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Make Peace With Your Body

Joni Hyde
©Yoga People, LLC 2017

qiqong practice

Body image is the mental picture a person has of her body. A distorted body image can have very tragic results. When we feel bad about our body our mood plummets. Unfortunately a lot of us punish ourselves for not having perfect bodies and even hate our bodies, or parts of them. This negative image poisons the rest of our self-image making it impossible to really be happy.

On the other hand, a healthy body image occurs when a woman feels positive and confident about her body and who she is.  If a woman feels good about herself it affects every part of her life in a positive way.

According to the American Psychological Association, 45% of Americans may experience anxiety or depression due to dissatisfaction with their appearance.  Sadly, it appears that we are buying into the myth that physical perfection should equal a high self worth.

Find Peace In The Body That You Have

  1. If you insist on weighing yourself to track your progress, limit it to once a month. As a woman there are too many hormonal fluctuations that can change your weight from day to day. Also, as you build lean muscle mass, you'll put on a pound or two in exchange for a few pounds of fat loss. This exchange could equal no change on the scale for a period of time. Don't let that get you down.
  2. Don't deprive yourself of food. Make smart food choices but never let yourself feel hungry. This will only defeat your efforts by slowing down your metabolism and setting yourself up for binges.
  3. Learn how to cope with stress, anger or hurt, which can often lead you to skip your workouts and make bad food choices.
  4. Accept your body as it is and don't compare yourself to others. Be aware of the negative things you say to yourself about your body and instead focus on the positive changes that you are making.
  5. Don't buy into media influences that cause you to feel bad about yourself if you don't measure up to their standard of beauty. Realize that advertisers often want you to feel bad about yourself just to sell you their products.
  6. Be consistent about taking care of yourself. Exercise, eat right and treat yourself good with occasional beauty treatments, manicures and facials.

Work Toward A Positive Body Image

  1. Understand true hunger signs, which sometimes can be mistaken for thirst. Listen to your body.
  2. Exercise regularly, regardless of if you've hit a plateau or even if you're at you've reached your ideal body weight. Regular exercise will help you continue to feel good about your body.
  3. Work toward self-acceptance and forgive yourself if you feel you've messed up. Don't punish yourself for missing a workout or for over indulging in food. Instead, react positively to yourself and get back on track.
  4. Be realistic about the size you'd like to be. Your ideal proportions are based largely on genetics so factor that in when goal setting.
  5. Seek support and encouragement from friends and loved ones as you work toward your goals.
  6. Expect to see subtle changes from week to week and revel in these small accomplishments. Rome was not built in a day and neither is a fit body. It takes consistent effort.
  7. Don't spend all your time and money pursuing the "perfect body image". Remember what is most important to you in your life and keep things in perspective. Placing too high a value on your physical self can put unnecessary pressure on yourself, taking the joy out of things that really mean the most.

Change A Negative Body Image Into A Positive One

  1. Monitor your thoughts for a few days. Notice what types of messages you're repeating about yourself. Work on changing negative self-talk by decreasing the negative messages and work on increasing the positive self-image messages.
  2. Understand what normal eating is and realize that food is not your enemy. Regular healthy food intake is necessary to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
  3. Learn to love exercise. Exercise for good health, well being and appearance. 

What can women do to avoid the trap of negative body image and eating disorders?

Start by following these simple steps.

  1. Don't dissect your body. "I hate my thighs, but I love my arms". This can harm your self-image. Appreciate how your body works together and keep it going strong with regular exercise.
  2. Stop playing food mind games. Food is not the enemy. Make it your goal to eat healthy and don't obsess over food. Allow yourself to enjoy occasional treats to prevent bingeing and keep you in control.
  3. Learn the basics of exercise and nutrition and set realistic goals for yourself. Focus on health and the aesthetic changes will happen.
  4. Realistically view your genetic shape. Study photos of your mother, grandmother, aunts and sisters to get a realistic sense of your family genes for body shape.
  5. Identify negative thoughts about your body image and challenge them with positive affirmations.
  6. Look at your self-esteem holistically. Think about what is truly important to you. Use the Holistic Health Chart at http://www.fitforwomen.com/holistic.asp to help planning for daily balancing.

Joni Hyde is the mother of one child and a certified personal trainer specializing in women's fitness with over 13 years experience. For a complete home, gym or pregnancy exercise routine under the guidance of a certified trainer, visit http://www.workoutsforwomen.com/.   Joni can be contacted at joni@workoutsforwomen.com.

Reprinted with Permission
Joni Hyde
All Rights Reserved