How do you recognize signs of negative Body Image in yourself or others? How do you support someone displaying those signs?

Let’s remember that we all have an element of a distorted view of our bodies as well as complicated relationships with food.

All of the following are “normal” to a certain degree:

-Experiencing body dissatisfaction, being preoccupied with body weight, shape or appearance

-Struggling with feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem and/or disordered eating due to body dissatisfaction

-Having shame, anxiety, and self-consciousness about your body

-Frequently comparing your body to others and feeling that your body is flawed


-Obsession with body size and shape

-Extreme weight loss

-Refusal to eat, denial of hunger even when starving

-Labeling foods as good or bad. 

-Fixate on eating foods that give a feeling of being healthy

-Obsessively going to the gym

How to support:

-The most important thing is to Notice changes in behaviour

-Begin conversations if you see someone is not him/herself 

-Build self-esteem and confidence; there is more to being a human than what you look like

-Celebrate diverse shapes and individuality

-Praise the actions of the body not the appearance, function OVER form

-Take the focus off numbers on a scale - encourage balance between healthy eating and exercise

-Talk about Appetite awareness

  • Practice intuitive eating: I like to call it appetite awareness, being mindful and listening to hunger cues letting us know to eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full

  • Notice emotional eating which happens when we are not able to confront certain feelings so we eat instead: am I hungry for food or do I need something else?

  • Watch your language - avoid labeling foods as “good vs. naughty”  and talking about “what to avoid”. Aim for balance and moderation.