OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Body Image

  1. Examine your own feelings about fat and thin. Work on revising negative attitudes that lead to painful feelings. Ask yourself, “Is it benefiting me to focus on what I consider to be flaws in my appearance?”
  2. If mirrors trigger negative thoughts or feelings about your body, avoid looking in them. Notice if avoiding mirrors makes a difference in your image of yourself. Do not use mirrors as a tool of judgment.
  3. Exercise for the purposes of getting that healthy feeling, building strength and stamina, having fun, or reducing stress, rather than exercising to burn calories or change your body shape.
  4. If seeing your weight on the scale triggers a negative thought about yourself, try not weighing yourself at all.
  5. Avoid using “fat-ist” language. Pairing negative words with the word “fat”, such as “fat and ugly”, perpetuates stereotypes about people based on their size.
  6. Dress up and adorn yourself with an attitude of having fun, communicating a mood, or making a statement. Adorning oneself to conform to a societal standard is not fun, and adds stress.
  7. Men, look critically at the bodybuilding message. It is just as dangerous and damaging as the “thin” message given to women.
  8. Begin to notice how women’s bodies are objectified. Become critical of media images portraying bodies as objects.
  9. Use positive language when describing your own body and others’ bodies. Make body size acceptance statements about your own and others’ bodies. For example, “I may have large thighs compared to fashion models, but these are MY thighs and they work great”.
  10. Emphasize how you feel, rather than how you look. Use positive self-talk--”I feel great.”
  11. Focus on what your body can do rather than on how it looks.
  12. Develop a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutritional habits rather than going on weight loss diets.
  13. Aim for lifestyle mastery, rather than mastery over your appearance. “Lifestyle mastery” promotes the development of your unique gifts and potential, having meaningful relationships, expressing yourself, and growing as a person. Moderate exercise and healthy eating are part of a lifestyle value of “self care.”
  14. Demonstrate respect for individuals who do not have the body types that are shown in the media. Round women, small men, people who look unique are all valued members of the human race.
  15. Work on developing an attractive personality and inner beauty. Focus on what you can contribute to the world, rather than on how you look.

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