Health, Not Size – Promoting Positive Body Image

Health, Not Size – Promoting Positive Body Image
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Scrolling through social media can sometimes get discouraging. Seeing fitness and physique-focused posts through our feed can leave us feeling distraught and down on our own bodies. This negative body image and view of ourselves can be extremely destructive, not only for ourselves but also to our clients or friends around us. Some people aren’t happy about their bodies and will resort to dieting in an attempt to achieve their ideal body size, though many dieters will not achieve their unrealistic ideal weight. Is this surprising?

The important thing to focus on for positive body image is health, not size or weight. Instead of setting goals for weight and size, set goals for health, nutrition and exercise. Here are seven ways to promote positive body image:

  1. Make the phrases “I feel fat,” “She looks so much better than me,” and “I hate the way look” ones that you will never say again. Replace negative phrases with positive ones. Focus on your good qualities and traits.
  2. Appreciate your body. Think about all the things you can do, thanks to your body. Celebrate your body and take good care of it nutritionally!
  3. Realize that everyone is a different shape and size. This is what makes you YOU. Your body is a gift given to you and you should take care of it no matter its size.
  4. Don’t engage in extreme behaviors. You don’t need to be a kale smoothie and cauliflower pizza person to be healthy. Real pizza crust is OK!
  5. Compliment others on their successes. When you quit being so self-absorbed and notice what’s great about others, you begin to worry less about yourself. Look outside yourself and see more than others’ appearances.
  6. Engage in hobbies and activities that you love. Do them often. This gets your mind on what actually matters instead of focusing on what you look like and compare to what others look like or maybe even what you used to look like.
  7. Be active! It will make you feel better about your body. Don’t exercise to lose weight — exercise to feel healthy. In doing this, you will feel better about yourself, have positive self-image and have increased self-confidence.

As you strive to live in these ways, mindlessly scrolling through social media won’t result in negative body image. Having positive body image will make you a more trustworthy professional. If you are an RDN to be, clients will be attracted to the way that you have a positive image of your body. They will trust your nutritional advice. More importantly, you will feel a sense of being, happiness and fulfillment.

Britney Giles
Britney Giles is a senior at Arizona State University’s undergraduate DPD program. She currently works as the Nutrition Coordinator for a local private practice. She is aspiring to one day become a registered dietitian nutritionist focusing on body image and young athlete nutrition. You can find Britney training for marathons, studying, typing away, or spending time outdoors (with food, of course) with her husband.