Healthy Living in the North

Love our bodies, love ourselves

Purple wristbands that say: Love Our Bodies, Love Ourselves

Finding ways to foster positive body images is important for our mental and physical health. National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 1-7) is a great time to think about how to cultivate a positive body image in yourself and others! (Photo by Kimberly Strain / Courtesy of PEDAW)

This blog post was co-written by Marianne Bloudoff, Sandi DeWolf, and Rilla Reardon. To learn more about all of our blog writers, visit our Contributors page.

This week, February 1-7, is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This year’s theme is “Love Our Bodies, Love Ourselves.”

Body image is our own perception and feelings of our physical appearance. It is shaped by our life experiences, personality, culture, and social influences. While many experiences will help us to develop a positive body image, some will do the opposite and foster a negative body image.

Body dissatisfaction is one of the best known contributors to the development of disordered eating patterns and eating disorders. This starts early in life. It is estimated that 40 to 60 per cent of girls aged six to twelve are concerned with weight, and this carries on throughout their lives. Finding ways to foster positive body images is important for our mental and physical health.

Here are five steps you can take to help cultivate your own positive body image:

  1. Appreciate everything your body can do, not what it can’t. There are countless things our bodies do every day that we take for granted. We also all have our own unique skills and abilities like painting, running, or public speaking. Keep a list of all the things you can do, and read it often.
  2. Remind yourself that true beauty is not defined by your physical appearance. Confidence, self-acceptance, openness, honesty – these and many other traits all make you beautiful. Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of body.
  3. Choose to wear clothes that are comfortable and make you feel good. Work with your body, not against it.
  4. View media messages with a critical eye. Be aware of how images and slogans make you feel about your body and remind yourself that these images do not depict reality.
  5. Focus your time and energy on positive things instead of worrying about food, calories, or weight. Do something to help others. Not only will this make a positive change to your community, but you will feel good, too.

If you think that you or someone you love has an eating disorder, please contact the Northern Health Eating Disorders Clinic at 250-565-7479.

Additional resources:

Poster with the phrase: Your weight is not your worth.

The Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness Campaign (PEDAW) is a great resource if you or someone you love needs support. (Poster artwork by Gillian Berry / Courtesy of PEDAW)

Marianne Bloudoff

About Marianne Bloudoff

Born and raised in BC, Marianne moved from Vancouver to Prince George in January 2014. She is a Registered Dietitian with Northern Health's population health team. Her passion for food and nutrition lured her away from her previous career in Fisheries Management. Now, instead of counting fish, she finds herself educating people on their health benefits. In her spare time, Marianne can be found experimenting in the kitchen and writing about it on her food blog, as well as exploring everything northern B.C. has to offer.