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How you see yourself
From the website

What is body image?
'Body image' is the picture you have in your mind of your size, shape and general appearance - and how you think and feel about it. It can be positive or negative.

Unfortunately, it's all to easy to measure this picture against the slim and beautiful 'ideal images' in the media and magazines - and if you don't measure up (let's face it, who does?!), you may feel very negative or dissatisfied.

Body image and self-esteem
Having a negative body image can get to the very core of your self-esteem (how you like and regard yourself), which can mean if you don't like your body, you don't like yourself. And if you don't like yourself, you may feel you're not capable of making lifestyle changes to control your weight or you're simply not worth making the effort for.

Even if you start a weight-loss programme, a lack of self-esteem can still come into play. If you've started your weight-loss plan and slip-up, for example, negative self-talk may come pouring out - "I've blown it as always, I might as well give up" - and throw you off course. See Coping with bad days for tips on countering such feelings.

Improving your body image
Your body image relies on how you think and feel about your body. If you think and feel that it's awful (negative self-talk again), you're bound to feel negative about it.

If you asked a friend how they view your body, their answer would probably be very different from yours. And, while not always easy, it is possible to change how you view yourself, too. Try some of the exercises below.

Be good to yourself
Do you seem to spend your energy looking after everyone else? If so, perhaps it's time to show that you really do respect your body (and whole self) by looking after it.

Like anyone else, you deserve some time out, a little pampering, good sleep, a fake tan, seeing a live band or whatever makes you feel good. If you feel good, you're more likely to think and act positively and believe more in your ability to do those things that are important to you, including manage your weight.

Body image exercises
Some of the following might seem quite difficult, but do give them a go. Come back and try again another time if need be. The more you challenge what you think about your body and yourself, the better and more positive you'll (rightly) feel.

  • List four things you like about your personality, day-to-day achievements (no matter how large or small) or any aspect of yourself.
  • List four things a close friend might say they like about your appearance.
  • List four positive things about your body, any part of it - hair, nails, waist, eyes, toes, smile, ankles.
  • Think how you respond when someone pays you a compliment. Do you brush it aside or believe it and say thanks? If not the latter, practise this new response.
  • Start each day with a positive statement about yourself. Say it a few times.
Feel-good tips
  • Try to separate self-esteem from body image. You are the sum of many wonderful and varied parts.
  • Having a more positive body image can help you to achieve weight-loss goals such as being more active.
  • Despite our 'slim obsessed' society, the effects on health are the main thing to be truly concerned about if you're very overweight, rather than appearance.
  • Keep your expectations about goal weights and rate of loss realistic. Remember, we all have different and unique body shapes.
  • Seek professional help if your feel that your body dissatisfaction is very distressing and stops you from achieving the changes you want.
This article was last medically reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks in October 2005.
First published in May 2001.
Last edited by a moderator:
Well this is deffenately how I see myself so its goes like this.

That fat girl her thighs are to big. Her hips the bulg. Her legs are white as a ghost and they are tooth pick size. Gruby buby nasty sides ware did they come from.And that but its way to big ewww. Please please let me see some ___ on me. I just want to as skinny like I used to be. Tall and skin and ___ thin as can be.

I left out some words out but im sure you know what im saying. Just thought it would be appropriate to leave out these words


LostChild, that is a very harsh analysis of yourself! Way overly harsh I would say. I'm not sure what the words were supposed to be in __ but I think I understand the basic content of what you're saying. Perhaps you should try to implement some of the techniques listed above. Some of the suggestions up there seem really good. I should probably use them too.

From all of your posts, I'm still unclear as to whether you have a problem being overweight, underweight, or a negative body image. Do you know which one it is? If you don't, maybe you could use one of those BMI calculators and it might be able to point you in the right direction just in case you're seeing exaggerations or distortions of how you really look. It's just an idea though.
Im not overweight and im not underweight. I have checked my BMI. Trust me I have everything written down. Its really hard for me to be a positive person and to really think that Im beautiful. Beautiful I an awful word I hate it. I don't know why.


Im not overweight and im not underweight. I have checked my BMI.
Well I'm really happy to hear that! Try to remind yourself of that--you're in the right weight range and that is a good place to be, health and appearance wise.

I wish you could stop being so hard on yourself. I'm sure you can see that you are being overly critical of appearance? I think that happens to a lot of us though. Hopefully you can use some of those suggestions/exercises above to help.

Sorry I wish I could be of more help, sometimes I kind of have similar feelings, I mean definitely about the skinny white legs part...but you know, summer is just starting...there's still plenty of time to get a nice (not too dark) tan :)


i think this is good advice, though i wouls say it is slightly weight orientated

keeping fit and active is always good
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