Though you wouldn’t know it by the weather, summer will be upon us in the next few months. The change of season is evident by the bombardment of articles promising to get you a “bikini body” in just a few months. Though my deliveries from the mailman have dropped significantly in the electronic age, I still manage to get obscure catalogs featuring scantily clad women on the beach.
Normally I don’t think much about these marketing ploys, but since I have had the opportunity to work one on one with college students, my eyes have been opened to the world of body dissatisfaction. I have seen young females in all shapes & sizes; the one thing they have in common is they are not happy with the way they look. Focus on the flaws seems to be the mantra.
Although it is easier said than done, I want to spread the word that we should focus on the strengths of our body. Rather than worrying whether the food we eat will add pounds, shouldn’t we be concerned that the food we eat is healthy and benefits our bodies in the long-term?
In honor of the upcoming “bikini season” I am including some adapted tips on Ways to Love your Body.
1. Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Rest when you are tired.
2. Change the messages you are giving yourself. Identify the negative ways that you speak to yourself and make a decision to replace that self-talk with more realistic, loving, and positive statements.
3. The number on the scale does not determine your worth. You are much more than a number on a scale. Instead focus on the most important things about yourself like your unique talents, qualities, skills, and characteristics.
4. Think of your body as an instrument instead of as an ornament. Be thankful every day for all of the wonderful things you can do in your body such as dance, play, run, and enjoy good food.
5. Exercise to feel good and be healthy, not to lose weight or punish your body. Find fun ways to add more physical activity in your life.
6. Walk with your head held high. If you act like someone with a healthy body image and good self-confidence, the “act” will eventually become reality.
7. Wear comfortable clothes that fit. Clothes that are too large or too small tend to create physical discomfort and may make you feel even worse about your body. Clothes that fit you well are designed to complement your figure.
8. Question ads that perpetuate unrealistic standards for our bodies. Instead of saying, “What’s wrong with me,” say, “What’s wrong with this ad?” Set your own standards instead of letting the media set them for you.
9. Surround yourself with people who are supportive of you and your body, not critical.
10. Every day tell yourself, “I am worthy.”
Adapted from: Judy Lightstone, RD. “Improving Body Image”