Body Image Concerns in the Transgender Community
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

7 tips to work on your body image

Transgender body image tips

Body image issues are especially prevalent in the Trans community. This can lead to worsening mental and physical health if not addressed. 

Let’s Talk About Body Image

You have probably heard the term body image before. We often refer to our body image or self image as good or poor. Yet, most of us don’t often stop to think about what body image actually is and where it comes from.  

Your body image develops over time. It is created based on how you view your body including your thoughts and your feelings about it. This can include physical aspects about your body such as the size, weight, shape, sex assigned at birth, or other characteristics. Body image also includes the attitudes about the body. Where we learn to view our body this way can be from our culture, family, peers, media, coaches, teachers, and many other social pressures. We learn that we can be accepted or rejected publicly or even in our own homes based solely on our appearance.  

Many of us start very early comparing ourselves to others. We may look at what they have, how tall they are, how others view them, if they appear happy or not, or any list of things. The biggest issue with comparing is that we often compare what we dislike in ourselves to what we envy in others. Then layer this with cultural pressures of how we are “supposed” to look and suddenly, holding onto a positive body image can become very difficult.  

Now if we layer onto these challenges a level of stress related to incongruity between sex assigned and birth and gender identity things get even more difficult. The nature of living in an incongruent way means that a person is not able to feel truly confident in who they are. If we cannot show up as our authentic selves, then we are forced to mask up and try to show up in a way that is more socially or societally acceptable. This incongruence impacts body image and confidence negatively. The research supports that body image improves for many trans individuals after receiving gender affirming treatments and procedures.  

This is not to say that gender confirming treatment will fix someone’s negative body image or give them positive body image though as there can be new expectations that arise surrounding the body after receiving treatments or procedures. Feelings around the body can differ greatly at different stages of the transition journey. Achieving body neutrality or body positivity as a transgender individual may feel a bit like a moving target.  

So what can you do?

There are a number of ways to start working on your body image.  

1. Reduce the brain space.  

My number one tip is to spend less time thinking about the physical body if you can. Focus on building other things in life that take up the brain space and take space away from thinking about the physical body. This might include a new hobby, a non-physical goal or spending more time with people who support your authentic expression.  

2. Practice gratitude for your body.

Appreciate the body that you have as it is now and as it continues to change because no matter who you are, the body will and should continue to change. The science does not support motivation through hate. You cannot hate yourself into the body you want.  

Appreciation might look like practicing gratitude about your physical characteristics (“I love that my legs get me up and down stairs, I am grateful that my arms hug the people I love, I appreciate that I have a genuine smile”). You can do this with a written or verbal gratitude practice.  

3. Spend more time with people who unconditionally accept you for who you are regardless of how you look.

Practice letting them accept you and express that acceptance of you and your body even if you are not in a place of self acceptance yet.  

4. Find others who are accepting of themselves and their own bodies.  

This may look like body neutrality or body positivity. Both of which can be refreshing to be around. If there are not people like this in your current social groups, try to find a virtual support group (see the resources listed below).  

5. Take care of the body using healthy behaviours.  

Take care of your body the way you would take care of someone you love. Give it enough water, enough nourishment, adequate sleep and down time, a form of movement that brings you joy, and speak to it kindly if you can.  

6. Social media cleanse!  

Make sure you have filtered the media you are receiving in a way the works to support a more positive body image and prevents you from falling prey to negative body pressures.  

If these are your closer family and friends posting information, remember, you can always mute, unfollow or even block their content.  

7. Seek professional help. 

The reality is that people with negative body image are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. These are contributing factors to the development of an eating disorder. Find a professional who has specialized in working with body image in marginalized groups who can help you work through these challenges.  

The longer poor body image persists without attention and support, the more likely a person may be to experience negative mental or physical outcomes or to engage in extreme behaviours as an attempt to modify how they feel. Given the high prevalence of anxiety, depression, and eating disorders in the transgender community, negative body image is a concern that must be addressed seriously.  

If you or someone you love is struggling with negative body image, please reach out for support. Our compassionate and experience dietitians are here to help. Contact us to learn more.

Check out my feature on Healthline: Nutrition Guidelines for Trans People. 

Find a Support group in your area or online: 

Trans Unite | Find a Transgender Support Group in Your Area 

Interested in seeing a difference? Craving confidence? Let us help you love the body you live in. 

If you are looking for food freedom, a caring supportive co-pilot, and creating sustainable habits that fit into everyday life, we can help.

Don’t forget to check your health insurance! Many insurance plans cover Dietitian services.

Looking for more related content? Check out these related blog posts on our blog:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As seen in


Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This