Body image

What is body image?

Body image refers to the mental image or picture you have of your body. Where weight, shape, measurements, and clothes size are all examples of objective measures of your body, body image is a subjective measure. It is all about how you think and feel about your own body.

Why does our body image matter?

It is perfectly normal and natural to have parts of your body that you like better than others, and parts that you would like to be different. However, these concerns don’t normally get in the way of our day to day life. If they start affecting your ability to live your day to day life, like interfering with being able to go to the shops or out with friends, then health professionals have cause for concern. Health professionals would also worry if these concerns impact strongly on your ideas about your worth as a person or your view of yourself.

Why is body image important?

Considering your body image when thinking about making changes to your lifestyle is important. Poor body image can influence the goals you set for yourself, such as setting unrealistically low targets for your weight. It can also be an obstacle in recognising your progress as you make lifestyle changes, which can in turn lead to giving up or trying to lose weight in ways that you simply can’t stick with day to day.. It is important to identify your own body image concerns, and to set specific goals to address these concerns , just like you set weight management and lifestyle goals at the beginning of thinking about your lifestyle.

Try this exercise

  • Write down your own body image concerns
  • Spend five minutes developing your own body image goals to address these concerns.

An important part about addressing body image concerns is noticing they’re there in the first place, and working out what triggers them, and how we behave to manage them.

More information?

For more information on body image, and for information on where to seek help if your body image is troubling you, check out: