Do You Love Your Body?
How does the following sentence make you feel? “You are gross and fat and ugly and no guy is ever going to want anything to do with you.” It makes you feel pretty bad doesn’t it? In fact, it seems like an abusive statement from your worst enemy. In a way it is, because this is the inner dialogue of many women all around the world.
A recent survey commissioned by REAL magazine spoke to 5,000 women about their body image, and only 3% of women in the UK are completely happy with their body. That is a shockingly small percentage. 73% of the women think about the size or shape of their body every single day, and not in a flattering way.
It probably isn’t very surprising that there were certain body parts the women were most obsessed about. 91% said they were unhappy with their hips and thighs, 77% were not thrilled with their stomach and 78% claimed to have cellulite. Perhaps the saddest part is that six out of 10 women said their body image made them feel depressed and 65% felt their life would greatly improve if they could only feel happy with their body.
Here are a few more statistics the survey revealed:
• 68% of women blamed their body image and insecurities on other women who were most likely to criticize their looks.
• 84% said they had dieted at some point.
• And 67% said they would definitely or possibly consider getting plastic surgery at some point to improve their bodies.
Women are No Happier with Their Bodies in the U.S.A.
Glamour Magazine commissioned its own survey asking women in this country to note every negative or anxious thought they had about their bodies throughout the day. The results were dismal: 97% said they had at least one “I hate my body” moment on a daily basis.
It has, sadly, gotten to the point where it is more normal and okay for a woman to hate her body and talk about it in a negative way than love her body and feel proud of it.
We can blame some this rampant self-loathing on our cultures’ beauty ideals, our celebrity worship, how are mothers felt about themselves and on and on, and because of these influences, women have been training their brains to think this way since they were little girls. Neuroscience shows whatever we focus on literally shapes our brain. When we constantly think negative thoughts about our body, those neural pathways get deeper and stronger and, as a result, our thoughts become a habit. We are, quite literally, in a brain rut.
So if we have gotten in the awful habit of hating our bodies instead of loving our bodies, what can we do to change our minds?
Teach Your Old Brain New tricks
Just as we’re able to create negative thought patterns and neural pathways, we can also create new positive thought habits and neural pathways. Simply flip the switch in your head by thinking of things you like about your body. When you stop and look for the positive you’ll be shocked at how much there is.
Do you have nice feet? Do your nails grow easily without breaking? Do you have pretty eyes and nice thick lashes? Is your skin clear? Do you have a nice smile? Are your elbows smooth instead of rough? Do you like those few freckles on your nose? Start making a list of what you like and focus on that instead of your negative self-talk.
Love Your Body for What it Does for You
It’s absolutely criminal that we focus so much on how our bodies look instead of what they do for us. How many of us have hated the fact that our thighs touch instead of loving the fact that our legs allow us to walk or they make the perfect lap for our grandkids or cat to take a nap. We obsess over our boobs being too big or not big enough instead of paying more attention to what’s right under our boobs and being thankful every day that our hearts beat for us. Don’t think your lips are plump enough? Well, they still let you kiss your loved ones and blow out birthday candles, right? Give more thought to all that your body does for you every day.
Stop Looking at Photoshopped Images
The Internet and various media channels are full of unrealistic and downright false images of women. Do you think all of those women really have thigh gaps and skinny arms? Nope, but graphic designers get paid a lot of money to manipulate images so women look absolutely PERFECT. Stop looking at these images and comparing yourself to women who simply don’t exist.
You are beautiful. Every last inch of you. So go ahead and celebrate yourself and give thanks for your health. And, if your health isn’t optimal, consider this – how can your body heal itself when it is being fed negativity, criticism and anger 24/7?
When you start to love your body more, you will be amazed how your health will change!