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.

Look at yourself in the Mirror...Positively

Look at yourself in the Mirror...Positively.

It’s true. Self image accounts for a good portion of how we look. According to Sarah Grogan’s 2007 edition of Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women, and Children, 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.

About the Author

Alicia is a 23-year-old writer with more aspirations than she has time for. She has many loves in this life and delights in them all in turn; some of these include reading, writing and watching Clive Owen movies, much to the chagrin of her boyfriend. She was CO of her high school NJROTC unit and a Sergeant for the Police Explorers of Temple Terrace, both of which thoroughly exhausted her with years of physical training and bizarre situations. She’s been deathly afraid of combat boots, BDUs and the smell of Brasso ever since.

Community Thoughts (16)

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  1. You make a good point. A positive attitude towards improving your health and image will make a big difference when it comes to motivation. The more motivated one is, the more action they will take towards achieving their goal.

  2. StubsyNo Gravatar says:

    I Heard somewhere that you should picture yourself how you want to look, it helps keep you motivated to get there.

  3. JeremyNo Gravatar says:

    My father always taught me that attitude is everything and I believe it to this day. It works for me. Having the right attitude going into everything will provide you with confidence, no matter what nagging concerns/doubts/questions you have about yourself.

    I also remember reading once that even though we think people are judging us, people are actually more concerned about themselves to even notice how other people look.

  4. You gotta look at the glass half full. Think positive. Your mind has to be ready before your body can be.

  5. Ms SlimNo Gravatar says:

    Excelling points. Motivation is totally key with weight loss and dieting. I know for a fact that the better your and more positive your attitude to getting the weight off the more likely you will acheive the weight loss goals you set. For me, the more motivated I became the fast the weight came off.

  6. Great post… I tell this to my clients all the time. To really change yourself you have to be comfortable with your body and yourself and picture the journey! I tell my clients before we train to tell me 3 things they like about themselves before they tell me the things they want to change.

  7. ShaunNo Gravatar says:

    Sometimes looking in the mirror can be a confidence breaker. Perception is a powerful word!

  8. MichelleNo Gravatar says:

    The psychological is as important as the physical.

  9. JayNo Gravatar says:

    i know how i look and feel most of the time. To be honest, the less I look in the mirror, to see if i look good, the better i am, emotionally and physically. This is being literal of course, as opposed to really really looking at yourself and liking yourself.

  10. Jesse ReganNo Gravatar says:

    Everything that we feel show in the way we look; that goes along with how we value ourselves. When you look fat and slovenly, that means something else, right?

  11. Excelling points. Motivation and positive thinking are the key with weight loss and dieting.

  12. ShawnNo Gravatar says:

    Great information, Alicia. Thanks for the post

  13. otelNo Gravatar says:

    The psychological is as important

  14. CoZoPhilNo Gravatar says:

    Great post – motivation is everything.

    I find I can fool myself looking in the mirror (if the angle is right). Then I see a photograph of myself and crash back to earth.

    Why do I look different in each case?

  15. Quality control is the key to a good diet program your success and do not forget every day anda.Semoga weight control diet program a success …

  16. RussellNo Gravatar says:

    I used to love looking at myself in the mirror. I’m gradually getting there again and am thinking of starting an exercise regime to get there. Thanks for your words

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