Body Image

Many students, both women and men, struggle with feeling good about their appearance and bodies. How you view your body can affect your health, sense of well-being, enjoyment of life, and even your academic performance. Negative body image can also be a precursor to disordered eating. As many as 20% of college students experience disordered eating of some type.

In a recent study of college students:

  • 74% of normal-weight females reported being unhappy with their weight or appearance
  • 46% of normal-weight males reported being unhappy with their weight or appearance

There are several strategies that can help improve your overall body image:

  • Challenge critical comments about your body. Whether they are coming from you, someone you know, or the latest beauty or fashion advertisement, question the messages that cause you to think negatively about yourself.
  • Create a list of the things you are thankful for that your body allows you to do. Add to it often. For instance, “I appreciate my body, because…”
  • Don’t let your weight or shape keep you from activities you enjoy. Participate in physical activity because it’s something you enjoy, not because you feel obligated to. Try an activity that you thought you’d never do, like kayaking on the Potomac or taking a relaxing yoga class.
  • Surround yourself with people who remind you of your inner strength and uniqueness. Make more time for people who accept you for who you are now.
  • Remind yourself that perfection isn’t real. No one’s body is perfect–even the celebrities you see on magazines and television. 
  • Contact campus resources to discuss if you are concerned.

Campus Resources:

Carol Day
Director, Health Education Services
1437 37th St NW, Poulton Hall Suite 101
(202) 687-8942

Meghan Dimsa
Director of Campus Recreation, Yates Field House