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Body Image: How to Respect Your Body

Every Monday features a tip, exercise, inspiring quote or other tidbit to help boost your body image. For many of us, Mondays are tough. We may feel anxious and stressed out, anticipating an arduous week, especially if we didn’t get much rest and relaxation during the weekend. These kinds of feelings don’t create the best environment for improving one’s body image. In fact, you might be harder on yourself and easily frustrated. You might even feel like you’re walking on egg shells – with yourself! With these posts, I hope you’ll have a healthier and happier body image day, that’ll last throughout the week.

Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at [email protected], and I’ll be happy to feature it. It can be anything you do that’s healthy and helps boost your body image. I’d love to hear from you!

Having a positive body image also means respecting your body. So what does respecting your body look like?

“Respecting your body means treating it with dignity, and meeting its basic needs,” write registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in their book, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works. “Many of our clients treat their pets with more respect than their own bodies – they feed them, take them out for walks, and are kind to them.” Wow, that’s a powerful statement, and, unfortunately, one that’s true for so many of us.

They lay out the basic premises of body respect, which I view as your body respect commandants (feel free to write them down and keep them handy):

  • My body deserves to be fed.
  • My body deserves to be treated with dignity.
  • My body deserves to be dressed comfortably and in the manner I am accustomed to.
  • My body deserves to be touched affectionately and with respect.
  • My body deserves to move comfortably.

So what’s their recipe for body respect? Below are a few of the tips from Tribole and Resch’s book on how to respect your body:

1. Get comfortable. As they write, “you should not have to settle for leftovers or dowdy duds.” And that includes buying new underwear: “When is the last time you bought new underwear? Don’t laugh. All too often we have clients who feel that they don’t deserve new underwear (let alone new clothes) until they reach a certain weight or clothing size. Think about what that means at a basic level.”

You might laugh or you might not think about it at all but underwear that’s uncomfortable and that pinches is the last thing that brings your body ease – and only boosts your body phobia. Dress for the body you have right now.

2. Change your body-assessment tools. “Remember, the scale is the tool of a chronic dieter.” I love that. So Tribole and Resch suggest you stop weighing yourself and avoid using other “pseudo-scale” tools like trying on a pair of tight jeans – daily or weekly – to see if you’ve lost weight.

3. Stop body-checking. How often have you asked yourself if you’re the smallest or biggest one in the room or just compared yourself to someone else in general? You might feel like it’s automatic. But here’s the thing: According to the authors, comparing yourself to others can lead to more dieting and body dissatisfaction. And “You do not know how someone acquired their current body shape.”

The authors describe an example where one of their clients was admiring another woman’s body, thinking that she should be able to achieve the same results. Turns out the woman she was admiring was another client, who was trying to recover from bulimia.

There’s no secret that someone else knows that you don’t. There’s no need to work harder at losing weight. Some people happen to be naturally slimmer, while others may engage in unhealthy behaviors to get to a certain weight. The bottom line is that genetics play a prominent role in our weight and shape. Try to put the focus back on yourself, eating intuitively, taking good care of yourself and moving your body by doing things you love.

4. Do nice things for your body. A big part of body respect is pampering and feeling good. The authors suggest scheduling regular massages; trying a sauna; buying luxurious body creams; and taking bubble baths with oils, salts, candlelight and music. These are also great ways to reconnect with your body, which is important for your body image, too.

How do you respect your body? What are your body respect commandments?

Vote! The wonderful Evelyn Tribole has submitted an audition video for a health show on Oprah’s new television network. The top five audition videos will be finalists for getting their own television show! You can view her audition and vote here as many times as you like (the deadline for voting is July 3rd). Plus, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be featuring an interview with her on intuitive eating in the next coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Favorite post. Today’s favorite body-positive post, “The Tapes We Play in Our Heads” comes from Honoring Health. Feel free to share a fave post below.

Body Image: How to Respect Your Body

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2010). Body Image: How to Respect Your Body. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 7 Jun 2010
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