LIFESTYLE & MIND
5 Ways To Improve Your Body Image & Confidence
What are you really feeling when you say you feel 'fat'?
The era of body positivity is upon us. Gone are the days of shaming; fat, skinny or otherwise. We’re now being told to love ourselves, warts and all.
No pressure right?
Love my cellulite?! You’ve got to be joking.
Yes, it’s a step in the right direction, but we’re still so BODY oriented and it’s all about the physical self. We are all so much more than that. After all, no-one is going to be writing an obituary about the size of your thighs/arms/knees.
What’s the answer? Acceptance. Acceptance of the size you are, your imperfections, the good, the differences between us, and knowing that sure you would like to change parts, but that you’re okay just the way you are. Can you even imagine how much time and space that would free up?
HERE ARE 5 WAYS TO GET CONNECTED AND FEEL AT PEACE WITH YOUR BODY
Fat is not an emotion. You cannot feel fat. You can have fat, we all do, but to mentally feel fat is not possible. So what are you really feeling when you say you feel fat? I get my clients to use the acronym HALT; asking themselves if they’re hungry, angry, lonely or tired. A lack of sleep, stress or a bad diet can all have a knock-on effect on how you feel about your body. If you have a true understanding of what you really feel, you can start to get those needs met.
Come up with ways to silence your inner critic. When you hear that insidious voice talking nonsense about the size of your thighs, acknowledge it. ‘I can see that I’m feeling fat today. I accept that. I know that fat is not a feeling. I am loved. I am more than my physical body’. Having a mantra which is an opposing statement to what you feel will challenge those negative beliefs about yourself. Also, ask yourself "If..." "If someone else was in my position, would I make them feel negatively?" Sometimes looking at your situation objectively can make you feel more positive.
For some people, it’s unrealistic to quit social media altogether. Like most things, it’s about balance and doing what suits you and not your mates. Consider the accounts that you follow on social media and notice how you feel about yourself before and after going through a scrolling binge. If you suffer from negative perceptions of your body, seeing a constant influx of bodies won’t be doing your self-esteem any favours.
Move a muscle to change a feeling. Getting moving doesn’t have to involve a gym, and it definitely shouldn’t be a punishment. Yoga, walking, dancing, team sports, weight training - if it makes you feel good then do it! Release some feel-good endorphins and see how amazing and functional your body really is.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what your dress size is, we all have bad days when our body seems like the enemy. On days like this, it’s good to get some perspective on things and look at the bigger picture. Your achievements, your friends, your family, everything that makes you who you are, not who you think you are.
Remember that these thoughts haven’t happened overnight, so they won’t disappear overnight either. However, with time and practice, you can change your relationship with your body.
Ali Silver, Personal trainer, Nutrition coach and eating disorder practitioner.
Photo Credit: Rodolfo Sanches Carvelho
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