Developing a positive body image and healthy mental attitude is crucial to a woman’s happiness and wellness; except in today’s society we are finding it harder than ever to be body positive.
We are in a society where we are constantly bombarded with unrealistic images and photographs of women that have been ‘Photoshopped’ or doctored, which is unhelpful if your body image isn’t strong and confident.
If we have a healthy body image, we are eating normally, feeling good and taking care of our health because we like ourselves. If we have an unhealthy body image, we are likely to be eating emotionally or in some form of diet disaster, cutting out food groups or throwing ourselves into the gym in an unhealthy fashion. Struggling with body image is not uncommon and I teach people that this can be changed by the way we think, instead of trying to change our bodies! Here are my top tips to quit body bashing once and for all.
Stressing out about your body is not helping you. Take a breath and relax. The first thing you need to learn is to get your head in the right place. If you are constantly judging yourself and being mean to yourself, it is going to make everything worse. Remove your judgements.
Exploring ‘why’ you think what you think about yourself and asking yourself kind questions speeds up the process of understanding yourself and therefore changes your perspective and your behaviour. Judging yourself means you remain stuck and closed. Quit the judgement and be kind.
Stop placing yourself as ‘less than’
You are not. You are equal to. There will be some things that you can do and some things that others can do. This is called life. If we could all do and look and be exactly the same as each other, what kind of boring world would that be? Step into your uniqueness and own it. No one is you, and that in itself is a superpower.
Body bashing doesn’t get you where you want to be
If you want to get out of a rut with yourself or you want to stop eating emotionally or draining yourself at the gym, the truth is you have to learn to accept yourself first. You cannot hate yourself thin. Hating yourself leads to bingeing and dieting and restriction and more binging and more dieting and… You get my drift. Learning to accept yourself – where you are now – is the first step towards overcoming any issues you have with your body.
Even if you can try to turn one thought around each day, that will be a great start. Instead of looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking ‘I hate my…’, try ‘I can accept my… because…’ You will be amazed at how learning to accept yourself can bring you the peace you are looking for, and it is then that your body will return to its natural set weight. Quit the hate!
You are more than the size or shape of your body
Today’s society tells women that to be ‘worthy’ you have to be tiny. That is not true. Quit conforming and start questioning. Question who is telling you that to be worth something you have to be a certain size? Who is telling you that to be beautiful you have to be thin? These people might not be right. We live in a culture where people feel it’s okay to comment on your size and shape. It isn’t. Everybody’s body is unique to them and no two are the same, so trying to define your worth by your size is unnecessary. You are more than the shape of your body.
Healthy is more beautiful than any size
Start thinking about ‘health’ rather than ‘size’. Remember that reading magazines and looking at six-packs on Instagram just contributes to the brainwashing of our society and culture. It’s important to remember that a lot of pictures are doctored. Most ‘real’ people look real – that includes scars, stretch marks and spots! If you are going to obsess over social media and pictures in magazines, do it with the right head on.
Get cool with being imperfect. We are all perfectly imperfect and trust me, in the years of coaching I have done, the thousands of clients I have seen, I am yet to meet a ‘perfect’ one. So if you think you know someone who is perfect, I would suggest stepping out of your imaginary world and looking at the facts.
Body love through social media
Social media can actually help you overcome any body issues if you unfollow the people that you think make you feel bad and follow people who are health- and body-loving. Following women with a positive body image, who are real – for example, the new supermodels Ashley Graham or Robyn Lawley, will be beneficial for your confidence. Size and confidence come from within, so looking at pictures of people who promote this will help your body image.
If you still feel the need to compare, take a look at where those thoughts stem from. Did you learn somewhere that you were not good enough? If so, question the hell out of that thought and teach yourself to turn it around. It isn’t true. We are all given a set of beliefs and we all, as adults, have a choice as to whether we choose to hold on to those beliefs or challenge and change them.
My suggestion is any belief you think is keeping you small or holding you back needs to be worked on. Challenge it, look for evidence to prove the opposite is true and then go out into the big wide world with a thought that feels amazing. Because the truth is, you are.