Living With a Healthy Body Image
The National Women's Health Information
Center has provided you with information to help you take care
of your health and to develop a positive body image.
The following resources focus on some of the top health
concerns that can affect a woman's body image. Information and
resources are provided for each health concern.
1. Stop Talking About Your Weight (especially in front
of younger girls)
Young girls listen to the way women
talk about themselves and each other and learn the language of
womanhood. Young women can only learn to love or even accept their
bodies if they see women who love and accept their own. Every
discussion we have about weight, or fat, or being too this or
that, leaves an impression on the people around us. We are encouraging
an unattainable quest for perfection.
2. Make a List of Women You Admire
How often is the woman's appearance
a reason that you admire her? What do you think are the most important
attributes a woman can have? What would you like a young woman
to most admire in you? In herself? Does our culture seem to admire
the same things in women that you do?
3. Question the Motives of the Fashion Industry
Always remember that the main objective
of the fashion, cosmetic, diet, fitness and plastic surgery industries
is to make money, not to make you the best person you can possibly
be. The ultra thin ideal is working for them. But is it working
for you? If every season your parent or partner told you to change
who you are or how you dress wouldn't you question their motives?
4. Stop Weighing Yourself
Remember that the emphasis to be
thin and beautiful is ever present in our society. Cut yourself
some slack. Imagine spending a day, or a week, without the scale
measuring your self esteem. Does the scale tell you that you aren't
disciplined enough? That you aren't working hard enough? Get rid
of it. The emphasis on thin is new and arbitrary. And it can be
5. Concentrate on Things You Do Well
Do you look in the mirror one day
and think you look great and the next day and think you look awful?
Your body isn't changing, your perception of it is. It is true
that if you're feeling good about other things in your life, you'll
be less critical of how you look. Do things you do well. And if
you've had a bad day, stay away from the mirror. When a woman
is happy and confident, she may not have a "perfect"
body, but she doesn't give a damn!
6. Get Physical For Fun
Your body needs EXERCISE and REAL
FOODS. Take walks, dance in your living room, garden, golf...try
to get moving for your heart, not to decrease the size of your
bottom. You may lose weight and you may not, but your body will
be stronger, your stress will be lower and you'll feel better.
7. Value Your Dollars
With more women working today than
ever before, our dollars are much in demand. You are being courted!
How much of your money goes into the fashion and cosmetics industries?
What do you spend on eating regimens? What are you getting back?
Look at your budget and be sure the money you spend reflects the
person you are, not the person society wants you to be. If look's
didn't matter at all, what would you spend your money on?
8. Voice Your Opinion
Both large and small businesses
are interested in your input. Your letters and phone calls really
make a difference.
9. Be a Role Model
Every culture and every generation
has its own rules and expectations for women. It is never easy
to go against the grain, but there have always been women who
took risks to grow and learn and succeed. And, there always will
be. Many inspirational women have broken molds, set new standards,
and blazed trails. Wouldn't you like to break a mold or two?
10. Break the Barriers
Develop your own style. Have fun--
Wear lipstick. Or don't. You're the boss of you. By speaking out
and accepting yourself, you help break the barriers
Creating a Heathy