The final component in claiming your confident, fit body this summer: escape from body image hell!
I’ll give it to you straight: you can do everything we’ve talked about here in the first 5 steps, make fantastic progress to your summer body goals, and STILL be miserable on vacation. What?? I know! You put in all this work, and you’re still unhappy with your body? That, my friend, is the ironic thing about body image.
It really makes NO difference what your body looks like, because body image is a mental game, not a physical one.
I love you and I want you to enjoy your beautiful body right now, this summer, next year. So let’s dive into the mindset piece so you can free yourself from body image hell.
Let’s talk about the chain of events illustrated above. Your recurring thoughts about yourself create how you feel, which influences your behavior, which in turn creates a physical symptom. For example, you start having thoughts about how fat you are and how no swimsuit will ever look good on you. These thoughts lead you to feel badly about yourself and to be depressed. These feelings then motivate you to sabotage your health efforts by skipping your workout to nosh on some chips instead. This of course, leads you to gain fat and feel sluggish. We gotta stop this cycle, my friend! And we stop it at the root by addressing our thoughts, or in other words, our body image.
Body Image Booster #1: Read this blog post of mine here. Remember this every time you’re working out. Remember what you’re actually strengthening and who you’re becoming. You may have gone into this to build a body, but what you’re finding out is you’re building so much more. Working out isn’t a chore, it’s a way to connect with who you really are.
Body Image Booster #2: Write down all the things you say about your body throughout a whole day. Keep a piece of paper handy or write it down in a note page on your phone. Write all the comments about certain body parts not being the way you want, or how your hair doesn’t keep a curl, or your feet are too big, or your hips are too boxy, or your stomach skin is saggy, or how your thighs rub together.
At the end of the day, read through your list as if you were telling your best friend that these comments were actually about HER body. Are you horrified about saying some of these comments to her? Please forgive yourself for your awful treatment and hurtful words. Tell each of those body parts how much you love them. Then spend the next few days catching yourself when you start to repeat these same thoughts. Forgive yourself and tell your body how much you love her. I know this sounds super woo-woo but I promise if you try it, this exercise works wonders.
Body Image Booster #3: Now that the last exercise made you aware of some of the negative things we say to ourselves, I’d like you to focus on rewriting the running script in your head. Let’s take those comments and flip them into something positive. I’d like you to create, and write down, 10 affirmations that speak to you. What the hell do I mean by that?? Affirmations are basically just positive statements that state how you want yourself or life to be. When we write down and repeat these affirmations, they become part of our subconscious and we believe them. For example, some of my affirmations are “I know that only good awaits me at every turn” “Instead of fear or judgment, I get curious” “It’s totally safe to make life fun & easy”.
Think about how you’d like to start talking about your body and taking care of yourself. Then create a positive affirmation about it that assumes it’s already how you want it. You can also just Google “positive affirmations” and you’ll see tons of examples. Here’s the secret tip to affirmations that actually help you: only write down and repeat affirmations that stir your emotions. You’ll know when you’ve found one that’s helpful for you when it makes you excited, or happy, or relaxed just reading it. No emotional response? Skip it.
Keep this list of 10 affirmations where you can see it and read it daily. I keep mine up on my wall in my office and I also have it on my iPad so I can read it while drinking my coffee in the morning.
Bad body image can be a sneaky little thing that pounces when you stop doing the things that reinforce your positive self-image. There is no magical place you arrive at where you love all parts of your body with a fierce passion and ride off into the sunset never again to doubt your goddess-ness. You’re going to need to revisit these three Body Image Boosters on a regular basis.
Remember, confidence is a state of mind, not a body size or look. Work on your body image and no matter how you show up this summer, you’ll be strutting with confidence and enjoying the things that really matter on a soul level: family, new experiences, relaxation, peace of mind, nature. Go enjoy the hell out of your vacation because you always deserve it!