Tools to Overcome a Negative Body Image

Consider the deeper role that body image plays in your life. What factors (key events, experiences, and social interactions) have contributed to your negative body image?

Think back to when your body image started to really bother you. What other things were going on in your life at that time? What stressors, emotions, and thoughts about yourself were you dealing with?

Make a commitment to develop a healthy relationship with your body.

Learn to tolerate thinking negatively about your body image without acting on your feelings. Remembering that feelings are not facts.

Begin to establish a new and healthy relationship with your body where you are able to appreciate your body for reasons other than just appearance. Studies show that people who focus on having a healthy body rather than losing weight, do better at maintaining weight loss and avoid the yo-yo dieting cycle.

Stop checking behaviors, such as, weighing yourself and constantly checking your appearance in the mirror.

Stop criticizing yourself because you are unhappy with your body image. Would you say these comments to a friend? Are these comments true? Are they helpful in building your self – esteem?  Practice counteracting negative self-talk with positive words, such as, appreciating what your body allows you to do e.g., to walk, to see, to hear, to reach for things, etc.

Improve your sense of self-worth. Weight related self evaluation leads to and maintains very low self-esteem in general. Low self-esteem contributes to depression, anxiety, isolation, lack of confidence and a host of other problems.

Make a list of your positive traits and review them daily.

Separate your self-esteem from your weight and shape, by focusing on other areas of your life that are important to you. Complete a self esteem pie chart with: weight/shape, family, job, friends, spirituality, creativity, hobbies, achievements, appearance, morals, and values as slices of the pie. This will help to put your body image in perspective, rather than thinking it is the most important thing in your life.

All too often I hear people say, “Once I’ve lost weight I will feel good about myself, I will be happy”. Surprisingly, once we are able to accept and like ourselves regardless of how we want to be, people are happier and find it easier to make healthier choices and hence lose weight. It actually works the other way around. We only have the here and now, i.e. the present moment. So it is better to decide to unconditionally love yourself and focus on being healthy, than suspending happiness until you create a body image that you consider is good enough to meet your approval and you are happy with.

This I know is easier said than done. It is a process that requires ongoing commitment and support. However, I have seen it done over and over again in my business, where people make the transformation from self criticism to self love and become healthier in mind, body and spirit in the process