For an accessible version or to translate, visit:


Scan to view online

Session 1

Parents and Carers – Body Image and Healthy Eating

Session 1

Introduction to body image

  • Share this page
  • Download this page
  • Leave feedback

Track your progress

Reset this module Reset this session

Please note: Answers & notes will be reset

TO Body Image & Healthy Eating - Parents and Carers

Welcome! For any parents and carers looking to support young people who may be struggling with negative body image, pressure to look a certain way, and food or eating. Start your journey towards modelling body positivity by learning that your value as a person is more than appearance, weight or calories. Learn how to develop young people’s self-esteem, question beauty standards and diet culture, and learn more about the body’s energy and nourishment needs.

Feeling comfortable in your body

Understanding hunger

Breaking free from diet culture

Download sessions once complete

Brought to you by

East London
NHS Foundation

NELFT NHS Foundation Trust

Body image is not a 'vanity thing'

How we think of our bodies inside our minds

What is body image?

Changing your body does not necessarily
change your body image!

Body image is the way we think and feel about the way our body looks and functions, and the way we behave and treat our bodies. Its about how we evaluate our appearance, and how we relate to our bodies more broadly.

We can’t always see the extent of somebody’s body image struggles. It can be linked to so many aspects of oneself, as the body image iceberg shows!

Body image is the way you...

What is negative body image?

Young people with negative body image struggle to feel good about their body or appearance.

Poor body image can impact on young people's self-image and contribute to low self-esteem.

Many things can contribute
to negative body image.


Evaluate your appearance.


Think and feel about the way
your body looks and functions.


Behave, treat and
relate to your body.

Body image and disordered eating

Body dissatisfaction may be a risk factor or symptom of disordered eating.

Risk Factor

Negative body image may lead
to dieting or disordered eating.


Negative body image tends to be prominent in those experiencing disordered eating or diagnosed with an eating disorder because higher value is placed on body shape and weight when determining self-worth.

What does negative body image mean to young people?

Thinking that how I look matters more than my health

Worrying that my friends are negatively judging my appearance

Feeling like my worth is based on how others see me

Feeling uncomfortable in my own skin

Feeling like there is something wrong with my body

Being constantly aware of what might be wrong with my appearance

Being very critical towards my body

What does positive body image mean to young people?

Being happy with how your
body actually is

Not letting your appearance rule your life

Recognising that who you are as a person is more important than how you look

Believing how healthy your body is to be more important than how it looks

Feeling comfortable with your body

Realising that the perfect body does not exist

Accepting your body for how it is

Positive body image vs Poor body image

  • Their appearance does not define their value as a person.
  • Accepting their body regardless of whether it meets societal beauty standards.
  • Feeling connected to their body and being able to listen to it more.
  • Feelings of gratitude towards their body.
  • Does not mean being vain/showing off. Vain = happy if meeting ideals of beauty.
  • Dissatisfied with appearance.
  • Being obsessive and preoccupied with their appearance.
  • Worrying about how they look and are perceived.
  • Having low self-esteem.

Negative Positive

Building a positive body image
isn’t about changing how you look.

It’s about changing how you think about how you look and your behaviours as a result.

You can encourage your child to make a choice to start thinking in a more accepting way towards their body.

Support them to adopt behaviours that foster positive body image.

You can remind them that they can choose to change the way they respond to appearance-related situations. Encourage more accepting and realistic thoughts. Over time, doing so will help yield more positive feelings towards their body.

Myths and misconceptions

There are many myths about body image; these can be triggering and maintain your young person's negative body image thoughts. Let's review some common misconceptions...

Explore body positive literature

...and encourage your young person to do the same.

Pretty is a Lie – Nikita Gill

What if I told you the word pretty is a skin deep, 6 letter prison they put you in.

They say if you lost some weight you’d be so pretty.

If your skin was clearer, you’d be so pretty.

But what they really mean is, if only you looked like our mass produced ideal, you’d be so pretty.

Let me tell you a secret, they do not want you to know.

Nothing about you is pretty, nor will it ever be so.  You see pretty is too small, and simply a word to capture the exquisitely complex human phenomenon that you are.

Every atom of you was plucked between the quiet between supernovas and stars. A carefully chosen palette of your skin, your eyes, your muscles and bones from sunsets and skies.

Since I don't look like every other girl, it takes a while to be okay with that. To be different. But different is good.

Serena Williams

You all can judge my body all you want, but at the end of the day it’s MY body. I love it and I’m comfortable in my own skin.

Simone Biles

You define beauty yourself. Society doesn't define your beauty.

Lady Gaga

Clean the social media lens...

1. Remind your young person to see their body as an instrument, not an ornament.
2. Consider a media cleanse.
3. Encourage them to take responsibility for their own thoughts
and actions.
4. Join forces to see more and be more! Choose to reject objectifying posts, unhelpful accounts and toxic conversations.

Good accounts to follow

  • @the.wellness.psychologist
  • @danaemercer
  • @antidietriotclub
  • @bodyimage_therapist
  • @laurathomasnutrition
  • @bodiposipoet
  • @pixienutrition
  • @drcolleenreichmann
  • @thebodylovesociety
  • @beauty_redefined
  • @nudenutritionrd
  • @tallyrye
  • @meganjaynecrabbe
  • @foodandfearless
You’re empowering.

I like your voice.

You’re strong.

I think your ideas and beliefs matter.
I’m so happy you exist.
You’re a very warm hearted person.

It’s nice seeing such kindness.

You’re very down to earth.

You have a beautiful soul.

You inspire me to become a better person.

You’re intelligent.

Your confidence is refreshing.
You’re great at being creative.
You’re so talented at ___.

You have great taste in ___.

I wish more people were like you.

Compliment your young person on their strengths!

Write down 2 compliments to your young person,
other than their appearance.

Think about their qualities: caring, kind, loving, honest, their
ambitions etc...

Choosing to highlight traits unrelated to appearance
helps to reinforce the idea that self-worth is based on
so much more than appearance.



Well Done!

- Completed
You have

References or Creators Credit


My Notes

Supporting Videos

The Fight, Flight, Freeze Response

If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?

Mindful Eating