Through my personal experiences and those of my clients, it is easy to recognize how much our self-sabotage affects our perceptions, especially when it comes to body image. This negative self-talk often develops into an obsession or some aspect of body dysmorphic disorder, where what you see in the mirror is likely based more on feelings than physical reality.
Here are six reasons you are wrong about your body image.
1. Your friends have loaned you their obsession.
Not on purpose of course. It's because you are friends and there's the whole speaking-in-confidence aspect of being friends that is the trigger. Oftentimes you listen, provide support, and then later contemplate their feelings, question your own. "Well wait. If she is so worried about her stomach, why am I okay with mine?"
And before you know it, it's almost like the two of you work hard to keep each other down, enhance your sensitivities, refine your neuroses. It's not good.
Best advice to counteract this is to acknowledge it and make some agreements about what and how you are willing to talk about these concerns going forward.
2. Your food guilt messes up your perceived body image.
If you eat crappy, you find that it almost immediately transforms what you see in the mirror. This has nothing to do with the food you just ate, but more with the fact that the guilt of poor choices seems to add 10 pounds to your frame.
Conversely, when you revert back to eating healthy - even if it's later that day - your confidence and the view of your image in the mirror vastly improves. It's the ultimate mind game with yourself. (And it needs to be noted that a bad day does not change the diameter of your thighs. Promise.)
3. The scale throws off your success.
This simple, arbitrary number can wreak havoc on your confidence and perception of success with your efforts to eat right and exercise regularly.
It's a struggle for many, but letting go of your goal number
and focusing instead on your goal body
is a game changer. If you have access to an InBody machine or can receive regular data on your body fat percentage, RMR (resting metabolic rate) and other markers of true health, I highly recommend it.
4. Your "perfect" body is a completely different shape than your own.
I have wide hips which automatically provide the much coveted thigh gap, but I'm also pear shaped, which means the majority of my body fat is in my derriere and thighs. The combination of these two had lead to my problem area obsession for many years. For most of my life I coveted the exact opposite body type as one of perfection: narrow hips with lean thighs (apple shaped). Talk about setting myself up for failure.
It is important to recognize that if your ultimate body in no way resembles your frame, you have set yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment. These days I work with what I got.
5. Photoshop and camera tricks eliminate reality.
With the right computer skills, we likely wouldn't even recognize an image of ourselves. I applaud the efforts of many who have stood up to this because the truth is, I know we would all appreciate our bodies more if we weren't comparing them to cartoons of real people.
6. You don't even see the good parts because you are so focused on the bad.
What do you LOVE about your body? Why is that part never obsessed over? Who says you have to define yourself by your faults? Does this make you a better person, a more fulfilled person or a martyr?
Being aware is the first step in making changes to your thought patterns. Sure, it's great to be focused on improvements and constantly challenge yourself. But what is the point if your goal is unachievable and you don't stop to celebrate your efforts and successes along the way?
There is a reason that people say happiness has to start on the inside. And it's important to take note that a focus on the positive will only serve to increase your happy days, boost your confidence and results, and improve your relationships - especially with the voice in your head.
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