Body Image And Self Esteem
Body image, how’s yours doing? If merely my mentioning the term, “body image” makes you squirm; you need to get a grip. Let’s put on our big girl pants and face the facts that many of us have a toxic relationship with our body shape and size. When gaining 1 or 2 pounds ruins your day or the words, “’I look fat, ugly, or old,” cross your mind or your lips more than once a day, you’ve got issues with your body image.
Body Image and the Diet Industry
OMG! Gasping for air trying to squeeze into your jeans, you suddenly realize the jeans that won’t budge past your thighs are your “fat day” jeans! The jeans that used to be baggy are now cutting off the blood supply to your lower extremities. To drop the extra pounds, you do what millions of other people do when their waistlines expand, look for the diet industry’s latest miracle eating plan.
Emily light of HuffPost Healthy Living, calls out the marketers of diet industry in her post “Everything The Diet Industry Is Marketing to You is BS.” She reminds us that both food and fitness are big business, driven by sales. It’s nice to think your health and wellness are these companies’ top priorities, but the bottom line is…their bottom lines. Food corporations have special interest groups that lobby on their behalf, meaning they are highly influential in politics and directly impact how much you pay for a product, how it’s labeled and how it’s marketed. So while the diet industry is making you scared of (gasp!) bread, it’s also telling you those pre-packaged gluten free, dairy free, sugar free cookies are “all natural” and totally healthy!
Body Image and Self Esteem: It’s time for them to Get Along
It’s time for a new; picture of yourself to push the old one aside and take the stage. It’s not easy to reprogram old, “I look like crap” mindset. But, it is possible to train yourself to be more pro “YOU” about your appearance.
Body Image: The 3-Step Guide to Better Self-Esteem
Step 1: Think Twice
Pick a day and write down all the negative things you say to yourself about your body. For example, “I’m so fat, I’m disgusting,” or “Why can’t I look like I did ten years ago?” Then challenge each thought with three questions:
- Does the thought contribute to your stress? (Surely the ones above do.)
- Where does it come from? When you were young did your father say, “Aren’t you getting a little pudgy?” Was your mother obese and did that embarrass you? Was she hyper about her weight and self-critical when it crept up? Are you bombarded with images of women on TV and in movies who never seem to age?
- Is your thought a logical one? Okay, it may be accurate to say that you weigh more than is healthy for you or more than you’d like. But how about the emotional tags—disgusting, unlovable, old? Some people concentrate on hating their bodies because they can’t bear to deal with the real issues that are troubling them”, says Marianne Legato, MD, a professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the author of Eve’s Rib. Whether or not that’s the case for you, there’s a huge leap of logic between overweight and disgusting. If you saw a woman your size, would you feel ill or think she should look the way she did ten years ago? “We don’t use the same kind of language about ourselves that we do about others.”
Step 2: Make New Rules
Try writing out this list and taping it somewhere you’ll see it all the time—your full-length mirror, perhaps, or your refrigerator or desk.
1. I will refrain from speaking disparagingly about my own body and weight, even during female-bonding moments. (“I can’t believe I ate all that,” “I look like a pig.”)
2. I will avoid making negative remarks about the appearance of others. (“She shouldn’t be wearing those pants,” “She’s porked out lately.”)
3. I will consider ending a relationship with any man or woman who causes me to feel terrible about my body or tries to control me with comments about my looks.
Step 3: Start Moving and Make Peace with Food
If you want a shortcut to positive body image, start moving.
“Experience the absolute joy of trusting your body and the knowledge that it works beautifully with all your muscles fully developed,” urges M. Ellen Mahoney, MD, a breast cancer surgeon in Palo Alto, California. “When you have athleticism, it’s more than keeping a body healthy. It’s a state of mind, a self-image, a way to overcome the inevitable things that happen with aging and the extraordinary things that come with bad luck.”
Rather than changing what you eat, try to change your relationship with food. Take the following steps:
- Eating may be your way of rebelling, handling stress, squelching anger or finding comfort. Keeping a diary may help: Every time you put something in your mouth, record what you were doing before that moment and how you were feeling both physically and psychologically. After a week or two, look for patterns. Can you determine the triggers, other than hunger, that prompt you to eat?
- Once you recognize what pushes your emotional hunger buttons, start devising alternate responses, like taking a walk around the block, listening to a relaxation tape or jumping into a hot shower.
- Make meals more social. Sit down to dinner with family, a friend, a partner—no TV, no reading material. Sharing a good, healthy meal is nourishing both physically and emotionally, leaving you fully satisfied—and it sets a good example for children. It’s not just about the food; it’s also about community, bringing people to the table.
Try to remember that food is what fuels your body and your dreams. Stop thinking of food as the enemy. Food is not the enemy. And the more you can stop beating yourself up for eating, the easier time you’ll have controlling your weight. Via oprah.com
OOPS-I almost forgot. There’s one more critical step to help boost your self-esteem……
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