How do you feel when you look at your body? Most of us will see what we think of as our imperfections first. It’s interesting that we mostly see flaws in ourselves, and yet when others look at us they may only see the good things.
What is Body Image?
- How you feel about how you look
- How you see yourself
- How you think others see you
- How you feel in your skin
For me, a healthy body image means feeling good inside my skin and, whilst I acknowledge my flaws and want to work on improving them, I also accept, and am mostly at peace with them.
Body Image and Self Punishment
If you were to ask the people in your life what they think of their bodies, you’d find that most have varying degrees of unhappiness, and some will have set out to punish themselves for not having what they think of as the perfect body. They may do this by:
- Denying themselves food
- Obsessing about eating or not eating and never enjoying a meal
- Obsessing about exercising or not exercising instead of enjoying being active
- Following faddy diets
- Constantly worrying about how they look rather than focusing on their health and quality of life
Having a positive body image is so important to our overall health and wellbeing because it naturally follows that you will want to take care of your body; you’ll want to exercise regularly and eat well because you know that it makes you feel good.
Imagine how it would feel to be so comfortable in your own skin that you don’t care what other people think. It’s achievable, but it’s an ongoing goal, particularly if you’ve spent years comparing yourself to the unattainable, air brushed pictures we see in magazines. Our ability to criticise ourselves and put ourselves down becomes a habit and, as with most worthwhile endeavours, it takes a long term strategy to break the habit.
Start Taking Action Now………..here’s how:
- Stop Criticising Yourself – Treat yourself with kindness and compassion, as you would a friend. Stop the cycle of anxiety which results from the negative things you say about yourself, and constantly picking on your flaws. See your body as a whole and concentrate on what you love about the way you look.
- Eat Regularly – Food is not an enemy. Remind yourself that you really can control yourself and eat healthily – a good place to start is to ensure that you get rid of foods that are too tempting to have around. Then stock up on healthy options so that you always have something healthy to eat.
- Accept that perfection does not exist – No matter what is portrayed in Hollywood films or magazines by using clever lighting, professional make-up artists or air brushing there is no perfection. Reinforce this by people watching, and really notice all of the different sizes and shapes. We’re all unique, and that is what makes us interesting.
- Exercise – You’d expect me to say that, but it’s a proven fact that people who exercise have a higher self-esteem. The more you exercise, the more you’ll build confidence and appreciate what your body is capable of – it’s also a major mood booster.
For me, having a positive body image is tied up with self-respect, and the ability to appreciate and live every day with as few physical restrictions as possible – so it really is more about what my body can do, rather than focusing entirely on what it looks like.