Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to healing. But knowing how to bring up the subject of a possible eating disorder with someone you care about can be hard. You may be wondering, "What is the right thing to say?" Read our guide, How to talk to someone with an eating disorder (PDF), to learn helpful advice on starting the conversation.
Melrose Center knows that a negative body image can lead to depression, social anxiety and even eating disorders. We work within the community to spread the message and provide tools for positive body image with the hopes of preventing eating disorders through education, conversation, and action.
Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. Body image is not only how you feel about your appearance, but also how comfortable you feel in your body. Learn to recognize thoughts and behaviors related to body image so you can work on building a more positive body image.
A negative body image is:
- A distorted perception of your shape - perceiving parts of your body unlike they really are
- Convincing yourself that only other people are attractive
- Viewing your body size or shape as a sign of personal failure
- Feeling ashamed, self-conscious and anxious about your body
- Feeling uncomfortable and awkward in your body
Positive body image is:
- A clear, true perception of your shape – seeing the various parts of your body as they really are
- Celebrating and appreciating your natural body shape
- Understanding that a person's physical appearance says very little about their character and value as a person
- Feeling proud and accepting your unique body
- Refusing to spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight and calories
- Feeling comfortable and confident in your body
We all have days when we feel awkward or uncomfortable in our bodies, but the key to developing positive body image is to recognize and respect our natural shape, and learn to overpower those negative thoughts and feelings with positive, affirming and accepting ones. Building a positive body image also means making an effort to treat your body right. Check out these tips to get you started on the path to a better body image:
- Be balanced. Be good to your body by getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods and being physically active. Avoid smoking, drugs and other unhealthy behaviors.
- Be positive. Focus on all the amazing things your body can do, not how it looks. Appreciate your ability to run, dance, play or create.
- Be diverse. Recognize that people naturally come in different shapes and sizes – embrace what makes you unique.
- Be stylish. Wear clothes that fit your body type and make you look and feel good no matter what your size.
- Be proud. Make a list of your positive qualities that aren't related to your body or appearance. We are all so much more than what we look like on the outside.
- Be inspired. Think about the people you admire. Have they impacted your life because of what they look like or because of what they've accomplished.
- Be accepting. Challenge negative thoughts about your body. Try to be less judgmental and learn to talk more positively about yourself.
- Be special. Take time to pamper yourself. Try a yoga class, get a massage or facial, or take a relaxing bubble bath – you deserve it!
- Be savvy. Read books and magazines with positive messages that make you feel good about yourself. Ditch anything that makes you feel inadequate.
- Be kind. Avoid body-bashing in social settings. Instead, focus conversations on the positive traits of yourself and others.
Park Nicollet Melrose Center has created a set of positive body image materials designed to encourage young people to take steps toward building a more positive body image, and to help adults identify signs and symptoms of a possible eating disorder. If you are interested in materials or learning more, please call 952-993-6555.
Heading to college can be an exciting and challenging time. This video explores ways you can stay healthy and keep your body and mind functioning at its best.
College tips: Feeding Your Body & Mind