Are you searching for some encouraging words on body image? I found a great quote by Oprah Winfrey. It is such a powerful statement that I want to share it with you and discuss the importance of a healthy self image.
“Say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks!”
“Say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks. Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.
This is a call to arms. A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the story line that says you’re too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step toward transforming your experience of the world.”
I agree wholeheartedly with Oprah that we have actually allowed the media to make us feel inadequate. We have succumbed to unhealthy diets — and sometimes painful exercise just to “fit in”.
I believe that you were uniquely designed. Some of us are thinner than others. I also believe it is perfectly normal to exercise and eat right so you look great in a bathing suit — or getting those “guns” to look good in a t-shirt. However, not everyone has the time or the desire to look like a model on the cover of a fitness magazine.
Interestingly enough, an unhealthy body image does not discriminate. This type of self-loathing can occur for any body size. When I was a size two, I was never satisfied with my looks. Now, I’m a size 6-8 with lots of curves and I love the way I look. Am I motivated by vanity? Sure I am. However, I am no longer a slave to it. I exercise, eat healthy, and focus on living a balanced life.
A poor self-image sabotages your weight loss.
An unhealthy body image leads to yo-yo dieting, over training, and unhealthy eating patterns. These patterns can actually cause weight gain. Yo-yo dieting and over training can actually cause your metabolism to slow down. Being unhappy with your body can cause binge eating which will destroy your hard work. At this point, guilt can set in which may lead to depression and often times more binging.
What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror? Years ago a fellow fitness coach used the phrase “watch your words, your body’s listening!” That forever stuck with me. When you speak negatively about yourself, your subconscious accepts the information as truth.
And, since the brain “fights to be right,” your subconscious will automatically want to carry out what you said about yourself. If you say “I have a big gut,” then your brain will agree. You will do what it takes to maintain that “big gut.” This is not just ooky-spooky hocus pocus. This has been proven by neurologists!
You can develop and maintain a healthy body image — here’s how:
1) Discover what you want! Take time to write what you want your health and body to look like — not how the media says you should look. Research what it would take to accomplish these goals. Then decide if your goals are realistic and mirror the life you desire. Not everyone wants to be at the gym five days a week.
Once you have a reasonable set of health and fitness goals, ignore the outside chatter. There will always be some new diet or pill, a well-meaning friend, and Lord knows the magazines waiting to tell you that your plan is not ambitious enough. Or, that their way is better. My favorite is the person posing and asking “don’t you want to look like me?”
Now, I’m not saying to be closed-minded on a better way of doing things. I’m saying you should always question if a health or fitness idea fits into your life and values.
2) Speak Success! Tell your body what you want, not what you don’t want. When you look in the mirror, use phrases like “I am losing weight,” or “I have a flat stomach.” In the beginning this can be tough. You tend to think “you are lying.” However, you are not. In my favorite success book, The Bible, it says “speak as if it is already.” This is called faith my friend! You are believing you can accomplish your goals!
Negative thoughts will enter your mind. That’s normal. You’re human! Just don’t let them leave your lips. Replace each negative thought with a positive statement. If that’s tough in the beginning, use one of my favorite personal quotes. If you don’t have anything nice to say about yourself, don’t say anything at all. You wouldn’t say something that mean to a friend, so why say it to yourself?
Leave notes around the house as reminders to speak positively about yourself. This will help you build the mental muscles you will need to make success talk a habit.
3) Birds of a feather flock together! Pay attention to how your friends talk about their own bodies. Do they have a healthy self-image, or do they tend to put themselves or others down? Now I’m not suggesting you dump all your friends. Sometimes we need to examine if a relationship is healthy for us or not. If you notice friends putting themselves down, take the opportunity to respond with positive attributes you can point out about them. This practice will help you do the same for yourself. And, you will discover people just can’t seem to get enough of you!
A healthy self-image is critical to losing weight and maintaining it without having to be a slave to dieting. This is powerful my friend. Take it seriously!
Have a question or a tip on overcoming body image issues? Please comment below. I want to hear from you!
Blessings to you and yours!