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  • Writer's pictureTiffany Lowther

Body Image Resources for Girls, Women, Pregnancy & Postpartum



Oh, how the body changes as do our feelings toward it. Puberty (menstruation), pregnancy/postpartum, perimenopause, and menopause are significant life transitions that can impact how one feels inside and towards our body.


The resources below may help if you want to improve and understand your body changes, body image and what to expect during life transitions. These resources might be helpful if you have a complicated relationship with your body, and let's be honest, who doesn't? If you have a history or current eating disorder, make sure to speak with a licensed medical and mental health provider with that specialty and training. You can explore the National Eating Disorders Alliance (NEDA) for more support and research. You can read below for a brief definition of body image and two popular body image movements before exploring the resources.


Body Image: Body image refers to an individual's perception, thoughts, and feelings about their own body. It encompasses how one sees and feels about their physical appearance, including factors such as size, shape, weight, and overall attractiveness. Body image can be influenced by various external factors, such as societal standards, cultural ideals, media representations, and personal experiences.


Body Positivity: Body positivity is a social movement and a mindset that promotes the acceptance and appreciation of all body types, regardless of size, shape, or appearance. The primary goal of body positivity is to challenge and reject societal and cultural standards that often promote a narrow and unrealistic definition of beauty. This movement advocates for embracing diversity and recognizing that every body is unique and worthy of respect and love.


Body Neutrality: Body neutrality is a concept that encourages individuals to shift their focus away from appearance and instead appreciate their bodies for what they can do and how they function. The idea is to cultivate a more neutral or balanced perspective, detaching self-worth and value from physical appearance alone. In contrast to the emphasis on positive or negative feelings about one's appearance (as in body image), body neutrality suggests acknowledging and accepting the body without placing excessive importance on its aesthetic qualities. This approach can be particularly helpful for individuals struggling with body image issues, as it redirects the focus from external appearances to the body's capabilities, strengths, and the experiences it enables.


What do I choose?:

Some choose to focus more on body positivity or body neutrality. Some people pick aspects from both. If you like affirmations and addressing cultural standards, body positivity might be best for you. If you prefer to spend less time on appearance and more time on function, then body neutrality might be the better avenue to explore."


Resources


Body Image Books:

The Honest Body Project by Natalie McCain

Embody by Connie Sobazk

Matrescence by Lucy Jones 

The body is Not an Apology  by Sonja Renee Taylor

Body Respect by Lindo Bacon, PhD

The Beauty Myth by Lindo Bacon, PhD

Health at Every Size by Lindo Bacon, PhD


Podcasts:

Food Psych Helping you make peace with food and break free form diet culture

Maintenance Phase Wellness and Weight Loss, Debunked and Decoded

Body Love -Nutrition and body movement

I am One - Podcast through Postpartum Support International where staff and volunteers reflect on their pregnancy and postpartum journey

Mom & Mind - Postpartum and Pregnancy podcast


Body Image Course:

Body Image by Tiffany Roe


Post-Pregnancy Body Image Articles:

Predictors of Mothers’ Postpartum Body Dissatisfaction Women Health. 2009 Sep; 49(6): 491–504.

Pregnancy and Body Image — Office on Women’s Health


Lowther Counseling Services, www.LowtherCS.com, 2024




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