Body Image Advice from Teri Hofford

Teri Hofford, jumping on a tennis court, on the left "Teri Hofford" is written in large white letters.

In this BIT post, we interviewed Teri Hofford, and discovered her body image advice.  Teri is a body image educator, award-winning photographer and best-selling author.  She knows that to be happy, and like your body, it’s important to find small bits of happiness every day.   As teens, many of us struggle to with body image issues, and liking the way we look.  Teri, whose main mission is to challenge and empower humans to shift their focus from constantly changing their bodies to changing their mindset, shares below tips for us as teens to improve our body image. Read below to see Teri’s advice for teens.

SBOH: What are your top 3 tips for teens to accept themselves as they are?

Teri Hofford: 1. Practice the art of curiosity and critical thinking. Asking yourself “why do I do this?” “Who taught me that?” “What thought will help me move through this?” Everything we take in helps form how we think of ourselves, if we realize we can take control we will be better for it!

2. Watch what type of content you consume. Do you follow folks who make you feel worse or better about yourself? Do you think “Oh I wish I could be like them” or “If I had XYZ, then I’d be successful too!” Or are you someone that says “At least I’m not like so and so.” Comparison is a dangerous game, but one that is absolutely common for literally every person – just use that curiosity to figure out WHY you are comparing – what do they ACTUALLY have that you desire?

3. Look at yourself with kind eyes. Catch your negative thoughts (whether about the body or not) and redirect them into neutral or positive ones. Understand that we have bad days, sad days, bad body image days, etc. But they are all temporary so if we can be kind to ourselves we will be better for it. Also, fill up your own cup – the things you wish people would say to you, start saying to yourself. Everything else is a bonus.

Purple background with 5 people's hands coming together to make a heart.

SBOH: What is something simple that teens can do to like themselves more?

Teri: Find the things that bring you joy and confidence and do them for you and no one else – I don’t know a truly confident person that truly hates their body.

SBOH: What is one thing in your life that made you realize that having a positive body image is so important? 

Teri: We waste so much time and energy trying to change ourselves to fit a mold that is going to change every 5-10 years. It’s silly and a distraction. There are a lot of more important issues in the world than having hair on our legs or fat on our arms or pimples on our faces. Bodies change, that’s what they do. Let’s use this energy and attention and shift from fixing our bodies to fixing the world!

SBOH: What gives you a small bit of happiness everyday? 

Teri: Looking at the clouds. It sounds silly, but I love going for a walk outside, breathing fresh air and marveling at nature. After all, we are all made of the same things – so if I love nature, I love me too.

SBOH: What are some words you live by or an inspirational quote?

Teri: My favorite quote is “Disappointment is the gap between expectation and reality” by John Maxwell and “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

The first one helps to see where I’m setting myself up for hard feelings by putting unnecessary expectations on my body/self. And the second one reminds me to be conscious of who I’m spending time with because as humans we adapt to the people around us – if they hate their bodies, I will too. If they complain about themselves, I will too.

If you, or someone you know, is really struggling with their body image, talk to a trusted adult or call:

1-866-NEDIC-20 (1-866-633-4220) (Canada)

(800) 931-2237 (USA)

We hope that these tips help you feel better about your body, know that you’re not alone, and give you a small bit of happiness. 


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