(Love your Body Pledge found here).
I came across a great post today which gave some helpful tips on how to overcome distorted body image. If you are anything like me, thinking positively about your body is a daily battle. Although this article is geared towards “plus size” women, I think it’s applicable to all women who struggle with negative body image issues.
Here are the five tips the Curvy Goddess Lounge gives for improving body image (with my two cents added):
#1 Truly Understand Imperfection.
I think part of my problem with cultivating a positive body image is my lack of acceptance that perfection is not attainable. I find myself being very critical of my imperfections and parts of my body that aren’t culturally acceptable by general beauty standards. This can be a very irrational and destructive mentality in that we are often striving for something that doesn’t exist.
#2 Don’t Talk about It.
As hard as it is sometimes to do, we really have to stop saying negative things about our bodies. Even if we don’t say them out loud, we have to stop having this unconstructive internal dialogue with ourselves about how gross we find parts of our bodies. Nothing good can come from it. If you are the type of person who often says negative things about your body in front of friends (or worse, in front of people you aren’t even close to) it’s time to stop doing it. Not only does it make people extremely uncomfortable, it can also cause them to start thinking negative things about their own body. Most of my friends know that if they say something rude about themselves in front of me, they will get a disapproving look from me!
#3 Focus on the Good.
Rather than telling yourself all of the things you hate about your body, try focusing on things you like about your body. I found this article helpful which speaks to the importance of Positive Body Affirmations. It may sound silly, but on the days when I have told myself 2-3 things I like about my body, I have had very good body image days.
#4 Set Attainable Goals.
If you do choose to “work on” your body by maybe toning, building muscle etc. don’t over do it. Many of us set out to lose an unattainable amount of weight that doesn’t really make sense for our body types or lifestyles. A few years ago, I had to accept that I just wasn’t going to be a size 4 anymore and that was just going to have to be ok with me. If I wanted to stay a size 4, I would have to do things (eat WAY less and over-exercise) that I just wasn’t willing to do. My lifestyle, genetic make-up and sanity wouldn’t allow me to maintain this size. In the same way, make sure you aren’t setting unrealistic fitness goals for yourself which will make you feel worse about your body instead of better about your body.
#5 Know when to get Help.
If you are constantly down on yourself, it might be worth exploring whether or not you have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I think many women can benefit from sitting down with a counselor and talking through body image issues. Even if you don’t have BDD, it might give you some insight into how to overcome negative body image.
Ok those are the five tips that the Curvy Goddess Lounge gives on overcoming distorted body image.
Any thoughts about this list? Do you have any to add?