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Body image

Girl looking in a mirror.

Have you ever thought that there was something wrong with the way you look? Do you think that you are too short or too tall, too heavy or too skinny?

If you have had thoughts like these, you are not alone. These feelings about how you look are called body image. Body image and self-esteem are tied together since body image can affect how you feel about your whole self. When you put yourself down about how you look, it can lead to negative feelings about yourself in general. Poor self-esteem can also lead to eating disorders that can put your health in danger.

If you start to have negative thoughts about your body and the way you look, think about all of the traits that make you special and unique. Look at your whole self — body and mind — in a positive way and write down what you see. Need a hand getting started? Focus on the good things in your life by using the girlshealth.gov Just 4Me log.

Or before you go to bed at night, name three things you did that day that made you happy. By focusing on the positive aspects of your life you can feel more positive about yourself! Don't forget to give yourself compliments too! Say it out loud when the day is done! Like, "Today I played my best in our soccer game," or "My family loved the dessert I made tonight!" or "My friends really liked the jokes I told them."
If you are struggling with an eating disorder or just can't seem to feel better, talk to an adult you trust right away.

Remember:

  • You are beautiful!
  • You are one of a kind!
  • Real beauty comes from inside!

Are you stressed about your body?

During adolescence, your body is going through many changes that are happening at a fast pace. These changes might make you feel unsure of yourself at times, or stressed. They might make you worry about your size and wanting to fit in with the rest of the crowd.

Click below to see if you have some of the same worries other girls have about their bodies:
 

(If the tool above does not appear, please take a look at our text version of this tool.
Viewing the above requires the Adobe Flash Player.)

What do young women like you think about body image? Watch these clips to see and hear what they have to say!

During puberty, not only will you get taller, you will also see other changes in your body such as wider hips, bottoms, and thighs. Because your body is starting to produce new hormones (like estrogen), your weight may change and your body, which has both muscle and fat, will also start to have more fat compared to muscle than it did before. Changes in estrogen levels can also cause mood swings – especially around your period.

Try not to worry! Each woman changes at her own pace and all of these new changes are normal. While you are experiencing these changes keep your self-confidence up. How? By taking good care of yourself, eating healthy foods, and getting regular exercise.

For more information see Changes in Your Body.

 

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Content last reviewed May 18, 2010
Page last updated April 09, 2014

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