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How Can I Feel Better About My Body?

Do you ever wish you were as thin as a model or as strong as your favorite pro football player? Maybe you wish you were taller or just shaped a little differently. Those thoughts are a natural part of growing up.

But learning what you can and can’t change about your body and appearance is part of growing up, too. It can be hard to accept — even for teens and grown-ups. But when people accept the way they look, they often feel happier.

No Magic Potion

If you wish you could change the way you look, you might want to talk with your mom, dad, or a trusted adult about what is bothering you. Some kids are frustrated that they’re not growing and developing as fast as their friends.

This can be a confusing time in your life. It’s important to know that puberty doesn’t happen at the same time for every kid.

And there aren’t any magic potions or special exercises that can rush it along. Even if a boy lifted weights, he wouldn’t be able to develop big muscles like teen boys and adult men have. And a young girl won’t grow breasts until her body is going through puberty.

If you are concerned about your weight, your mom or dad might want to take you to visit your doctor. You may find out that your weight is fine. If your doctor agrees that your weight could be healthier, he or she can suggest ways to help make that happen, such as eating healthier and getting more exercise.

Food and Fitness

Eating healthy foods and being physically active can make all kids feel better about their bodies. Why? Because eating a healthy diet will help you feel energized and keeps your body working just the way it should.

Watching TV and playing computer games can be fun, but it doesn’t do much for your body because your body stays still. Those are called sedentary activities because you sit while you do them.

But when you move your body — by playing, dancing, participating in sports, or even cleaning your room — you exercise your muscles. When you exercise a muscle, it gets stronger. And when you have strong muscles, you can do whatever you want to do, from carrying a heavy backpack to booting a ball into the soccer net. Goal!

Kids (and grown-ups!) feel better about their bodies when they feel strong and know that their bodies can do whatever they want them to do. So climb a hill, jump some rope, ride a bike, swim a lap, run up the stairs, or even do the hula — and enjoy all your body can do!

Reviewed by: D’Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: January 2012