Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Self Image, Body Image

Now that summer has been in full swing, many of us have been sporting swim suits, shorts and tank tops - much to the chagrin of most American women who are taken aback when they look at their reflection.  Many women are dissatisfied with their body image and this cuts into their self image.
"We do not develop our body image all on our own. The people around us and our culture strongly influence it. We get both positive and negative messages about our bodies from family and friends all the time — starting from when we’re very young.  We also get messages about body image from television, magazines, films, and other media. Many of the beliefs we have about the way women and men should look come from the models and celebrities we see in the media. But models and celebrities do not look like most people. For example, on average, women who are models have very different builds. They weigh 23 percent less than women who are not models," according to Planned Parenthood.

If we look around us, bodies in the real world are all unique and diverse.  Our life stages shape us from puberty to menopause.  Many factors such as stress, age and disabilities affect our appearance.

Here are twenty ways to love your body from the National Eating Disorders Association:

1.Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams.  Honor it.  Respect it.  Fuel it.
2. Create a list of all the things your body lets you do.  Read it and add to it often.
3. Become aware of what your body can do each day.  Remember it is the instrument of your life, not just
an ornament.
4. Create a list of people you admire:  people who have contributed to your life, your community, or the
world.  Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments.  
5. Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person.
6. Don’t let your weight or shape keep you from activities that you enjoy.
7. Wear comfortable clothes that you like, that express your personal style, and that feel good to your
8. Count your blessings, not your blemishes.
9. Think about all the things you could accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend
worrying about your body and appearance.  Try one!
10. Be your body’s friend and supporter, not its enemy.  
11. Consider this:  your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver
every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months.  Your body is extraordinary--begin to respect
and appreciate it.
12. Every morning when you wake up, thank your body for resting and rejuvenating itself so you can
enjoy the day.
13. Every evening when you go to bed, tell your body how much you appreciate what it has allowed you
to do throughout the day. 
14. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly.  Don’t exercise to lose weight or to fight
your body.  Do it to make your body healthy and strong and because it makes you feel good.  Exercise
for the Three F’s: Fun, Fitness, and Friendship.
15. Think back to a time in your life when you felt good about your body.  Tell yourself you can feel like
that again, even in this body at this age.
16. Keep a list of 10 positive things about yourself--without mentioning your appearance.  Add to it!
17. Put a sign on each of your mirrors saying, “I’m beautiful inside and out.”
18. Choose to find the beauty in the world and in yourself.
19. Start saying to yourself, “Life is too short to waste my time hating my body this way.”
20. Eat when you are hungry.  Rest when you are tired.  Surround yourself with people that remind you of
your inner strength and beauty. 
"Don't weigh your self esteem, it is what's inside that counts."