Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Body Image

How's Your Body Image? 

Did you know that about 80-90% of women and about 30-40% of men report being dissatisfied with how their body looks? 

It’s not really that surprising seeing that we are bombarded EVERYDAY with messages of how we “should” look.

And there’s no escaping these messages!  You’ll see them all over social media and regular media.  Even our friends, family, and significant others can directly or indirectly make us feel like we need to look a certain way.

This is not something to be taken lightly.  Body dissatisfaction is linked to low self-esteem, low self-worth, and depression.

What if we could change the way we feel about ourselves and not allow the messages and images we see every day to affect our self-esteem?  

Easier said than done but let’s try anyway. 



When I first started changing the way I ate and started working out it was purely because I wanted to lose weight and change the way my body looked.  Those might seem like good motivators but really all I was doing was beating myself up and I was never satisfied with my progress.

Body dissatisfaction, and negative self-talk are NOT healthy motivators.  If these are your only motivators you’ll most likely fall off the fitness wagon before long and be even more miserable.  I did it MANY times.

Your body is amazing and whether you realize it or not it’s always doing the best it can at any given moment.  If you only accept yourself as long as you look a certain way you are not practicing self-love and without self-love you’ll never be truly happy with any ‘progress’ you make.

Do you accept yourself for the way you are?

For a lot of years I was really unhappy with myself and my self-talk was terrible.  It was almost like I felt like if I wasn’t hard on myself I’d never get the results I wanted and I’d never be happy with how I looked so I just kept telling myself what a failure I was in an attempt to motivate myself to stay on track.

That was a mistake that I wasted a lot of years on. 

When I finally learned to accept myself for how I was everything changed.  I felt happier and more energetic.  My workouts started feeling like something I really wanted to do and not something that I was punishing myself with.   It freed up the mental space that was once taken up with negative self-talk so I could make healthier choices and move forward.


There Needs To Be A Mindset Shift


Instead of thinking that you need to workout and eat healthy just so you can look a certain way, change that mindset and start thinking about how you choose to engage in healthy behaviors daily because they honor and support your body.  This single shift will make you feel a new sense of freedom and motivation.

When your choices come from a place of love rather than a place of negativity and frustration your life will change.

Love and honor your body and celebrate every victory, no matter how small, instead of always looking for another physical flaw that you need to ‘fix’.

Do I still have days when I find myself engaging in negative self-talk about my body?  ABSOLUTLEY!

But it happens much less often, and when it does, I remind myself that my negative self-talk isn’t serving me.  Then I focus on something about my body that I am grateful for, or something that my body is capable of such as my strong legs that give me the ability to teach a kickass spin class, ride Gran Fondos and carry me everywhere I go!

Focus On Health First


One thing I’ve learned over the years is that health comes first.  Check in on yourself often:

How is your sleep? 

Is your energy good throughout the day? 

Are you more emotionally stable? 

How often do you get sick? 

Are you able to focus clearly when needed? 

All of these things are directly impacted by what we eat and how we exercise.  Unhealthy eating habits and not enough, or too much exercise will affect your health negatively in the long run. 

If you’re consistently practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors your body will change if it needs to and the best part is you will feel much better because your initial intention is one of self-love and self-acceptance.

When you let go of your body dissatisfaction your workouts will be more about keeping your body strong, flexible, and mobile versus fixing your appearance. You’ll be able to focus on ALL OF THE AMAZING things your body can do and that’s what’s really important.

Your life becomes so much more enjoyable when you shift away from trying to create the “perfect body,” because guess what?  The “perfect body” doesn’t exist!!!  Even the people you think have the “ideal” body, struggle with their own body image.  Choose to accept and love your amazing body because it truly is AMAZING and not something to take for granted. 

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