Love Your Body, Love Yourself
Body image dissatisfaction is sadly on the rise and something again sadly, that is often considered as pretty normal these days.
I am not going to lie, I've experienced it myself, many a time, through various stages of my life. So, why do we feel like this?
Well, for me like many I am sure, it started in my early teens. Our teens are perhaps when we are at our most vulnerable, where we are most impressionable and start to build self-confidence and self-perception. It's also at a time when we start to perhaps think about relationships and about feeling like we need to "fit in" with our peer group.
In my early teenage years, it was all about being thin, being pretty, wearing the latest fashion and having a boy-friend, well, that's pretty much how I saw things and then that was when the whole comparison thing set in.
For many, body image issues can be brought about even earlier than this, stemming from our parents, family or even other children.
What part does the modern world in which we live play?
Today, we are potentially faced with even more challenges and are exposed to so much more than we ever were, which can lead to those negative perceptions and obsessions about our body and igniting that whole comparison thing, if we allow it to.
We have the media to contend with, glossy magazines revealing images of women & men, drawing us in, allowing us to think that we too could like that if we wanted to.
We then have social media coming at us from all angles, again if we allow it to, trying to promote the "perfect body" and the false expectations that we too could look like this if we followed "their programme" or the latest diet fad.
But...let's not forget those images have been reproduced, airbrushed or physically changed by technology which certainly doesn't promote self esteem or positive body image.
Those "diets", those "programmes" do not promote a healthy lifestyle, self esteem or body confidence.
Learning to be body positive:
So, why is positive body image so important? Well, research strongly shows that a negative body image is directly related to self esteem. The more negative the perception of our bodies, the more negative we can feel about ourselves.
But, what actually is body image?
It's probably safe to say that most of us link it to our physical appearance & attractiveness, but it's actually so much more. It is the mental picture that we have of our bodies as well as our thoughts, feelings, judgments, awareness and behaviours.
Body image influences our behaviour & our self esteem. When we feel bad about our body, our satisfaction and mood takes a nose dive, this then in turn can affect other our areas of our lives including relationships.
Self esteem is a personal evaluation of our worth as a person and is a measure of how much we respect ourselves as a person:
- Physically - how happy we are with the way we look.
- Intellectually - how well we feel we can accomplish goals.
- Emotionally - how much we feel loved.
- Morally - how we think of ourselves as a person.
Self esteem, self confidence and self respect are all related.
Changing the narrative:
When I look back at images of me over the years, I can honestly say that since my late 30's, 40's and now into my 50's I am the most content I have ever been with who I am.
That means, in a physical, intellectual, emotional & a moral way and strangely enough it's since I met my husband!
The images of me above, starting from top left and moving along to the right, reveal a teenager who has just left school, me as a young twenty something, to a woman in her mid to late twenties, to a woman in her in mid thirties, to a woman in her late forties and finally me today at 50. Finally, I am at peace with myself.
And for my clients:
As I have mentioned before, I don't just help my clients from a nutrition/weight management perspective.
I help them to begin to love themselves again, feel more confident, energised and more motivated which means physically, intellectually, emotionally and morally - you cannot put a price on that, it's just so rewarding!
Here are just a few of the comments my clients (both past & present) have made:
"I feel so much better about myself, I don't feel embarrassed about how I look anymore, I have more motivation to do things, I feel happy in my own skin, I don't experience anxiety anymore, for the first time I feel worth it, I didn't feel worthy before of buying those new jeans but now I do, I'm so much happier, I feel really balanced, I don't feel peer pressure anymore, I'm really enjoying this, it's not hard work, I've got more energy, you've changed my life, I feel so much healthier."