How Body Image Can Affect a Person’s Health: Ask the RD

You may have wondered about how body image can affect a person’s health. Body image is the combination of the thoughts and feeling you have about your body.

Learning how to be comfortable and at peace in your skin is a difficult process. In our Intuitive Eating practice, fear of body changes and the desire for weight loss are two of the biggest reasons clients struggle to free themselves from dieting and disordered eating behaviors.

And who can blame them? After years of trying to change their bodies, it is daunting to give up the pursuit of a smaller body. 

In today’s article, we will be discussing how body image can affect a person’s health and the real root of what body image is. Additionally, we will be giving you three steps to becoming more body positive. Keep reading to learn more!

If you haven’t already, make sure you check out our blog post on social media and body image next! It is a must-read.

How Body Image Can Affect a Person’s Health

While yes, you may be wondering how body image can affect a person’s health. Let’s get to the root of what body image is all about.

You were meant for so much more than trying to shrink yourself. The time, money, and energy spent trying to conform to societal standards is understandable but may not reap the rewards you are seeking (or if they do, it is likely short-lived).

The world we live in today can be extremely fatphobic, and those living in larger bodies do not deserve to face the stigma that is so prevalent in our society.

Further, weight stigma is the problem. YOU and your body are not the problem. Your body is not a problem that needs to be solved by aesthetically changing it. 

At the end of the day, body image work is mindset work. This means that changing the way your body looks will not intrinsically change the way you view yourself.

Working on your mindset and how you value and care for your body, however, can start to move the needle toward better body image.

Next, we will explore three ways you can start taking steps toward cultivating a better body image. 

Do you not feel at peace with your body? Do you have weight concerns, negative body image, and critical self-talk? If you answered YES- then my Nourished Body Basics Course is for you! Learn more at this link.

3 Steps To Be More Body Positive

How body image can affect a persons health and better body image

1. Listen to your internal dialogue

Odds are you are a busy person leading a busy life, and there are likely nonstop thoughts running through your head all day. Your internal dialogue is the conversation that you have with yourself each day, and it may be where your negative self-talk is rooted.

A good first step in addressing your negative thoughts is simply listening to the way you speak to and about yourself.

Next, try asking yourself:

What thought patterns keep coming up?

Which thoughts affect my mood and how I feel about myself?

Which thoughts are persisting?

The language that you use, whether it is internal or external, is extremely important when working towards improving your body image. You may even challenge yourself to see how you can change your language to better respect and honor your body. 

2. Align your values.

Take a moment to think about the values and principles that are important to you. Maybe it is being a good neighbor, offering kindness to everyone you meet, creating an environment of inclusivity, or celebrating diversity. What is important to you? How do you want to show up each day?

Even further, getting curious about your values can be helpful in body image work because it can shed light on what areas of your life you are not living in alignment with your values when it comes to how you speak to and treat your body.

If you value kindness, compassion, and understanding, does the language you use about yourself reflect that? If you value diversity, do you also honor that your own body may not fit the mold of what society deems as “valuable” but that it still deserves respect? 

Ask yourself these important body image questions. Then, if you are finding misalignment with your values and how you speak to yourself, I want to encourage you to challenge yourself and consider how you can start to shift your thoughts and actions to match the principles that are important to you. 

3. Care for your body today

Regardless of the size or shape of your body, it deserves to be cared for and respected every single day. Self-care is not reserved for when you think you deserve it or when you’ve “earned it”.

No matter what your circumstances are, you are worthy and deserving of caring for your body and honoring its needs.

Some examples of body image self care can include:

  • Booking a spa service or massage. 
  • Moving your body OR taking a break from movement.
  • Taking a few extra minutes to complete a skincare routine. 
  • Wearing clothes that fit and are comfortable.
  • Taking a day off.
  • Cooking your favorite meal. 

How Body Image Can Affect a Person’s Health: The Takeaway

How Body Image Can Affect a Person's Health with a food freedom dietitian

In conclusion, as cliche as it may sound, self-care is extremely important, and your body deserves to be cared for each and every day.

Cultivating a better body image is not about looking in the mirror and thinking your body looks good. However, it is about looking in the mirror and knowing that your body is good and it is worthy of love and care regardless of its appearance. 

If you are looking for more support in improving your relationship with food and your body, check out our Signature 1:1 Intuitive Eating Program. You don’t have to do the hard work alone. 

Here’s what one of our clients had to say after completing our Intuitive Eating program…

“Kate is PHENOMENAL! I have learned so much from working with her. Her approach to nourishment is very sustainable and doable. She makes food fun and vibrant! She makes you feel comfortable with wherever you are on your journey. Her work is grounded in trusting your body and showing it gratitude while prioritizing health. She is kind and patient. I truly stand behind her work and would recommend her to anyone.” -AC

This can be you, too! Book your free discovery call here.

Written by Emily Adkisson, RD

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