Better Body Esteem® Begins with Awareness

In a previous blog post, I presented the Five A’s of Better Body Esteem®, beginning with awareness. In 12 Step recovery programs, awareness is about admitting you have a problem. In the Transtheoretical (Stages of Change) model developed by Prochaska and DiClemente, it’s the contemplation stage you reach once you’ve passed through denial.

Lack of awareness can lead to prejudice, misunderstanding, ignorance and hatred – of yourself or others. Awareness can mean opening yourself up to honestly see your own feelings, or educating yourself to better understand what a friend or family member, or society as a whole is going through.

Here are some signs that someone may have body image issues:

  • The person is unable to accept a compliment, always discounting the statement or changing the subject
  • The person has put their life on hold until they reach a certain weight (e.g., not buying new clothes, starting a relationship, going back to school, finding a job, or participating in activities)
  • The person’s only barometer for life is what other people are doing or saying – Buddhist teacher and author Pema Chodron has a saying, “Don’t bite the hook,” meaning that regardless of who around you is talking about dieting or unrealistic/unhealthy eating goals, you don’t need to join them.

You can also take an online quiz called, “Do I Respect My Body?”

Most people seek awareness and information first via the Internet these days, though it’s important to choose reliable sites such as Something Fishy, NEDA, Mirror, Mirror or others listed on our Resources page. We love books at White Picket Fence Counseling Center, so please contact us for our recommendations. The Renfrew Center also provides a helpful book list and other resources.

If you’re having trouble tuning out the “fat talk,” in your own head or amongst the people in your life, these resources can help you tune in to a healthier reality. You can also tune into or to be inspired by today’s intelligent and creative thinkers.

This post was originally published on the White Picket Fence Counseling Center blog at