Four Tips to Improve Body Image

BodyImage copyAre You at War with Your Body?

Many people struggle with a negative body image in today’s youth- and weight-obsessed culture. Yet, while no one can control the dictates of society, it is still possible to be true to your core—corny as it may sound. Whether you’re dealing with aging or a genetically full-figure, you can control your inner-critic, follow a healthy lifestyle and thrive in your chosen career.

In addition, although youth and beauty may give you a competitive edge, talent and moxie trump everything. Consider non-stereotypical successes like Whoopi Goldberg, Barbra Streisand and Luigi (who developed his unique form of jazz after recovering from a car accident). The trick is to reframe your “negative assets” in a positive light, whether you’re aiming to perform on stage or simply feel more comfortable in your own skin. Here are a few pointers:

  1. Rather than obsessing about your flaws or comparing your body to others, focus on your unique strengths, such as being a hard-worker, organized or having a special ability like singing, acting or dancing.
  2. Catch negative thoughts about your body that make you feel self-conscious (e.g., “I look horrible”) by saying “No” to yourself. If that doesn’t work, snap a rubber band on your wrist at the same time. The point is to stop criticizing yourself.
  3. Don’t check your body in the mirror or get on the scale on a daily basis if it makes you feel badly. Weight fluctuates due to how much you sweat, drink fluids and urinate.
  4. Set up a healthy nutrition and exercise plan that takes your lifestyle and age into consideration. A registered dietician and/or trainer can help you reach your physical potential.

Remember, even super models rely on digital touch-ups that camouflage their so-called flaws. No one is perfect! And everybody ages. The trick is to do it gracefully by practicing good habits for psyche and soma. If you are struggling with a poor body-image, consider getting help since it can set you up for depression, endless diets and unnecessary cosmetic surgery. Cognitive-behavioral therapy addresses distorted thoughts and images. Contact your local State Psychological Association for a referral near you.

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