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.
If you suspect that you or someone you know may have an eating disorder, it is important to address the concern and there are resources to help you. Some of the signs and symptoms of eating disorders include:
- Excess concern about weight, shape, and calories
- Negative body image or body dissatisfaction
- Feeling guilty about eating
- Strict avoidance of certain foods or unusual eating habits
- Noticeable weight loss
- Frequent weight fluctuation
See below for supports in helping with body image.
Health and Wellness
Health is influenced by more than the number on a weight scale. Our emotional, mental and spiritual factors are also important to our overall health and wellness. We want to aim to create a personal balance among physical, emotional, mental and spiritual factors. It is important to accept yourself on your own terms.
Be Active – Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week.
Eat Well – Experiment with a variety of nourishing foods.
Be Yourself – After all, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes!
- St Joseph’s Care Group has a program to help those who are struggling with their eating.
- The National Eating Disorder Information Centre has great tools and resources to help you or someone you care about. Not having enough to eat can be very hard on our mental health.
- There are various programs and services in Thunder Bay that can help to ensure you have food to feed yourself and your family. For more information, visit:
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.
For Further Information
Call the Nutrition Program: (807) 625-5900
or toll-free 1-888-294-6630