Monday, July 17, 2017
Last week while hanging out by the pool, a new friend, Katie, and I got to talking about body image, how we grew up, and our own habits. Katie is beautiful and full-figured. She exudes confidence in her body. Katie told me she enjoys her lifestyle – especially eating and drinking (and not much cooking). She does CrossFit a few times a week and works at a local pub bartending most nights. She explained that she recognizes her way of life prevents her from losing weight and states “I’m not worried about it because I’m comfortably chubby.” She has seen the diet and lifestyle of some CrossFit enthusiasts and decided that does not interest her. She is happily married and states, “my husband doesn’t like skinny girls anyway.”
Katie understands that we are all more than just a number on the scale or image in the mirror. How can you feel confident and comfortable regardless of your size or shape?
Find your body confidence through body kindness
There is so much conflicting information about how to live a healthy life. For instance, body mass index is the standard metric for determining who is normal-weight, overweight and obese, yet it can be argued that it is actually a poor tool for measuring health. Some argue Paleo is the best way to eat while others fight for a vegetarian lifestyle. The WHO recommends we exercise at least 150 minutes of exercise per week and The Washington Postpublished an article that 30 minutes of daily exercise is not enough.
Instead of worrying what the outside world says you should do or what you should look like, it’s time to listen to your body and treat yourself with kindness.
For our most recent book club adventure, Kristen and I read Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield, a book about changing the way we talk to and treat ourselves. Instead of shaming and blaming our bodies, Scritchfield provides practical ways to start loving, connecting and caring for ourselves. She explains it as an upward spiral – each body kindness action will help you spiral up into making more healthy decisions.
Have you said something kind to yourself lately?
One of my mentors, Amy E. Smith of The Joy Junkie, explains that we all have an inner dialogue happening in our minds. This inner dialogue is how we identify and it makes up what we believe about ourselves and our world. In other words, we are always telling ourselves stories and regardless of whether they are true, we believe them and internalize them. Because this all happens quietly in our mind, we can often go without realizing the terrible things we think, believe and say about ourselves.
Ready to be kinder to yourself?
Here are 3 steps to improving your body image through kindness and compassion:
- Notice the voice or internal story – What does that little voice say when you look in the mirror? Does it exclaim how beautiful your eyes look today or is it nitpicking on a double chin or muffin top? The first step is to notice what that little voice says and recognize you are more than those thoughts.
- Identify the triggers – For some of us, the simple act of looking in the mirror can trigger our inner bully to come out and play. Others get a story in their mind when they step on the scale. For many of us, including myself, it’s all too easy to get caught up with the “compare and despair” of social media where someone is always fitter, stronger, happier, richer, more successful, and so on.
- Create a nicer way to speak to your body. Make one change – for example, if you’re constantly exclaiming about your fat thighs next time that voice comes up change direction. I like the simple “cancel, cancel, cancel” method to stop negative thoughts and I like to take advantage of the power of words by using mantras. I share healthy mantras for my clients to use, such as “every healthy change I make creates a healthier body.”
Food for thought:
What’s the story in your mind? Studies suggest that 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies. We don’t have to live with the hurt of striving for an unrealistic image. Let us know in the comments below what you will do to improve your body image this week :-). We’d love to cheer you on!
Are you ready to feel confident in your body? Contact us today to set up your own personal wellness adventure.