Body image is the perception that a person has of their physical self and the thoughts and feelings that result from that perception. These feelings can be positive, negative or both, and are influenced by individual and environmental factors.5 People who have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) think about their real or perceived flaws for hours each day. They can’t control their negative thoughts and don’t believe people who tell them that they look fine. Their thoughts may cause severe emotional distress and interfere with their daily functioning. They may miss work or school, avoid social situations and isolate themselves, even from family and friends, because they fear others will notice their flaws.1
If you sometimes judge yourself and feel uncomfortable in your own body, you’re not alone. Lots of people struggle with accepting their bodies. 2
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What is Body Neutrality:
Approaches to cultivating a healthy body image continue to evolve, and body neutrality is among the latest perspectives. The body neutrality movement places value on what a body can do over what it looks like. Unlike body positivity, which calls for loving your body regardless of its appearance, body neutrality emphasizes accepting and caring for your body regardless of how you feel about it. Body image coach Anne Poirier, who authored The Body Joyful, helped popularize the body neutrality movement beginning in 2015.6 https://onlinegrad.baylor.edu/resources/body-neutrality/?_ga=2.265065935.1992440247.1657680674-875358880.1656521085
Are more than just eating too much or too little. It’s when someone has unhealthy focus on eating, exercising, or their body size or shape.3
For more information, go to:
National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA): https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/body-image-0?_ga=2.195457644.1992440247.1657680674-875358880.1656521085
Western NY Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders: https://www.nyeatingdisorders.org/?_ga=2.195457644.1992440247.1657680674-875358880.1656521085
5Damea, & March, K. (2015, August 21). What is Body Image? Retrieved from https://www.psychalive.org/what-is-body-image/#:~:text=Body image is the perception,that result from that perception.&text=The way you FEEL about,weight, and individual body parts.
1Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder-bdd#:~:text=But people who have body,interfere with their daily functioning.
2Here’s how to develop a positive body image. (2020, July 20). Retrieved from https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/issues/developing-positive-body-image
3What is an eating disorder? (2020, July 20). Retrieved from https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/issues/eating-disorders
4Association, A. C. (n.d.). Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/infosheet/body-image-self-esteem-and-mental-health
6The MPH online program from Baylor University’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences. (2022, April 22). Cultivating body neutrality in young people. Baylor University. Retrieved May 1, 2022, from https://onlinegrad.baylor.edu/resources/body-neutrality/