Here on Diet Blog our aim is to promote positive body image. As one of our forum posts rightly pointed out recently, the message is Eat Right. Get Healthy, not Get Anorexic.

If you're a regular reader on our forum though, you may have noticed the number of posts from readers who appear to have disordered eating or obsessive behaviors surrounding dieting. It makes for pretty sad reading at times.

But, why is that some people -- especially young women -- will go to any lengths to achieve what they perceive as the perfect body image?

To me, a healthy body image means having a real perception of your size and shape, and feeling comfortable in your own skin. A negative body image is a distorted perception of body shape and size, often comparing your body to others, and experiencing anxiety about how you look.

This is no joke. Having a negative body image will effect every area of your life, and it often leads to bouts of depression and unhealthy dieting habits.

So, how can you begin to develop a positive body image?

1. Respect your body
That might sound a bit cliché, but if you don't have respect for yourself, you won't care about exercising, eating well, or thinking better thoughts.

Alternatively, when you respect your body, you won't be so rash to try extreme weight loss programs and fitness regimens. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, you certainly won't be trying to get fatter, as we heard a few days ago.

2. Focus on what matters
Think about it -- conforming to the world's view of the perfect body image won't change much in the grand scheme of things. When you get to the end of your life, what will truly matter to you? My guess is that being pencil thin won't seem so important after all.

3. Stop comparing yourself
When you compare yourself to others you always lose. If you pour over glossy magazines on a regular basis, it won't be long until you start feeling bad about how you look.

Rather than focusing on getting the perfect body, wouldn't it be better to work towards making the body you have the healthiest it can be?

Remember, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. If you want to change your lifestyle to get healthier, that's fine -- but don't do it because you're trying to reach that elusive fantasy body!

Obviously, there's so much more to be said on this subject, I'd love to hear from all of you -- if you could give one piece of advice to someone with body image issues, what would it be?