Boost Body Image?
I’m going to level with you. Boosting body image is HARD.
You know it’s a key in feeling good about yourself.
You know all the experts say that it’s a critical ingredient for making peace with your body.
And you want these things but…
… so many of the tips for boosting body image don’t seem to work.
Well, you’re in the right place.
Why you need a FOUNDATION
Throughout the years I tried many approaches such as affirmations, visualization exercises, and refocusing my attention on positive thoughts. Personally, affirmations such as “I love my body,” or “I accept myself just as I am,” felt forced and untrue. The other approaches felt good in the moment, but did not create any long lasting changes.
I was stumped.
So, what is going on here?
In my experience, in order to improve how I felt about my body I needed a STRONG FOUNDATION of over-all well being to stand upon.
In trying to jump straight to creating a great body image I was failing to address all of the other elements that impact self-esteem.
Think about it.
If you feel stress in your relationships, unfulfilled or drained by your work, or out of sync with your physical health wouldn’t you naturally exhibit these struggles through your body as well?
Maybe having a poor body image is a symptom of a larger issue.
(***Please note: I do not mean to say that one cannot have a great body image regardless of other life factors. Many people feel completely at peace with their bodies while struggling with other elements of life. Instead, I am simply offering up another idea to experiment with for those who do find difficulty in making peace with feelings about their bodies. Different strokes for different folks.)
“There are no facts, only interpretations.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche http://bit.ly/YjPNlM
Take a Global View
If you’ve tried the direct route of improving your body image with no success, I invite you to consider taking on a more global view of your life.
To get you started consider the following areas.
As you read through this list ask yourself do I need to improve on any of these areas? Be honest with yourself.
1. Career/work (how do you feel about your job or the way you contribute to the world?
2. Physical Health (do you have thyroid issues, hormonal imbalances, other illnesses? do you feel good about your nutritional decisions?)
3. Mental Health (what do you think about? how do you “feed” your brain? do you struggle with depression, anxiety, etc?)
4. Emotional Health (do you have close and connected relationships? who do you go to for support?)
When I used a global view to assess my life I discovered that I was drained and completely over-taxed by my work, exhausted yet anxious, lacking the time for deep intimate connections with my friends and partner, experiencing disrupted sleep patterns, and not adequately fueling my body or recovering from workouts.
On top of that I was using my free time to read fitness and health magazines which always left me feeling terrible about my body.
The list seemed way to big to tackle.
Did I really need to address all of these issues before I could hope to feel better about my body?
Fortunately, that wasn’t the case for me.
Work on one thing at a time
Once you’ve identified the global issues that need to be address PICK ONE ITEM and tackle it. ONE. Focus on diligently and completely addressing the issue before moving on to the next one.
Here are a few of the ones I’ve addressed over the years:
- I researched creative ways to decrease my hours at work or to “work smarter rather than harder.” (Shameless Plug: I am a HUGE fan of The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss)
- I actively schedule dates with friends.
- I learned about sleep hygiene.
- I swapped out the fitness magazines for photography and business magazines.
On and on.
By paying attention to these other elements of my life I spent much less time obsessing about how much I didn’t like my body.
And one day I realized that a better body image had sneaked up on me!
I couldn’t pin point the moment it happened but I could definitely say that I felt much better about how I looked.
Feeling physically healthier and spending more time with the people I loved had a positive spill-over to how I viewed my body.
Also, Jenni Schafer, recovered disordered eater and author, gives a great interview titled “Body Image: I love how I look — in a world that doesn’t“. Check it out and let me know that you think.
That’s it folks.
To wrap up I would invite you to consider the global view of your life.
Improving the global elements will lead you to a better body image.
If you need some extra help check out this worksheet to help your identify Areas of Growth.
Of course, I am here if you need me. Just shoot me an email.
And I have one request: drop a line in the comments below and tell me one global element that you want to focus on changing.
““In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”http://bit.ly/YjPNlM
Keep questioning and seeking! And share this with others on Twitter here so we can grow and expand together.
Have you found any methods that improved your body image? Tell me about it in the comments below!