Love Your Body – it’s the only one you have!

Love Your Body – it’s the only one you have! 960 640 janie

It seems to me that nobody likes their body anymore – even the people who we think SHOULD like their body, like athletes and actresses. Our cultural definition of beautiful (that waist, that butt, that thigh gap!) has become so impossible to achieve that even supermodels need the help of Photoshop to look that way.

We are inundated with advertising that makes us feel disappointed with ourselves so we will go out and buy something to make us feel better – like make-up, fake tans, diet products, supportive undergarments and plastic surgery… Our low self esteem is very, very profitable.

And our attention to how we look – and how large or small we are – has become the source of our moods. Our body weight has become the focus of our attention with little consideration for our health. We are obsessed with the numbers on the scale – a smaller number can mean we have a fantastic day, a larger number can send us spiralling into depression. So basically a glass of water or going to the toilet bizarrely can mean the difference between loving or hating life.

Our constant preoccupation with our body weight and looks has made us neurotic, stressed and moody – and ultimately this state of mind has contributed to our poor health.

When did we stop worrying about health and start fretting about our appearance? The body is an amazing thing! If we look after it and keep it healthy and functioning well we can do practically anything we want, yet instead we focus on how it looks at the expense of our health. We slather our bodies with hormonally disrupting chemicals to make us look or smell better; we pump toxins into our skin to get rid of wrinkles; we put silicon in our bodies to enhance our appearance; we starve ourselves of the nutrients our body needs to lose weight for a party; we torture our body with endless repetitive exercise to “tone”; we may even avoid enjoyable, healthy activities like swimming at the beach because of how we look. Madness.

For the sake of our sanity and health at some point women will have to stand up to this cultural definition of beauty and say NO. At some point we have to realise that just because we are being told over and over again that we are not beautiful enough, that we actually have a choice and it is up to us whether to believe it or not.

We have to start thinking about our health first and foremost, and we have to learn to love ourselves in a world designed to keep us unhappy with ourselves.

But what if we actually DO need to lose weight? We all know that obesity and overweight is linked to an increased risk of chronic disease and can make life a little more difficult, so yes weight loss can be beneficial. But it’s HOW we go about weight loss that’s the issue. There’s no point trying to lose weight at the expense of health – once again this is just another symptom of the focus on appearance.

We have to start thinking about body weight differently. The most important thing to understand is that being overweight is a SYMPTOM of being unhealthy – I always say that you don’t lose weight to get healthy, you get healthy to lose weight. And weight loss takes time. It took a while to get there – it will take just as long to get back. Going for the next miracle cure or diet will only leave you frustrated and probably unhealthier (and possibly larger) in the long-run, so instead focus on the life-long journey to real health and your body will follow at its own pace in its own time.

Another part of the self-esteem epidemic that we don’t think about is that just as we have to get healthy in order to lose weight, we have to love ourselves first in order to be truly happy and healthy. We seem to think that when we are healthy or when we lose weight that THEN we will like ourselves – but really it is not until we like ourselves that we start treating our body properly and create an environment to get healthy.

dandelionSimilar to when you don’t like a plant in your garden (say a weed!) you will not feed and water it, if you don’t like YOURSELF, you will not look after yourself properly.

So improving your self-esteem is one of the most important things you can do to get truly healthy. Your body is a mirror of your mind and if your mind is unhealthy, so will your body be.

How can you tell how much you like yourself? Try this: Stand naked in front of the mirror and look at yourself. What is going through your mind? If you are making positive statements about your body, then good for you – but you are in the (very) large minority. If you are making negative statements and/or feeling strong emotions, then your self-esteem needs some work. If you cannot even look at yourself in the mirror naked (and many can’t), then changing these thought patterns is one of the most important things you can do for your health.

Our Programs can help you improve your self-esteem. As qualified counsellors and coaches we can help you work through false negative thoughts or perceptions and replace them with new positive thoughts. We also have weekly mindset exercises that are designed to change the way you think.

Book in today for your FREE Discovery Session to find out if the Healthy Body Happy Mind Program is right for you.

Dandelion Image courtesy of Aaron Harmon and Creative Commons License