3) Body image behaviour refers to appearance related behaviors such as ://nationaleatingdisorders/nedaDir/files/documents/handouts/10WillBI.pdf.
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BODY IMAGE Body image is the personal relationship you have with your body. It includes your perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, and feelings about your physical appearance. It also includes how you feel in your body. Body image can be further broken down into four categories: 1) Body image satisfaction refers to how satisfied you are with your body and appearance. 2) Body image investment refers to the importance you place on physical appearance in defining yourself and in determining your self – worth. 3) Body image behavio u r refers to appearance related behaviors such as gro oming, checking, concealing aspects of your appearance, and avoiding places, activities or people. 4) Body image perception refers to how accurately you estimate your own body size and/or shape. C haracteristics of a n egative body i mage – A distorted perception of your size and shape you perceive your body or part s of your body inaccurately . – You believe that only others are attractive . – You believe that your body size or shape is a sign of personal failure . – You equate your weight or shape as a sign of your lack of worth . – You feel ashamed, anxious and self – conscious about your body . – You feel uncomfortable and awkward in your body . – You spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about your appearanc e, your weight, food, or calories. – You avoid certain activities or places because of the way you look. – You avoid certain people because of the way you or they look. Characteristics of a p ositive body image – An accurate perception of your size and shape you see your body as it really is . – You celebrate and appreciate your natural body shape . – appearance says very little about their character and value as a person . – You accept your body and you understand that all bodi es are different. – You refuse to spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about your appearance, weight, food or calories . – You feel comfortable and confident in your body . – Y our appearance your actions or behaviors. – You are comfortabl e around people of all shapes and sizes. Body image dissatisfaction is very common 9 0% of women and 50% of men are dissatisfied with the way they look. People with negative body image have a greater likelihood of developing an eating disorder and are more likely to suffer from feelings of depression, isolation, low self – esteem and obsessions with weight loss.

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How Does Body Image Develop ? Body image forms gradually, and begins to develop in childhood . It is affected by both past and current experience s. Some of the most common det erminants of body image include cultural factors, interpersonal experiences and physical changes. 1) Cultural socialization Societal beliefs and media messages can have a big impact on your body image. Much of our society ascr with on a daily basis. In our society, preschool children have already started learning societal bel iefs about physical characteristics. They know that superheroes like Superman have big, bulging muscles and that Barbie is thin and happy. The fashion, cosmetics and diet industries work hard to make us believe that our bodies are unacceptabl e and need co nstant improvement. This is done so that we will think we need their products. Advertisements reduce us to body parts lips, legs, breasts , abs all of which are airbrushed and digitally altered , creating impossible standards. 2) Interpersonal experiences Family members or friends may pass on messages about your body either through direct comments (e.g., telling you to lose weight) or through modeling (e.g., having a parent who constantly complains about his or her appearance teaches you that looks are som ething to worry about). Being teased or criticized about your appearance can have a lasting effect on how you feel about your appearance. Being frequently complimented on appearance can also create problems if it leads to beliefs that your appearance is the only thing people value about you, or it create s pressure to look a certain way. 3) Physical C hanges Our bodies c hange dramatically during puberty, which can bring about intense preoccupation with these changes and with our physical appearance in general . The relative timing of physical maturation can also be important in body image development (e.g., maturing early or late may contribute to feelings of insecurity or self – consciousness). Physical changes that contribute to feelings of insecurity (e.g., we ight gain or developing acne) can have a lasting effect on your body ima g e. Studies show that people who had acne or who were overweight, did not necessarily experience an improvement in their bod y image when their skin improved or they lost weight.

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Wa ys to Improve your Body Image : 1) Appreciate all your body can do (e.g., run, dance, breathe, get you places , embrace those you care about , laugh, drea he things your body lets you do and add to it. 2) Remind yourself that your body i s an instrument, not just an ornament. 3) 4) Remember that every body is different. Even if everyone ate the same things and did the same amount of exercise, we would not all look the same. This i s because our genetics influence our bone structure, body size, shape and weight. 5) Keep a top 10 list of things you like about yourself that are not related to how much you weigh or what you look like. Re ad the list often and add to it. 6) Become a cr itical v iewer of media messages: a) Remember advertisements are created with the in tent to send a specific message: you need the product being advertised . By sending the message that you are not okay as you are and that you need changing , advertisers are effectively creating a need for their product. b) Notice how advertisements are strategically placed (e.g., health and fitness magazines promote weight loss and fashion magazines promote products). c) Remind yourself that the majority of the media images have been altere d by make – up, lighting, airbrushing and Photoshop. d) Pay attention to how media images and messages make you feel about yourself. e) Advertisers create their message based on what they think will affect you and compel you to buy their product. Y ou can choose to filter these messages, reminding yourself of what advertisers want you to think or believe (e.g., you need to lose weight, you will be more loveable if you buy their products , you are not good en ough as you are) and deciding whether y ou want to buy – in t o these message s . f) Ask yourself whether the messages you see and hear in the media and in society fit with your personal values (e.g., do you think people are more worthwhile the thinner they are? ). Do you want to support these messages? g) A dvertisers also c reate advertisements based on what they think you will want to see. This give s you the power by letting advertisers know that you do not want to see unrealistic standards of beauty and that you will not buy products or services supporting this message, y ou are showing advertisers that their methods of advertising are not working, and may actually be working against them. You can protest these messages in several ways (e.g., writ ing a letter to the advertiser s , stop reading magazines and buying products th at advocate these messages). 7) Remind yourself that true beauty is not skin – deep. Think of the most important people in your life and ask yourself why you value them so much. Do you love your friends and family members because of the size of their waist or t heir clear complexion ? 8) Create a list of people you admire and who have contributed to your life, your community or the world. Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments. 9) Look at yourself as a whole person. When yo u look in the mirror choose not to focus on specific body parts, but on your reflection as a whole . 10) When you look in the mirror fo cus on what you like about your appearance.

