Have body anxieties ever impacted your life? For most women (some studies showing more than 90%), the answer is a resounding yes. If body image is something you struggle with, Spring is the perfect time of year to renew your mind and thought process when it comes to how you feel and what you tell yourself about your body.
Body image is defined as how you view your physical self. This is not only what you see in the mirror but also how you feel about living in your body and how those perceptions influence the choices you make.
Being healthy will occur at many different weights and will vary from person to person. The number on the scale is only a measure of the amount of force you exert due to gravity. This number can fluctuate from day to day and even hourly. Being healthy and happy with your body should be your main goal with weight loss as a possible side effect.
Try these seven tips to help you reframe your body image:
- Focus on your body’s capabilities! Your body allows you to dance to your favorite song, move across a busy street, or stand to cook a meal!
- Surround yourself with positive people who view you as a whole person. Internalize their compliments and give compliments in return. Compliment other’s giving praise for their work ethic or acts of compassion instead of commenting on their appearance.
- Talk to someone about your struggles with positive body image. The person you choose to talk to may be a therapist, friend, or dietitian.
- Meditate to connect with your thoughts and to give yourself time for reflection. This time can help to identify triggers in your life that might be initiating a negative body image.
- Rewire the negative pathways that have been created in your brain. At some point or at many points in your life, someone judged your body creating a pathway in your brain that is initiated every time you are triggered by a certain memory or emotion. Consistently replacing that negative thought with a positive or neutral statement will eventually rewire the pathway in your brain.
- Focus on giving your body what it needs to be healthy, to be stronger, to have more energy, or to heal. Food and specifically calories should not be viewed as a reward or punishment but as energy and fuel.
- Don’t beat yourself up when you eat something you don’t perceive as healthy. Acknowledge what you ate and move on. Do not use that choice you made to sabotage your body image. Choosing to eat a cookie is not a rational reason to be mad at yourself.
Remember the perfect body does NOT exist! Removing that image will help you be happier in your own skin. Shifting your perspective will take time, exploration and courage. Being happy with who you are and how you feel about yourself is worth the effort.
Share with us! What is the single most helpful thing you have done to create a positive body image?