Feeling Good

Our bodies are all different, and yours is unique. Your health and well-being are connected to your body image and self-esteem.

Body Image and Self-Esteem

Body Image is a person’s attitude towards their body. It includes the mental picture of how they see themselves when they look in the mirror, how they feel about the way they look, and how they think others see them.

Self-esteem is the value and respect a person places on themselves. It is about how they see themselves as a whole person, not just how they view their body. Self-esteem is the opinion people have about all aspects of themselves, and it impacts how they take care of themselves, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. 

Various factors will affect how we feel about ourselves and our bodies. We can control some factors but we can't control them all. Certain factors may also affect one person more than the other. How we react to all these factors influences our self-esteem and body image. Let's take a closer look at some of these factors.

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Your Age

In early adolescence, you might start to have thoughts and feelings about your body. These thoughts and feelings might have an impact on how you view health and physical activity. At every age, your health recommendations are different. Remember to plan fitness goals that match your tastes and abilities. 

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At this point in your life, it is normal for you to gain weight. Usually, young people gain between 30 to 40 pounds during puberty. This is a normal weight gain and is a sign that your body is developing. If you are a girl, this weight will be concentrated around your breasts, hips, waist, thighs, and buttocks. If you are a boy, your shoulders will expand, your muscle mass will increase, and you may grow taller than others.

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Your gender can impact how you look at your body. The most important thing is that you love and accept your body. If you have any questions about gender check out our Sexuality and Gender Diversity page. 

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Society can greatly influence how we see ourselves and how we think we should look. Young men and women often look to certain stereotypes and/or gender roles when it comes to their body image. We are told to “act like a man” or “be lady-like.” These norms were determined by society and should not define the way we see our bodies. Trying to live up to these stereotypes can negatively impact our self-esteem. Don't let society and stereotypes prevent you from being you. Be true to yourself and own your look!

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Social Media

Beauty, fashion, media, and sports industries can have a big impact on how we dress, eat, look, and interact. There are many unrealistic images that we see everyday. Ask yourself how the images you see could have been altered, who created the message, and what they are trying to sell. Love your body as it is and take care of it. If you are proud of your body and love it, the people around you will do the same. 

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Family and Friends

The people that are closest to you have the biggest impact on your body image and self-esteem. As important as their opinions are to you, make sure that you are not negatively influenced by what they say. When it comes to your friends, always try to be tactful and kind. Be encouraging to one another, and recognize that your attitude towards your body will influence the way your friends and family see their bodies as well.

Lead the Way

When it comes to the way we feel about our bodies, it is important to recognize that we often rely on the opinions of others. This means that, whether we recognize it or not, we are each other's role models. So it is very important that we take care of our bodies so that we can encourage others to do the same. However, no one is perfect. It's good to give yourself a break and go with the flow sometimes.  It's good to strive to be authentic and unique while putting your best effort into being the healthiest person you can be. Here are some ways to be a great role model;

  • Be real! Talk to people you trust about both your accomplishments and your struggles. The path to body positivity and better physical health may not be easy, but being real about your story will help push you towards your goal and inspire others.

  • Make the right choices! Every choice you make is important, so always try to do what is best for you. Make sure your information is coming from reliable sources and that you have all the facts. Your good choices will encourage others to do the same. 

  • Monitor your attitude! Be positive. Surround yourself with positive people. Your positivity will likely rub off on others, which is always a good thing. If you believe in yourself, so will everyone else.

Need some motivation? Check out this video:

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