Brave Bodies is a community-focused organisation established to support students in feeling good in their bodies and promotes a definition of beauty and health that includes all people. Brave Bodies honours every person’s unique knowledge, life experiences, and ancestral inheritance. Our ultimate goal is to help young people change the way they relate to health and their bodies, in hopes that together, we can reduce the number of eating disorders, disordered eating and negative body image.
The Body Positive curriculum, in which the Brave Bodies programme is modelled, has been developed to take on this national health challenge and eradicate the harmful consequences of negative body image and identity issues.
Body image disturbance is defined as “A distortion of perception, behaviour or cognition related to weight or shape.” Body image disturbances in young people can become the predictor for other issues such as:
Alcohol and drug abuse
Unhealthy weight loss behaviours
Poorer academic outcomes
Considering New Zealand’s alarming rates of both suicide and disordered eating – with children as young as 10 being referred for eating disorder services there has never been a more urgent time for the Brave Bodies programme.
The Brave Bodies programme provides discussion groups where young people who have concerns about food, exercise and/or body image issues can come to find support and community. One of the positive outcomes of the Brave Bodies groups is breaking the silence and isolation young people feel about their relationship with food and body image problems. These groups can also connect students who disclose serious eating problems with treatment resources offered by the school or in the community.
Brave Bodies Programme follows the 5 Body Positive competencies created specifically to address negative body image being the root cause of so many self-destructive behaviours in teens. This model consists of 5 life skills that promote a healthy, confident relationship to one's body.
Uncover messages that have influenced your relationship with your body and develop a weight neutral, health centred approach to self care.
Practice intuitive self care
Learn to listen to and follow your body’s wisdom and acquire tools and resources to help you eat, exercise and live intuitively.
Cultivate self love
Develop a practice of self love and employ compassion, forgiveness and humour as you leave behind the need for self criticism.
Declare your own authentic beauty:
Experience beauty as a creative, dynamic process and inhabit your unique body with joy and confidence.
Connect to others through a shared positive approach to beauty, health and identity and role model love and respect for your own body.
THE BRAVE BODIES PROGRAMME: Consists of 8x 45-minute classes
Exploring body messages
Body and Beauty Stories
Practising Intuitive Self Care
Confidence vs Conceit
Declare your own authentic beauty
“We foresee a future where people of all ages are able to reclaim their health and beauty and grow in their self-loves so they can lead truly healthy and engaged lives and become positive role models for their families and communities” - The Body Positive
The programme discussion groups will initially be run by Michelle Yandle Licensed The Body Positive Facilitator, teacher and nutrition coach with the goal of training Taranaki youth to run the support groups in their local communities.