Are you a woman fighting off a fat and ugly self image? When bathing suit season rolls ’round, would you rather die than bare your thighs? Locked in a clinch with your lover, is “Lights off, Honey” your mantra? That may mean that you’re really uncomfortable with your body. You’re not alone. Many women struggle with a negative body image. Because there are a lot of gals unhappy with their bodies, the diet industry is getting increasingly fatter, earning upwards of $60B/yr. That’s because the diet organizations make money when they succeed at making you feel fat and insecure. When you look in the mirror, do you love what you see? Research shows that nearly 4 out 5 American women today say they hate their bodies. That’s 80% of the female population in North America. Are you one of them?
Why You Can’t See Yourself As You Really Are
The truth is we don’t really see ourselves and our bodies as we are, or even as others see us, because we’re only seeing our interpretation of reality, not what’s really there, because we’re unable to objectively observe ourselves. Our perceptions are colored or filtered by our experiences. If your family was a blue family, you were given “blue glasses.” If your family and your experiences are of being a part of a rosy bunch, you’ve been looking at the world through “rose colored glasses”. We’re all different according to how our experiences have shaped us. Our brains are always making meaning out of everything we experience. The important thing to keep in mind is that it doesn’t matter through which color glasses you’ve been experiencing the world; it’s just a starting point. You don’t have to remain stuck with those faulty perceptions. It may be time for an upgrade.
Self Image: The Mirror In Your Mind
Inside of each us we have the equivalent of a huge computer that stores all our life’s experiences, in our memory. This is known as the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is not an actual part of your brain, rather it is said to be present in every cell in your body. This data base in you holds a collection of beliefs and experience that is known as your self image. It determines how you feel about who you are, your body, your life and everything you believe to be possible. To be happy, really happy and to live a satisfying life, you have to have an adequate and realistic self image with which you can live harmoniously. You have to be okay enough for you. This will give you a good strong sense of self esteem. This is an image of yourself that you can trust and believe in, like and admire, respect and honor.
When your self image is intact, you feel good and you’re a secure person. When something happens to shake you up or threaten you, you become insecure. If you’ve been abused or hurt, criticized, or teased, you may still feel the impact of that emotional pain, depending upon what meaning you gave the experience, you may tend to feel shame and find yourself hiding your light. That’s only because that feels like the safest option for you. If you’re caught in a body trap, hating some part of you, it’s because you believe that you are this negative, shameful, disgusting, unworthy, fat, ugly, stupid or incapable image that you may hold of yourself. It’s not true!
Unless you are actually able to see yourself differently, no diet, no exercise, no amount of compliments or anything else will make you believe something that a part of you is not ready to believe. In order to change these negative core beliefs that limit you, and feel different about your body, without doing anything radical like cosmetic surgery or dieting, you have to change the image that you have inside of you. The good news is that this self image or subconscious mind is completely impersonal and impartial to the information it holds. So if you don’t like the way you look or the way you feel about your body, all you have to do is steer your subconscious mind or self image in a new direction.
Here are some tips to help you makeover a fat and ugly self image:
1. Watching body affirming Television shows like Lifetime’s How to Look Good Naked is an instant mood lifter. Hosted by Carson Kressley, former co-host of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Carson focuses on helping women move from hating their bodies to loving them. I like to think of it as a 60 minute self image makeover. With Carson at the helm, you’ll cry tears of laughter as you learn to see your body in a more loving, compassionate light.
2. Seek out role models. Find a woman who has the same body type as you, and is already doing what you want to do. If you hate your thighs and wish that you could feel comfortable going to the beach and wearing a bathing suit, find a woman who already is doing that and request her permission to ask her a few questions. Tell her that you don’t feel comfortable, and you really want to understand how to think more like her so that you can like your body more. Ask her what makes her feel comfortable? What does she think of when she is on the beach? What motivates her and many other questions that you may have.
3. Get support. Spend time around other women who are also committed to appreciating their bodies.
4. Study role models. Read books about women shaped like you who like their bodies. This is a less assertive but nonetheless an effective way of achieving the same goal as actually talking to another woman and asking her questions.
5. Stop scale watching. Don’t let anyone or anything tell you how you are entitled to feel. Step away from the scale. Put it away or toss it out. Stop judging yourself by that nasty piece of sheet metal.
Lastly, and most important — You, are not your thighs, butt, frizzy hair or droopy breasts or any other miscellaneous body part. You are so much more than what you see. Start to imagine seeing yourself as you want to be, when you are the size you choose, and rather than focusing on dieting, eating less, or doing anything to actually make that happen, just do the things you would do if you were that gal. You, go Juicy Woman! I believe in you! Do you?