As the temperatures rise with summer, so can body image concerns. So, what if someone could come up with a list of just five tips for positive body image?
It seems that summer comes along with more advertisements promoting harmful weight loss recommendations. Social media is inundated with images that focus on achieving a lean, muscular “bikini body.”
Summer clothes tend to be more revealing, leaving many feeling body conscious. For those struggling with poor body image, these summertime triggers tend to increase body discomfort and negative self-talk.
Five Tips for Positive Body Image this Summer:
- Express gratitude. Focus on all that your body can do rather than its appearance. Your body can do so many awesome, joyful things during the summer — it can sense the warm sun, splash in the cool water, taste delicious ice cream — turn your focus toward these joys and away from negative criticisms.
- Focus on caring for not changing your body. Rather than focusing on changing your body to fit some narrow definition of “beauty” or “health,” focus on caring for your body. The more connected you feel to your body by doing something nice for it or by engaging in intuitive eating and movement, the better you’re likely to feel about your body.
- Become a critical viewer of the media. During summer, it seems like messages promoting weight loss and the “thin-ideal” are everywhere. Become a critical viewer of the media by noticing images, messages, or attitudes that make you feel negative about yourself or your body. Recognize how these messages may be misleading, inaccurate, or unrealistic. Unfollow, block, report, or protest against these messages.
- Surround yourself with body positivity. Follow body positive influencers on social media or spend more time with those family or friends who are body positive. Listen to podcasts, join Facebook groups, and read books that promote Health at Every Size, Intuitive Eating, Body Respect, and Body Kindness.
- Practice self-compassion. If you find yourself criticizing your body, notice that the judgment is happening and then follow up with a self-compassionate statement. Talk to yourself like you would a friend. For example, “You’re feeling self-conscious since seeing that photo on social media. Remember, you have your own unique beauty.”
Remember, practice makes permanence. The more you practice these tips, the more likely new thought patterns will develop around your body. The more positive (or perhaps just more neutral) your thoughts about your body become, the better you can feel about your body.
- Tribole, E. & E. Resch. (2012). Intuitive Eating, 3rd edition. St. Martin’s Press.
- Bacon, L. & Aphramor, L. (2014). Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight. BenBella Books.
- Bacon, L. (2008). Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight. BonBella Books.
- Scritchfield, R. (2016). Body Kindness. Workman Publishing.
- Neff, K. (2011). Self-Compassion. Harper Collins.
About the Author:
Chelsea Fielder-Jenks is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in Austin, Texas. Chelsea works with individuals, families, and groups primarily from a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) framework.
She has extensive experience working with adolescents, families, and adults who struggle with eating, substance use, and various co-occurring mental health disorders. You can learn more about Chelsea and her private practice at ThriveCounselingAustin.com.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Published on May 2, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on May 2, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com