Suggestions to Improve Body Image

Make “positive body image” lists and review them often.

  • List the people you admire; consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments.
  • List ten positive things about yourself, without mentioning your appearance.
  • List statements that feel true and positive about your body. Repeat these affirmations to yourself while looking in the mirror; write them in your journal; tape them to your mirror.

Lovingly care for your body.

  • Wear clothes that are comfortable and make you feel good about your body.
  • Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly. Exercise to  enjoy your body’s strength and the feeling of being alive rather than to fight or change your body.
  • Foster gratitude for your body


Become a critical viewer of the media.

  • Talk back to the television when you hear a comment or see an image that promotes an unhealthy body image.
  • Rip out advertisements or articles in your magazines that make you feel bad about your body shape or size.
  • Make a list of companies who consistently send negative body image messages and avoid buying their products. Write them a letter explaining why you are using your buying power to protest their messages.
  • Write a letter to an advertiser you think is sending positive, inspiring messages that recognize and celebrate the natural diversity of human body shapes and sizes.

Be a model of healthy self-esteem and body image.

  •  Compliment your friends on things other than their appearances.
  • Choose to challenge the false belief that thinness and weight loss are great, while body fat and weight gain are horrible or indicate laziness, worthlessness, or immorality.

Recommended Reading

Cash, T. (1997). The Body Image Workbook: An 8-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

Kano, S. (1989). Making Peace with Food: Freeing Yourself from the Diet/Weight Obsession. New York: Harper & Row.

Manheim, C. (2000). Wake Up, I’m Fat! New York: Broadway.

Newman, L. (1991). SomeBody to Love. Chicago: Third Side Press.

Pipher, M. (1995). Hunger Pains: The Modern Woman’s Tragic Quest for Thinness. New York: Balantine Books.