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What is body image? Can it change?

Body image is the picture that you have in your head of what you look like. Your body image is created from a bunch of different things. It’s based on things like what you know from school about health and nutrition, how your relatives look, how your friends and family talk about bodies and all of the images you see on TV and in movies and magazines. The messages we get about bodies are mixed-up and even disagree with each other. Learning about body image can help you sort these messages out and have a healthier body image.

Your body image can and does change. Your body image can change from day to day, and it can change from year to year. Sometimes you wake up in the morning and feel great! Other days, you just don’t feel so good. Your body image can also change as you grow older and your body changes.

A key to a healthy body image is appreciating what you like about your body—from particular features to your body’s health, strength or physical abilities. If you feel you have an unhealthy body image, time can change how you think of yourself and your body, especially if you learn to focus on your strengths and healthy things that make you feel good about yourself on the inside and outside.

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