Let’s Start with the Man (or Woman) in the Mirror
There’s nothing more basic in battling weight loss or any issue than starting with what you see in that shiny reflective and unforgiving surface you see every day.
It’s true. Self image accounts for a good portion of how we look. According to Sarah Grogan’s 2007 edition of , she states that,
“Promotion of positive body image is important in improving people’s quality of life and physical health, and body image is implicated in a number of health-related behaviors. Although being dissatisfied with the way that we look and “feeling fat” can motivate us to exercise, it may also prevent us from engaging in organized sports activities such as joining a gym or exercising due to concern about whether we have the right kind of body to fit in with a sports culture that promotes a slender ideal…Body image factors may also influence whether we restrain our eating. Positive body evaluation has been linked with healthy eating, and we are less likely to binge eat and engage in restrictive dieting and self-induced vomiting if we feel satisfied with the way we look.”
In a nutshell, it’s important to at least have the ability to see who you are in a positive light. If you can’t even begin to do that, then what’s the point in attempting to change the way your body looks?
No, I’m not saying that you need to look in the mirror and give yourself some encouraging compliments vaguely reminiscent of Stuart Smalley from “Saturday Night Live,” though that wouldn’t hurt. I’m just saying that you need to think of yourself in a positive light, EVEN if you think there is something that you’re not fond of about yourself.
Remember, no matter what it is that you dislike, there’s no way you can hate every aspect of yourself. Find something that you like; find a few things. Take those thoughts and smile about them, hold them close. Make sure that, while you’re thinking about something that you want or need to change in yourself, you ALWAYS keep those positive feelings close by.
As a sufferer of scoliosis with pectus excavatum, I’ve had an extremely up-and-down struggle with body image. The scoliosis has curved my spine, tilted my hips and bent my rib cage; the pectus excavatum has left a huge dent right smack in the center of my chest. Believe it or not, I’ve dealt with the chronic dull ache at the center of my spine and the intermittent shortness of breath with a smile and only light complaining. It’s the cosmetic aspects of each defect that have eaten at me every day since I hit puberty.
Up until last year, I’d worn a bikini only a few times and I shied from anything with a neckline that sank below my clavicles. What changed?
It was what I said to myself in the mirror. (Not out loud, mind you. Well, not all the time…)
I stopped covering the mirror with a towel and started at least looking at myself. The next step was stopping to look at myself. After that, I worked up to appraising something else other than my perceived defects: my eyes, my ears…
It eventually got to the point where I didn’t need the mirror anymore to keep these positive thoughts flowing. They also started to focus on things other than the physical aspects, such as my mind, the smile I gave to a little kid the day before, etc. Small things, big things, anything!
Once you have these positive thoughts flowing in your head like a natural spring, it’s a hop, step and jump over to where you need to be to start making positive changes.
Try it. I dare you.
Photo courtesy P0psicle.