About a year ago, I saw Jennifer Hudson on Oprah talking about and showing off her weight-loss. She went from a size 16 to a size 6, and wouldn’t disclose how many lbs that was. Strange. Anyway, she looks fabulous. She talked about her mind not catching up with her body….I so know what that feels like. I was lost in that place. A skinny body and I wasn’t ready for it, despite working my butt off for it, I felt scared. I’d go shopping and just like JH, I would go to the larger sized clothes, instead of the small size that I was. My head never caught up with my body…until I was fat again, then all felt normal. Fat feels comfortable even though being this fat is uncomfortable.
Acceptance Begins Now, During the Weight-Loss Process
Improving body image is not something that can be put off till after a weight-loss goal is achieved. I did it that way and failed miserably. It’s something to be done now, in preparation for the massive loss. Body image is a learned belief propagated by our life experiences and the input from the people around us. Lots of different beliefs went into shaping our present self-image. To change this, we have to find out what we believe.
How Do You Change Body Image?
For one week, keep a journal nearby and write down the thoughts that pertain to self-image. Don’t censure them, just chronicle them.
At the end of the week, see what you have. Look at this self-talk and think about where each thought originated from. Was it something your mom said to you? Did your schoolmates say this to you? Did you read about it? Or is it something you came up with when facing the cultural images of perfection that are thrown at us each day?
Now, write a positive and loving statement for each negative one. These are your new affirmations that you will essentially brainwash yourself with. This positivity is being created by you, not by an outside force. Keep this new list of beliefs near you and refer to it frequently, and when a negative message pops into your consciousness. Eventually, the new will replace the old.
Changing body image doesn’t end with this exercise, you have to make changes in your routine as well. Make sure when you do this that you take steps to achieve the goal of a better body image. Set yourself up for success by making goals that are quantifiable and achievable.
- Eat well and drink lots of water. Eat foods that are delicious as well as healthy. Enjoy your nourishment and keep to a schedule of three meals a day plus two snacks
- Exercise daily if possible. Attune yourself to the pleasurable feelings that accompany a good workout.
- Pay attention to your clothes. Wear things that make you feel good because you look good in them. Don’t try for perfection, just go for feeling good.
- Continue to work on the inside…improved body image radiates from within.
I revised my ultimate goal when I set out to lose weight. I know I had the wrong goal the last time I lost. This time I’m shooting for a size 12. Not too thin. I should be approximately 150 lbs. My focus is on the size rather than the pounds. Totally attainable.
- Have a goal of 30 lbs to lose, 1-2 lbs a week to achieve it. Do that 5 times.
- Exercise 4 times a week for a minimum of a half hour each session
- Put together five outfits that look good and make me feel good and plan my week with those outfits.
- Journal daily about the negative voices that cloud my self-image. Do the exercise above and challenge the negative script running through my head
Better self-image is a journey just like weight-loss is. So, I’m adding this to my blog focus this year.
How do you view your body? Have you changed your body image and if so, how did you do it?
Great articles to read:
http://kalimunro.com/wp/?page_id=1048 Changing Your Body Image
http://my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy_living/mental_health/hic_fostering_a_positive_self-image.aspx Fostering a positive Self Image
http://www.webmd.com/healthy-beauty/guide/love_your_body_inside_and_out Look and Feel Great At Any Weight
http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Body_image_issues_for_men Body Image – Men