Do You Have a Healthy Body Image?

Kelly Coffey learned from a young age that her larger body was not a problem — it was the problem. As such, she believed, losing weight was the solution. “I assumed being thin was the magic bullet that would transform everything about me,” says Coffey, who grew up in the 1980s, well before body positivity, fat activism, and Health at Every Size philosophies were mainstream. 

But after losing more than half her body weight through weight loss surgery in her twenties, Coffey experienced only a short-term mood boost. She still had a poor self-image and self-soothed with junk food and cigarettes. Two years later, she’d regained more than half the weight she lost after surgery. It wasn’t until Coffey found healthier coping mechanisms (like weight lifting) that she developed a healthy body image. She no longer weighs herself, but she’s been around the same size for about 20 years.

“In treating my body with respect and love, I became someone who had a truly uniformly positive self-image,” says Coffey, now an ACSM-certified personal trainer in Northampton, Massachusetts.  As Coffey experienced, body image — or what the American Psychological Association defines as “the mental picture one forms of one’s body as a whole, including its physical characteristics and one’s attitudes toward these characteristics” — is not determined by the number on the scale.

Excerpted from Everyday Health

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