Body Appreciation Key to Healthful Aging

Poor body image can produce poor health outcomes for aging women. By shifting the narrative about the natural body changes that occur during puberty, pregnancy, peri-menopause and menopause from body problems to be fixed, to body appreciation, we can improve overall health and wellbeing for women of all ages.

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The Myths of BMI Can Hurt Your Health

Have you ever heard these?

“If you just try hard enough you can lose weight.”

“If you live in a bigger body, or gain weight, even a few pounds, you should lose weight. It’s simple and 100% within your control.”

If your Body Mass Index (BMI, which is simply your height to weight ratio,) labels you as “overweight” or “obese,” societal assumptions are made that you’re lazy, lack willpower, don’t care about your health.

Oversimplified and inaccurate ingrained beliefs like these have led to cultural weight bias, an obsession with the number on the scale and weight-centered approaches that are harming, not helping, health.

As a community, in our homes, schools, workplaces, and wellness and health care spaces, we can facilitate a weight neutral approach for better overall health outcomes.

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Embrace body in all its forms for self care

Body dissatisfaction and eating challenges are on the rise, affecting every sector of our population, from our youth to our elderly, but with an alarming increase among teens, young adults and children of increasingly younger ages.

“We’ve reached a point in history where nearly every person is in some way affected by society’s heightened focus on beauty images, health and weight,” say Connie Sobczak and Elizabeth Scott, co-founders of The Body Positive.

We have the power to create the necessary cultural shift to save the next generation from negative body image as a root cause of many unhealthy behaviors with food and exercise.

You can learn to live peacefully and healthfully in your body by becoming competent in the five core skills of the Be Body Positive Model. The model teaches us to reclaim health, practice intuitive self-care, cultivate self-love, declare our own authentic beauty and build community.

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Ditch post-pandemic body talk

As pandemic restrictions ease, an alarming reality emerges. Instead of feeling only relief, many of us feel self-conscious about how our bodies have changed. Let’s resist the urge to apologize for our own bodies or comment on other bodies, remove weight-centric health messages in our community and ditch diet culture’s short-term “fixes” and instead, learn to trust our bodies.

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