Last month I shared about how important it is to have a clear ‘vision of self’ based on what is realistically and currently available to you, factoring in body type, age, etc. In line with that theme let’s talk about having a healthy body image!
How much time have most of us wasted feeling discontent with our bodies? There is a balance between making necessary changes to be truly healthier, experiencing the best of what is available and sustainable and never being “happy” with our body, no matter what real changes we make!
Think of your body 20 years ago- if you’re like me, I wish I had loved and appreciate THAT body way may way back when, I will never have “it” again, and in retrospect, it was a pretty good one. Still, I spent way too much time and expended negative energy criticizing it, wishing this or that was different.
I have always been an active adult and yet like many people do, I have at times put unnecessary pressure on myself to work harder, look different, based on our Western Societal Ideal which is a tall thin model physique. Only 3% of real people have that model body available to them, and we forget that what we see on a magazine cover is sometimes the result of an eating disorder, usually airbrushed and computer perfected! These kinds of crazy comparison leads to inadequacy, negative thoughts, and diminished self esteem.
Striving for YOUR best real body is a much better goal. Unfortunately, very few people are happy with their genetics! Endomorphs, the larger physiques, which they were tiny ectomorphs. Mesomorphs often don’t like their muscles, while ectomorphs wish they had them! Alas, we mere mortals are a muddled mess at times! Rather than body bashing, we can work towards loving and accepting our bodies as we’re working hard to make them their best! Genetically we must know when it’s “as good as it’s going to get”, and then learn to love that real self!
If you have too much body fat, by all means get a plan going to get rid of it. Weak muscles can become stronger on any body type. I’m not saying accept a body that needs some fine tuning! Do some assessments if you’re not sure where you really stand to separate perception from reality. Checking your BMI is easy- you can google it or have a test done with a trainer or specialist at your gym, club, studio, or Dr’s office. Have your body fat measured in some manner. Cut through the “I’m fat” myth and see if you truly are over fat or just too hard on yourself!
Remind yourself that as you journey towards a healthier body, there are SO many other important and valuable parts of you! We place such a high value on looks, but real beauty truly is an inside job- don’t make the mistake placing a low value on healthy parts of your true inside self that are hopefully respectful, full of integrity, loving, caring, witty, intelligent, fun, involved, and generous. As we value what is most valuable within, we may pursue healthy changes more effectively, and become more confident and proud of who we are on every level. You will be remembered for more than what size of clothing you wore!
Finding peace with our own real, best bodies may take some work and time and mental reprogramming. Think back to when you developed a negative attitude towards your body. What critical thing was said to you, and by whom? Was it true? Fair? Nice? What did it do to you? How can you change that message?
Here are some suggestions to reframe self talk about your body:
*Don’t talk bad about yourself to yourself- no name calling!
*Identify parts of your body you DO like and give yourself credit!
*Be grateful for what your body does for you every day!
*Work towards a goal that is measurable, realistic, and start enjoying the journey away from comparison and towards self acceptance!
*Dump perfectionism and aim towards being HEALTHY!
Don’t give up on being the BEST version of the REAL you!