5900
or toll-free 1-888-294-6630