Body Brilliant doesn’t just 1) delve into the psychology of body image and 2) give the truth about the practical things we can do to have a healthy life and body. It also contains two other elements: quotes and experiences from lots and lots of people of all ages; and “body boosts”. I’ll talk about the quotes and experiences in a later post but first the boosts.
These are small things we can do to improve how we feel about ourselves and to keep body image in perspective. It shouldn’t dominate our lives but for some people it does. These boosts are things we can do to combat that.
Here are ten of them. Why not try one now? There are many more in the book.
BODY BRILLIANT BOOSTS
- Praise something about yourself. Respect your strength, your skilful fingers, your speed, how well you can sometimes kick or throw a ball. And your invisible skills: honesty, kindness, determination, resilience, ideas. Write a couple of those strengths on a piece of paper and stick it above your mirror. ‘I am a great friend’, ‘I am a brilliant listener’, ‘I have an amazing imagination’, ‘I try hard in most things I do,’ ‘I can run fast’.
- Start creating or finding positive slogans about body image. These were from some students I worked with but you can write whatever you want: My body is my super-power ~ Beauty is not skin-deep ~ My body, my life, my business ~ Your body is yours – own it ~ Be confident, be creative, be classy ~ It’s your body – don’t let anybody change it ~ Pills and potions don’t make you beautiful – your thoughts and actions do ~ Happiness begins when you stop comparing yourself to others. Work out which is your favourite. It can become your motto, which you’ll say to yourself any time your body image is challenged by negative thoughts or other people’s comments. Make a poster for your bedroom with your favourite quote.
- Do you look in a mirror too much? Count how many times you look during one day. Next day, see if you can cut that by half. Now, think of one thing about your appearance that you like. Next time you are about to look in a mirror, remind yourself to look at that. The more you focus on what you’re happy about, the less you’ll think about what you don’t like. You can change how you think, one thought at a time.
- Call out your parents or other adults when they say things like, ‘Oh, I’m so fat today’. Ban fat-talk at home! And not just negative comments: all comments about appearance. Make people notice how often they talk about appearance. Start a revolution where we focus on character! Make your friendship group fat-talk-free. You all pledge not to mention size: including not telling people they have lost weight. Literally no reference to size or shape. And not just when you’re talking to or about each other: when you’re talking about celebrities, too. Pledge not to laugh at a bad celebrity photo again.
- Go to a library and borrow books on art through the centuries (choosing whichever culture you want or several different ones). Research different body ideals outside the 21st century. You could make a poster to illustrate ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.
- Don’t like what an advertiser is saying? Tell them! If a company is using a fat-shaming message or one that would make body image worse, call them out! Twitter is a great place to shame companies who cross the lines. No need to do it aggressively – just ask them why they think it’s OK and point out why you think it’s not.
- Control your environment: you have the choice of what you look at online, so use it well. It will make a difference to how you feel and how you feel makes a difference to how you approach life. Do you have any images on your bedroom walls of people modelling shapes and looks that you think are artificial? Rip them down and put healthy, natural images up there! Look at real people, in shopping malls and restaurants, in cinemas and schools. See how different they all are. That’s reality.
- Start looking at photos online of ‘body positive’ people and see how confident they are in their bodies. Looking at pictures of glamorous curvy people can start to change how you think about fat.
- Think: would you rather be admired and respected for what you’ve done or what you look like? What do you want to be known for? How will you make that happen? Write a note to yourself about this.
- Walk well. When we feel self-conscious or low, we tend to slouch and walk badly. This makes us feel worse. So, walk tall, keeping your stomach muscles firm; keep your chin up so your neck is well supported; take a deep breath and hold yourself as strongly as possible.
I also have this Body Brilliant pledge. What do you think? Could you promise that for yourself? I’m trying to keep this pledge for myself, too.
Body Brilliant comes out on July 11th. You can pre-order your copy through any good bookshop, physical or virtual! Look out for giveaways on Twitter (@NicolaMorgan ~ @HachetteKids ~ @HAchetteSchools), Instagram (NicolaMorgansBrain ~ wattsandwayland_books) and this website. We have posters and postcards for schools, being handed out at all my events and the SLA/YLG conference on June 21st. And special edition mugs to be won! There’ll also be free teaching materials to download soon from my website and Hachette Schools website. Thank you to Watts Wayland, an imprint of Hachette Children’s Group, for publishing this book, for my editors’ and publicists’ support and help, and for having the idea in the first place!