What is Your Biggest Insecurity?
And How to Replace it with “Confidence that Shines”
How would you describe your body type? Tall, gangly, petite, medium-boned, muscular, square and rugged, pear-shaped, willowy, broad shoulders, curved hips, long thin limbs, rectangular-shaped, soft and round are just a few of the many ways to describe the vast range of physical attributes a person can have.
Body image continues to be a constant struggle for both men and women and countless diet attempts, a lifelong of insecurities, perfectionism, cosmetic surgeries and male body image disorders are emerging as evidence of how serious it’s become.
A body-image survey in Glamour magazine of 16,000 women revealed that over 40 percent of women are dissatisfied with their bodies! Unhappiness with body types hasn’t improved much over the past 25 years when the very first Glamour study was released.
And despite the wide range of body types that have gained increasing acceptance as beautiful over the past generation, from the voluptuous to the waif thin, women continue to harshly criticize their own bodies.
On a positive note, other findings from the study showed:
- Only 16 percent of women admitted to taking diet pills versus 50 percent in the 1984 study
- The number of women taking drastic measures to lose weight through starvation and purging has fallen to 20 percent
Rather than sitting back and dwelling on what to change about their bodies, a percentage of women sought out positive ways to improve the outlook on their bodies.
How to Harness Your Own Inner Thoughts for a Better Body Image
As the Glamour magazine survey revealed …
Love Your Job, Love Yourself
75 percent of the women cited professional achievements as a way to boost self-esteem and body image. The sense of feeling valued and appreciated puts you into a positive frame of mind and keeps negative thoughts at bay.
Exercise, Feel Better, Stronger and More Confident
96 percent of women said just 30 minutes of exercise a day twice a week made them feel more comfortable with their bodies. Exercise also helped transform thoughts of viewing their body as the enemy to appreciating it as a powerful asset.
Healthy Eating Feeds Healthy Minds
97 percent of women said eating healthy tuned out the negative talk in their minds.
Melina Jampolis, M.D., an internist and nutrition specialist in San Francisco, found there is a direct link between food and feelings.
“The first thing that many of my patients tell me as soon as a week after starting a healthier diet is that they have more energy and just feel better physically. What’s more, diets rich in these foods have been associated with lower incidence of depression. So if your mood is better, and you feel better, your body image and self-esteem are understandably better,” Jampolis told Glamour.
For simple and fast recipes to include in your healthy body-image diet, try one of our favorite recipes books, Alive in 5: Raw Gourmet Meals in Five Minutes.
Be Supportive of Other Women and Be Generous with Compliments
95 percent of women said getting compliments from other women helped improve their self-image. Creating a circle of friends who are supportive and not afraid to offer compliments freely and provide you with positive feedback is one surefire way to keep you on the right track to feeling good about yourself.
Men Under Scrutiny as New Body Image Emerges
No longer is it just the women in ads using their sex appeal and bodies to sell, but now muscular men with washboard abs have stepped onto the arena and raised the bar for a new kind of masculine beauty.
In an article from The Healthy Place.com, today’s ideal man has a sinuous body, clear skin and an almost feminine quality to him, making the rough and calloused look an icon of the distant past.
However, as men try to live up to this new body image some are engaging in abusive behaviors involving steroid use and putting themselves at risk for musculoskeletal injury. As a result of failed attempts at living up to the “perfect media image,” there has been a spike in the number of psychiatrist visits for the treatment of body image disorders.
Steven Romano, M.D., director of the Outpatient Eating Disorders Clinic at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center's Westchester Division, told HealthyPlace.com, "I'm seeing more and more males who have body image disturbances. They are compulsive exercisers, and there are a number of steroid abuses."
Another expert refers to this as "reverse anorexia.” Similar to how female anorexics look in the mirror and see themselves as fat, these males with muscled proportions see themselves as too thin or as not having enough muscle mass.
In contrast to women, most men rank an attractive face and body build high up on their list so they do whatever they can to live up to their set standards even if this means indulging in self-destructive behaviors. Two other characteristics men place a high value on are hair and height, both, in their opinion, representative of their manhood, power and strength.
Cosmetic Surgery Explosion in Men
The stigma attached to cosmetic surgery being only for women has also changed as more men are going under the knife. According to Manhattan plastic surgeon Joseph Pober, M.D. on HealthyPlace.com:
“About 20-25 percent of my practice is men, and contrary to the myth, most of the men are heterosexual. These men tend to be basically successful and secure, and they usually look good already. They tend to worry most about being disproportionate--not whether they are fat or thin, but whether their calves and waistlines and chests are proportional."
Learn to Love Yourself and Happiness will Follow
Creating a new and healthy body image begins with loving what you see when you look in the mirror each day and cultivating the confidence within you. Below are nine steps you can take on your journey to a positive body image and newfound confidence.
1. Stop the negative chatter now
As soon as negative thoughts enter you mind, replace them with a positive mantra or new body image label that makes you feel good about yourself.
2. Dedicate your time and energy to meaningful life goals
Take all of your weight- obsessing thoughts and put forth that same energy and feeling toward other life goals such as career, family and self-fulfillment goals.
3. Be kind to yourself and be your own best friend
Battling your mind is more than half the battle when it comes to body image … but there is more to it than that. In fact, the lifestyle choices you make can also make or break your body image. Incorporating a mind-body workout into your daily routine encourages you to find balance, self-confidence and a personal state of well-being. This is why we recommend you engage in the SheaNetics mind-body fitness program.
SheaNetics is a unique fitness and self-help philosophy that is “meditation in motion and thought.” It provides you with life-improving ideas and the inspirational motivation needed to achieve complete well-being.
4. Don’t attempt to live up to images portrayed in the media
In addition to the airbrushing and touching up of magazine photographs, trying to replicate the look of celebrities is downright unrealistic; remember, they have a whole staff including personal trainers and chefs to help maintain their sculpted bodies on a daily basis.
5. Love what you see in the mirror—
Keep your new body image mantra in mind, close your eyes and soften them before looking in the mirror each day. Look only into your eyes first, then slowly take in the view of your entire body, being mindful of your new mantra during the entire process. See your body as whole, healthy and complete.
6. Surround yourself by people who accept you the way you are
Take control of the people you interact with on a daily basis and stay away from those that are disapproving and critical of you.
7. Establish personal boundaries with people who make judgmental comments
Speak up and let others know they’ve hurt your feelings when they comment on your weight or body. You can also draw an invisible circle around as a shield to protect you from any criticisms.
8. Instead of trying to please others all the time, learn ways to please yourself
Take some “Me” time each day to simply relax and get in tune with your body.At SixWise, we highly recommend the Pure Relaxation: Guided Mediations for Body, Mind CD by respected meditation expert Mary Maddux.
The guided meditations and music on this CD calm your mind, soothe your emotions and create a state of deep relaxation in your body. Aside from music, if you're looking for some other keys to relaxation, check out our past article, How to Relax (and Lower Your Cortisol Levels): A Golden Key to Your Health.
9. Give up the “what if I only lost X number of pounds” thoughts and start living your life today
Don’t live in the past or obsess about the size you used to be … start living in the now instead.
Try these body image techniques today and begin noticing the changes in your happiness. Soon you’ll be blossoming with new confidence and letting your true greatness shine through.
SixWise Says ...
“I’m fat, but I’m thin inside. Has it ever struck you that there’s a thin man inside every fat man, just as they say there’s a statue inside every block of stone?”
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Those Who Don't Diet are Better at Improving Health Than Those Who Do Diet
Glamour.com March 23, 2009
HealthyPlace.com January 13, 2009