Learning to love your body can be a difficult task, and truly is related to the psychology of how you see yourself, how kind you are to yourself, and understanding and living within your own value system (and creating a healthy value system). Understanding and developing your personal values is its own exercise and takes time and gaining self-awareness (more on personal values in a future post). Improving body image, and learning to appreciate your body at any size as you are losing weight, is a significant factor in keeping on track with the weight loss process, reducing the likelihood of discouragement leading you off track, and finding more enjoyment in the process. Without a change in the way you think about and view your body, you are at risk of being unhappy at any size, and this is a tremendously common problem. You are also at increased risk for experiencing depression, isolation, anxiety, obsessions, and low self-esteem.
Michelle Levine, Ph.D. and Linda Smolak, Ph.D. put together 10 “Will Powers” for Improving Body Image. I find these useful in my own practice, and in my own weight loss journey. I have been multiple sizes, and even smaller when I first lost all of my weight, but I have found a weight and size I am happy with and that is easily manageable for me.
Learn to love your body for all of the amazing things it can do, focus on more than just diet/exercise/body image in your daily life, focus on building your overall self-confidence, and learn to love yourself and your life! Life is about much more than being a certain size or having a “perfect” body… whatever that even is!
Tips from 10 “Will Powers” for Improving Body Image, article by Michelle Levine, Ph.D. & Linda Smolak, Ph.D. …
- I WILL ask myself: “Am I benefiting from focusing on what I believe are flaws in my body weight or shape?”
- I WILL think of three reasons why it is ridiculous for me to believe that thinner people are happier or “better.” I will repeat these reasons to myself whenever I feel the urge to compare my body shape to someone else’s.
- I WILL spend less and less time in front of mirrors—especially when they are making me feel uncomfortable and self-conscious about my body.
- I WILL exercise for the joy of feeling my body move and grow stronger. I will not exercise simply to lose weight, purge fat from my body, or to “make-up” for calories I have eaten.
- I WILL participate in activities that I enjoy, even if they call attention to my weight and shape. I will constantly remind myself that I deserve to do things I enjoy, like dancing, swimming, etc., no matter what my shape or size is!
- I WILL refuse to wear clothes that are uncomfortable or that I do not like but wear simply because they divert attention from my weight or shape. I will wear clothes that are comfortable and that make me feel at home in my body.
- I WILL list 5 to10 good qualities that I have, such as understanding, intelligence, or creativity. I will repeat these to myself whenever I start to feel bad about my body.
- I WILL practice taking people seriously for what they say, feel, and do. Not for how slender, or “well put together” they appear.
- I WILL surround myself with people and things that make me feel good about myself and my abilities. When I am around people and things that support me and make me feel good, I will be less likely to base my self-esteem on the way my body looks.
- I WILL treat my body with respect and kindness. I will feed it, keep it active, and listen to its needs. I will remember that my body is the vehicle that will carry me to my dreams!
Find this article here…
This website also provides useful information and resources for individuals struggling with eating disorders. Find national support, or conduct a search for local support in your area, in addition to resources online. www.nationaleatingdisorders.org