Your body image is how you perceive your body’s appearance and abilities.
Positive body and self images can have positive effects on health.
Positive self-talk, healthy food and activity choices, and spending time with good friends can help improve body and self image.
Lark offers a friendly and encouraging program that can help you make healthy decisions 24/7 when you use the app.
What comes to mind when you look in the mirror? Do you see a confident person who is proud of their accomplishments and body? Or do you see someone who is ashamed of who they are or what they look like? Your body and self-image are important for health and happiness, and according to the Cleveland Clinic, there are steps you can take to improve your self-image.
Here is what you should know about self-image and body image, what affects them, and how they can impact health.
What Are Body Image and Self Image?
Self image is how you perceive or think of yourself. It can include how confident you are, how proud or ashamed you are of choices you have made, and how competent you perceive yourself to be.
Body image is one area within self image. It refers specifically to how you perceive your body. It might include thoughts about your appearance, your weight, and the shape of various features of your body such as your nose or other facial features.
The Cleveland Clinic explains that many people improve their self image and body image naturally as they get older. It’s common to be more accepting of oneself, one’s abilities, and one’s physical features with age.
However, many people do not have a positive self image or body image. They may be disappointed in their accomplishments and feel that their failures have outweighed successes.
Importance of Body and Self Image
Does it matter whether you have a positive or negative body image? It turns out that your body image and self image can impact your physical and mental health. If you see yourself as a a success, as someone who is a good friend, and someone who is attractive, you may have different choices and experiences than if you see yourself as a failure, someone who can’t isn’t a worthy friend, and someone who is unattractive.
Someone with a positive self image may…
Be confident in social settings
Make good dietary and activity choices because they “know” they can succeed
Apply for a promotion
Try or learn new things
Someone with a negative self image may…
Avoid social settings and miss events
Avoid new or challenging situations
Make poor dietary and activity choices because “it’s hopeless”
Do the minimum at work
Ways to Improve Body Image
1. Be a Good Friend to Yourself
Think about what you might say to a friend who has a poor body or self image, and tell yourself the same types of things. Here are some possible compliments to pay yourself.
“You’re always there for your friends.”
“You always try hard to make people smile.”
“You make healthy choices when you can.”
“You have a unique sense of style.”
“You are dependable and responsible.”
“You are funny and cheerful.”
Keep repeating these positive affirmations, and they may start to replace negative thoughts you have about yourself.
2. Dress Nicely
There are more reasons to dress nicely than for vanity, work, or a date. Dressing nicely can help you feel more confident in social situations as well as in your own abilities. Choose clothes that you enjoy wearing, and remember that the decision is yours. For example, if you’re not happy in a bikini, don’t wear one. Instead, you might choose a fashionable bathing suit with a skirt and top to cover more of your body.
Another benefit to dressing well is that it may help you get more active. Did you know that nearly 7 in 10 Americans say they’d work out more if they liked their workout clothes more?
3. Lose Excess Weight
Losing weight if you’re overweight can help improve body image and self image. How you look may not be the most important reason to lose weight, and it may not be the biggest motivating factor. However, if you do lose extra pounds, you may find yourself more proud of your body.
Let’s get this clear, though. It’s not about fat shaming. It’s about being healthy, and lowering health risks and being able to do more things in your body. A recent study explains that overweight people can face psychological challenges due to poor self image due to obesity.
Lark can help you lose weight, and there’s not an ounce of fat-shaming involved. Instead, your Lark coach is always happy to see you, offer a tip or two, and help you build healthy habits through small changes.
4. Eat Well
Eating well can improve self image if you feel proud of your good choices. For example, you may feel proud if you take the time to make a healthy dinner instead of picking up fried chicken and mashed potatoes on the way home. Knowing that you can make good food choices can empower you to make smart decisions and take calculated risks in other areas of your life.
Eating well also feels good physically. A healthy lunch, such as a salmon bowl with brown rice and vegetables, can help you feel more energized and less sleepy throughout the afternoon than having something like a burger and fries. Lark can help you make healthier food choices that can carry over to the rest of the day.
5. Be Physically Active
The long list of benefits of exercise includes improved heart health, lower risk for diabetes and some cancers, improved brain function, and better weight management. People who are active can also have higher self-esteem.
Physical activity can put you in a better mood and help you feel better about yourself. Strength training in particular can also help you feel more toned and stronger, which can improve body image.
6. Spend Time with People Who Value You
Your friends matter. When your closest friends have healthy behaviors, such as eating well and being physically active, you’re more likely to make healthy choices. Friends can influence your mental health and self-image, too.
Mayo Clinic says that positive friendships can have the following benefits:
Improved feelings of self-worth
Better ability to cope with hardships
Higher levels of happiness
Maintaining old friendships and building new ones can be challenging, but it can be worth the effort. You can support friendships by taking the initiative to reach out or make plans rather than waiting for others to ask you.
How Lark Can Help
How you see yourself is hugely important for your health, and you can take steps to turn your body image into a positive factor. Lark can be there 24/7 to cheer you on and support you as you make healthy choices that can make you proud. With Lark, you can get motivation and coaching on building healthy habits around food, activity, and more.
Click here to see if you may be eligible to join Lark today!
Lark helps you eat better, move more, stress less, and improve your overall wellness. Lark’s digital coach is available 24/7 on your smartphone to give you personalized tips, recommendations, and motivation to lose weight and prevent chronic conditions like diabetes.