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Learn to Love What You See in the Mirror

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you like what you see? Women in the U.S. are under pressure to measure up to a certain social and cultural ideal of beauty, which can lead to poor body image. Women are constantly bombarded with "Barbie-like" doll images. By presenting an ideal difficult to achieve and maintain, the cosmetic and diet product industries are assured of growth and profits. It's no accident that youth is increasingly promoted, along with thinness, as an essential criterion of beauty. If not all women need to lose weight, for sure they're all aging - which is a "disaster" sure to happen - just ask any middle-age anchorwoman or model - if you can find one.

Other pressures can come from people in our lives.

* Family and friends can influence your body image with positive and negative comments.
* A doctor's health advice can be misinterpreted and affect how a woman perceives and feels about her body.

Celebrate and Nourish Your Body

"Developing and nurturing a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude is crucial to a woman's happiness and wellness!"

Building a healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and physical activity is important to improving body image. We all want to look our best, but a healthy body is not always linked to appearance. In fact, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes! Developing and nurturing a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude is crucial to a woman's happiness and wellness!
Change Your Body Image Not Your Body

It is important to remember that when you change your body image, you don't change your body, you change the way you think about your body.

Essentials to developing healthy body image include:

* eating healthy
* regular exercise
* plenty of rest

Eating healthy can promote healthy skin and hair, along with strong bones; exercise has been showed to increase self-esteem, self-image, and energy; and plenty or rest is the key to stress management - all of these can make you feel good about your body.
What is body image?

With a positive body image, a woman has a real perception of her size and shape and feels comfortable and proud about her body. With a negative body image, a woman has a distorted perception of her shape and size, compares her body to others, and feels shame, awkwardness, and anxiety about her body. A woman's dissatisfaction with her body affects how she thinks and feels about herself. A poor body image can lead to emotional distress, low self-esteem, dieting, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.

And don't forget your kids! The attitude of parents about appearance and diet affects their kids' attitudes. Read how to positively influence your child's body image.

For More Information on Women's Health, see

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