Ever notice how an overweight man has no problem taking his shirt off and playing frisbee in the park with his friends. But a woman who is not overly fat may never wear a bikini because of cellulite or a little flab that she can’t get rid of. More and more young men are starting to report body image issues, nevertheless, women are still the largest consumers of diet pills and are more prone to eating disorders than men. As women we are often our own worst critic. For whatever reason we’re not always able to see what is staring us in the face when we look in the mirror. It’s as if we’ve been socialized to always see room for improvement and never acknowledge the good.
Every woman is uniquely different. Some of us are apples and others are pears. Even the best personal trainer can’t turn an apple into a pear. The secret to maintaining a healthy self-image is learning to make peace with your own image. You should love yourself as much on day zero as you do on day ninety. I’m afraid the fitness industry has done women a huge dis-service by always showing the ultra thin or ripped model as the image of perfect health. Before and After photos only tell one part of the story. If you watch shows like the Biggest Loser or those Beach Body infomercials you can get a distorted view of weight loss. The only way your going to lose 50 pounds or more in 90 days or less is if you have a.) A Personal Trainer, b.) A nutritionist or follow a very restricted diet, and c.) You workout upwards of 10 hours a week often completing multiple workouts a day. Quick dramatic weight loss is amazing and motivating but it’s almost impossible to maintain that extreme level of effort for more than six months.
There is one thing however, that I love about the Biggest Loser and that is they do address the emotional and behavioral aspects of weight loss. They do a good job of putting it all into perspective when it comes identifying the reasons people are obese and the shift in thinking that needs to occur if they are ever going to change the underlying habits that contributed to their obesity.
Regardless of what the scale or tape measure says, when you get out of the shower and pass in front of the mirror your reaction should be ‘look at the beautiful woman in the mirror’. If you instead cringe or immediately wrap yourself in a towel so you don’t have to see yourself I have a few tips on how to embrace your image.
- No More Hiding: It’s time you face yourself and for the first time see what is really there. When you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror from now on, stop, and smile and then say, “Hey good-looking” or “Your one foxy lady”. Begin replacing that negative self-talk with something positive. Just smiling will lift your spirits and then adding the positive words will be a quick boost to your self-esteem. It may take a while before you really believe it but just keep at it until this becomes your favorite time of day.
- Chart A Course: If you happen to have an eating disorder or have been diagnosed as obese create a plan of action to reverse the curse. So often we begin to feel helpless especially if this is a problem we have dealt with most of our lives. But there are psychiatrists, physicians, and personal trainers who are qualified to help you work through the complexity of your issue and break it down into a handful of steps you can take to break free and be at peace.
- Don’t Believe The Hype: The media is designed to promote people and products in their best light and so don’t get sucked in by what you read in a magazine or see on television. Every decision you make about your health should be based on your genetic make up. Every decision you make about your self-worth and how you see yourself should be based on your own truth and not someone else’s opinion.
Little Things You Can Do Today
- Determine to be your own biggest fan. Commit to always make decisions that show the same love or kindness for yourself that you would reserve for others.
- Get rid of your enablers. Doesn’t matter if it’s a parent, sibling, or spouse; if they are not encouraging or do things to sabotage your efforts you need to distance yourself from them for a season until you get things under control. You can still associate with them but don’t share your insecurities or challenges with someone who does more to hinder than to help.
- Determine your ideal healthy weight or dress size. Find a picture of you at your healthy weight. Place the photo somewhere you will see it everyday to remind yourself that it’s possible to be that size because you once were. Or if you don’t have a photo go buy a dress in your ideal dress size. Place the dress in your closet where you will see it everyday and every three months hold it up to yourself and see just how much closer you are to trying it on.
- Promise yourself you will live each day in the moment. There is not need beating yourself up over yesterday’s binge or how thin you were before you had your children. The past is the past and the only time you have to work with is right now. Making healthy choices right now, today will change your tomorrow.
Women In History
Answer to Last Week’s Question: La Leche League
This Week’s Question: Name the female founder of the weight management program that was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1983 and is now headquartered in Carlsbad, California.
Until Next Week,
Nicole D.P.McLaughlin, PT
- Why Can’t I Lose Weight? (frommichigantomontana.com)
- Sometimes S.M.A.L.L is Better! (gotrainergirl.com)
- ‘Stranger Here’ reveals physical and mental pain of obesity and gastric bypass (examiner.com)