Learn to Love Your Body

If you are dissatisfied with your body, you might think the solution is to lose weight, pump iron, or do thousands of sit-ups. This "outside" approach to correcting body dissatisfaction tends to be inadequate. Concern about what you look like is really a mask for how you feel about yourself, your self-esteem. Given that about 25 percent of your self-esteem is tied to how you look, you can't feel good about yourself unless you like your body and feel confident about your appearance. Weight issues are often self-esteem issues.

The best approach to resolving your body-shape issues is to learn to love the body you have. As I mentioned before, much of what you look like, your size and shape, is genetically determined. You can slightly redesign the house that nature gave you, but you can't totally remodel it, at least without paying a high price of restrictive dieting and compulsive exercising.

If you are struggling with your body image, you need to think back to identify when you first got the message that something was wrong with your body. Perhaps it was a parent who lovingly remarked that you looked good in an outfit for a special occasion—but you'd look even better if only you'd lose a few pounds. Maybe it was the siblings who teased you about your flabby thighs. Then, you need to take the following steps to be at peace with your body and learn to like yourself:

  • Rename your disliked body part (i.e., rename "ugly jelly belly" a more loving "round tummy").
  • Identify the parts of your body that you like.
  • Give yourself credit for your attractive body parts with positive talk.

If you find yourself obsessing about the look of your body, give yourself permission to live your life in a healthier way. The Declaration of Independence from Weight Obsessions (figure 13.1) provides a positive way to start accepting your body as it is. Please, do not dwell on the negative, but instead love all the good things your body does for you. It rides bikes, lifts weights at the gym, goes canoeing, and lets you have fun. How could you enjoy sports without your body? Remember that healthy bodies can come in many different sizes and shapes. You can even be fat and fit.

To start improving your relationship with your body, close your eyes and imagine that you have your desired body. Visualize the confident carriage, verbal expression, and body language you would use. Open your eyes and assume those characteristics. With practice, you'll come to

Figure 13.1 Declaration of Independence From a Weight-Obsessed World

I declare, from this day forward, I will choose to live my life by the following tenets. In doing so, I declare myself free and independent from the pressures and constraints of a weight-obsessed world.

  • I will accept my body in its natural size and shape.
  • I will celebrate all that my body can do for me each day.
  • I will treat my body with respect, give it enough rest, fuel it with a variety of foods, exercise it moderately, and listen to what it needs.
  • I will choose to resist our society's pressures to judge myself and other people on physical characteristics like body weight, shape, or size. I will respect people based on their depth of character and the impact of their accomplishments.
  • I will refuse to deny my body of valuable nutrients by dieting or using weight-loss products.
  • I will avoid categorizing foods as either "good" or "bad." I will not associate guilt or shame with eating certain foods. Instead, I will nourish my body with a balance of foods, listening and responding to what it needs.
  • I will not use food to mask my emotional needs.
  • I will not avoid participating in activities that I enjoy (e.g., swimming, dancing, enjoying a meal) simply because I am self-conscious about the way my body looks. I will recognize that I have the right to enjoy any activities regardless of my body shape or size.
  • I will believe that my self-esteem and identity come from within!

Courtesy of the National Eating Disorders Association. www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

learn that appearance is only skin deep and that your real worth is the love, care, and concern that you offer your family and friends. You'll be able to muster the courage to face intimidating situations. You can even put on that bathing suit and feel at peace!

Psychology Of Weight Loss And Management

Psychology Of Weight Loss And Management

Get All The Support And Guidance You Need To Be A Success At The Psychology Of Weight Loss And Management. This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Resources In The World When It Comes To Exploring How Your Brain Plays A Role In Weight Loss And Management.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment