Promoting a Positive Body Image - Dr Jessica Alleva


Dr. Jessica Alleva joins Shannon to clarify misconceptions about positive body image and the body positivity movement. She emphasises that positive body image involves loving and respecting one's body, appreciating its functionality, and challenging societal appearance ideals. The movement promotes acceptance, inclusivity, and self-compassion, countering harmful beauty standards. Dr. Alleva discusses the Expand Your Horizon intervention, which employs techniques like challenging cognitions and emphasising functionality to foster positive body image. You will also hear more about how personal experiences and changes in perspective can lead to positive body image, learning from women who have used their rock bottom moments to advocate for positive body image.

About The Guest

Dr. Jessica Alleva, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of psychology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Her mission is to help people develop a healthier relationship with their own bodies. Jessica’s research investigates novel strategies for improving body image, as well as the factors that can make us feel better (or worse) about our bodies. She is also an Associate Editor for Body Image, the leading scientific journal in the field of body image research.

This Episode Is A Must Listen For:

  • Individuals seeking clarification on misconceptions around positive body image and the body positivity movement.
  • People experiencing negative body image and need a counter balance to the harmful messages sometimes seen on social media. 
  • Individuals looking for a combination of effective interventions and techniques on promoting a positive body image.
  • Those who want to feel comfortable in their bodies and inspired by personal experiences of developing positive body image.

Key takeaways:

  • Positive body image involves loving and respecting one's body, appreciating its functionality, and not conforming to societal appearance ideals.
  • The body positivity movement promotes body diversity and challenges societal beauty standards, fostering acceptance, inclusivity, and self-compassion.
  • Negative body image often arises from societal influences, and the positive body image movement provides a counterbalance to these harmful messages.
  • Functionality appreciation, focusing on what the body can do, is crucial for positive body image.
  • Combining different techniques like challenging cognitions, regulating emotions, addressing body avoidance/checking, and functionality appreciation is essential for effective interventions.

Further Resources:

Listen to the full episode to discover what it truly means to develop a positive body image and how you can become empowered.