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    Body Image is a term that is often spoken of. What exactly is BODY IMAGE?

    Body Image is defined as how we think we appear and how we perceive that others see us. Body Image perception is a two fold process. We look at ourselves and make a snap judgment about how we think we look and also we think of how others see us, as well.

    Having a positive body image is the cornerstone of a healthy self esteem. When we have a positive body image, we appear more confident and alive in our bodies. The number on the scale does not have to be the predictor of our self esteem. In fact, it is important that we do not weigh our self esteem. Our weight is a number on the scale. Our body image is how we feel in our body, how we move, what energy we exude and our confidence. People often think that thin people have a good body image while overweight people have a poor body image. This is not necessarily the truth.

    Body image is as much about what we think of ourselves, what we say to ourselves about our appearance and self worth as is our physical appearance. In fact our inner self image and inner dialogue influences our body image and sense of self more than our physical appearance. Your belief system about yourself is of paramount importance in building a healthy self image. A positive body image comes from having a realistic perception of your size and weight.

    Feeling comfortable in your own skin is also a sign that you have a positive body image. Viewing yourself without comparing yourself to others is also a good indication of a healthy body image. Comparisons generally lead to self criticism and negative judgements. Realizing that we are all unique and have different body shapes and sizes is the beginning of creating a positive sense of self. By seeing yourself as unique, you can accept yourself as you are. Body Image can change with our moods, however, having a realistic concept of yourself and not expecting perfection helps with health and self esteem. Developing a positive dialogue with yourself about your body and having a healthy realistic attitude to changing your weight, if necessary, is the beginning of building a positive self image.

    There is a genetic component to the way we are built and how we appear. We can gain and lose weight, however, our genetic footprint and our appearance is determined by our family and genetics. Where we gain and lose weight is affected by our genes, however, our weight can be determined by our diet rather than just by genetics. The good news is that we have some control over our appearance. Accepting our basic appearance and having healthy eating, exercise, dress and grooming regimens can enhance our looks and build a healthy self esteem and a positive body image.

    Having a positive body image is not necessarily about your size, height, weight, hair color or shape. Having a healthy body image means that you feel comfortable in your body and think positively about yourself most of the time. It does not mean that you are perfect in your eyes or in the eyes of your family or society. It simply means that you accept yourself as you are today and generally think positive thoughts about yourself when you look in the mirror. You may have more positive thoughts about certain parts of your body than of others. Generally, no one loves every aspect of their body. Being comfortable with your body builds a good body image. Trying to achieve perfection is a vicious cycle of dissatisfaction.

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