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11) Practice looking in the mirror and accepting the way you look ( not ev aluating you r appearance or characteristics of your appearance as positive or negative). 12) Surround yourself with positive people. It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and care about you for who you are, no t what you look like . You may also choose not to hang out with people who make disparaging comments about your appearance or their own. 13) Wear clothes that are comfortable , that express your personal style and that make you feel good about your body. Work wi th your body not against it. 14) Do something nice for yourself something that lets yo ur body know you appreciate it (e.g., t ake a bubble bath, take time for a nap, find a peaceful place to relax ) . 15) Think about how much time you spend worrying about food, calories and your appearance . Try using this time to do something productive (e.g., homework, helping others, spend ing time with family or friends ). 16) Be assertive with others who comment on your body. Let these people know that comments about your physica l appearance, either positive or negative, are not appreciated. They are evaluative comments and you have the right to say that you do want to have your appearance evaluated. 17) Be aware of the negative messages you tell yourself about your body and appearanc e. 18) Shut down or challenge the thoughts that tell you your body is not right or that you are a bad person. 19) Use affirmation s I accept myself the way I am 20) Challenge your negative body talk. Look for evidence for the accuracy of your self – talk. 21) Surround yourself with men an d women of all shapes and sizes. 22) Practice noticing what you appreciate about people (of all shapes and sizes). 23) Throw away clothes that no longer fit you or that you use as a measuring tool to check your body size. 24) Stop weighing yourself. 25) Find exercise that you enjoy and exercise for non – weight related reasons. 26) – all . Losing weight will not magically make all of your problems or insecurities go away. 27) Support your body, don its enemy. Eat when you are hungry. Rest when you are tired. Exercise because it makes your body strong and makes you feel good. 28) going to the bathr oom to check how you look, repeatedly asking others for reassurance about your appearance. 29) Develop k. 30) Identify and challeng e negative body talk. Examples of negative body talk include: a) o Challenge the idea that things are black and white. Consider the fact that there are shades of grey and that g aining ten po unds makes you ten pounds heavier, not fat. Stop using harsh (e.g., fat) labels to describe yourself or your body. Ask yourself if there is a less harsh way to describe your weight gain. b)

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o Ask yourself if you know that this is the reason. Are you 100% certain? Are there other possible explanations? What evidence do you have that this is the reason you did not get the job? c) o Ask yourself if you know this is true. How do you know? Is there evidence that they see you this way? 31) Challenge the following FALSE appearance assumptions: (taken from The Body Image Workbook by Thomas Cash, 2008) a) Physically attractive people have it all. o Beauty can backfire. Peopl e may be jealous they interact with that person. T hey may also make assumptions about a person, based solely on his or her appearance (e.g., she is beautiful so she must be stupid; he is attractive so he must be egoti stical). o Being attractive does not safeguard against feelings of inadequacy, a lack of self – worth, depression or loneliness. o y personali ty can impact how you see that person (e.g., as more or less attractive). b) My worth as a person depends on how I look. o Think about the other aspects of yourself that represent who you are. What qualities do you possess that you like? What attributes do your fr iends like about you? o Think about what you value in others. Do you only like them because of the way they look? o H ow much emphasis do you think body/appearance? Are there other aspects of life you think are more important? c) I sho uld always do whatever I can to look my best. o occasion. Would people like you less? o Do you require others to look their best all the time? Would you be harshly judgmental of demand it from yourself? o Who can look their best all the time? It un reasonable to expect yourself to look your best all the time. o You can always think of ways you can loo k better. Expecting yourself to look your best creates unreasonable expectations and sets you up for failure. d) o Jus imperfection in your they will think less of you or mistreat you. o Your personality is more influential in how others think of you than whatever might be o We are usually more concerned with our own appearance than with the appea rance of others.

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e) If people knew how I really look, they would probably like me less. o Characteristics such as friendliness, warmth, honesty, integrity, intelligence, and a sense of humor are highly valued human traits, no matter what you look like. o Have you ever stopped liking someone upon discovering an imperf ection in his or her appearance? Have you ever thought I should probably o It is likely that y ou are the one who is uncomfortable with your appear ance, not others. f) By managing my physical appearance, I can control my social and emotional life. o Good grooming can enhance your looks and make you feel attractive; however, feeling attractive will not solve all of your problems. o You cannot build a hap py life using only your appearance. o Appearance management is only helpful if it improves your body image. If no matter what you do you still feel ugly, you need to change your body image, not your appearance. o Depending on clothing for damage control onl y reinforces your belief that your body g) My appearance is responsible for much of what has happened in my life. o Attractiveness is not a prerequisite for success. Consider Mother Teresa or Bill Gates would they win a beauty contest? o Ask yourself if you have loved or admired people for reasons that have nothing to do with their appearance? h) If I could look just as I wish, my li fe would be much happier. o Research shows that physically attractive people are not necessarily happier. o Similarly, g ood – looking people do not necessarily have a positive body image. o Wishing you looked differently magnifies your discontentment with your bo dy. i) o The media in our culture does portray powerful and unhelpful messages about physical ; choose not to b uy into these messages (refer to #6 above ). o Remember that beauty is subjectiv e and not everyone buys into the ideals presented in the media. j) The only way I could ever accept my lo o Research shows that you can change your bo dy image without changing your appearance . o Have you ever gone on a diet and lost weight, bought new clothes, got a new hairstyle or had cosmetic surgery a n d still not felt good about your looks? This suggests that it i s your body image that needs fixing not your body.

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