Do you love your body?
The saying goes: “Your body is the temple of your soul – take care of it!” But what if we experience this temple as an eyesore, badly designed and malfunctioning, not to mention this enormous wear and tear?
Too big, too small, too floppy, too many wrinkles – you name it. As we all wish to look good we happily try the promising solutions offered by the fitness or beauty industry, hoping to create the “dream body” we always wanted – oftentimes with little or no lasting success.
Unhappiness and a poor body image can result in serious psychological problems, such as anxiety, depression or eating disorders – just to name a few -, and must not be underestimated. From my own experience I know how easy it is to get very close to a critical condition. In my case I was on the road to anorexia, after being a rather chubby child for a few years. Luckily, I hit the brake in time once I noticed that my body couldn’t longer support me in the activities I loved.
Now, what can you do? Most of all:
Don’t try to radically change your body – change your attitude!
For me things finally changed for good when I decided to stop counting calories, banned the scales from my bathroom and tried to live as healthy as possible, but not following a dogmatic diet or lifestyle plan. And I stopped trying to be/look like somebody else but appreciate of what my body is capable of.
I’m not a psychologist, but from my own experience and discussing this topic with others I’ve put together a few thoughts for you to consider.
6 STEPS TOWARDS A BETTER BODY IMAGE
#1 STOP complaining – about your body, yourself being unable to change something and the rest of the world not supporting you. As one of my students mentioned the other day, you need more muscles frowning than smiling. Don’t waste your energy being grumpy and focusing on all things negative!
#2 TAKE A BREAK from dieting, non-stop exercising, wrapping your body in cling film and spending hundreds of dollars on the latest cosmetic trends. If it hasn’t worked yet and doesn’t feel good, it’s not worth doing it, it’s just distracting you from solving the actual problem.
#3 ACCEPT that you can’t run away from your body. This body has been with you all your life, in good times and in bad times, and it will stay with you until the very end. Maybe there is a challenge involved. Challenges are here to be mastered - they don’t get easier by running away from them, but by dealing with them without losing dignity!
#4 You don’t have to LOVE your body! Like in a relationship between two best buddies, there will be times when you hate each other, but there are other moments when the two of you experience greatest joy. Appreciate the positive things your body has done for you so far, and what it has to offer. Try to find a neutral position. Yes, your body has flaws, but is it totally crap? No, I don’t think so!
#5 REALISE that you can’t have somebody else’s body - we are all UNIQUE! Don't be mislead by trends, ads, TV commercials and glossy magazines. There have been times in the past when strong, curved women were considered to be the "better" choice. Trends can change! At the end of the day, you must feel well. Apart from that, even those models, athletes or movie stars are unhappy with their bodies at times. So, why bother becoming like them???
#6 BE PROUD TO BE UNIQUE! You are an individual, and individuals are, well, unique. Every human being on this world has their own set of skills and their own challenges to face. The way you deal with your challenges makes a huge part of your personality, and personality is what counts in the end. People will not remember you for an immaculate body but for your personality and charisma. Be authentic! BE YOU!
I know, changing your attitude towards your body can take a long while. Be happy to master baby steps, one at a time! Seek help when needed and don’t blame yourself for set-backs.
Yoga can help
For me things changed to the better when I started practising yoga. I had finally found a form of exercise that I love and can practise everywhere, alone or in a group. I can move without being judged. Physical and mental challenges in yoga have made me more confident in many ways.
And, surprisingly, there is no need of dieting any more: I’m able to trust my body asking for the right things at the right time – moving, eating, sleeping. My weight is ok, my body shape allows me to wear the clothes I like and do the things I love. Sometimes I ignore the warning signals, though, but over all I’m happy & healthy.
Feel free to try it yourself – you might wish to check our Inner Smile Yoga & Health schedule here - however, if you prefer other practices over yoga that’s totally fine.
Remember, YOU must be happy, don’t try to please somebody else.
What is your opinion? Send me a message – I would love to hear your thoughts!
Carmen Weghaus is a mum-of-four, yoga teacher for over 10 years, and passionate about educating people towards a more holistic approach on fitness and lifestyle. Apart from teaching and practicing different styles of yoga she loves a good run along the local coast lines and participating in running events. Together with her husband she runs Inner Smile Yoga & Health, based in Altona, Australia.