A big struggle many Americans are faced with today is body image. Often times this issue is reserved for women, but most guys I know are majorly concerned about their body and probably talk to me about it more than my girl friends do.
When you think of your body how would you describe it? When you think of your personality how would you describe it? I don't know how it is for you, but too many days of my life I have been far harsher on my body than on my personality. Don't get me wrong, I love my personality, but for some reason in our country it's OK to talk up your sense of humor, your passion and compassion . . . but it is a cardinal sin to talk up your body.
Too often people get caught up on the 5lbs they need to lose or gain to look sexy. Too often they focus in on that one part of their face they absolutely hate. Why do we do this to ourselves?
There are three big ways to start feeling better about your body, and you hear them all of the time: exercise, nutrition, and self-esteem. Your self-esteem is a big factor, and plainly put, your self-esteem is how you value yourself, and ultimately how valuable you see yourself to others. Nutrition is such a key factor that is over-looked time and time again; people go on these diets with rules or take these magic pills but those systems set you up for failure. Exercise . . . what a topic! The benefits, my goodness. But who wants to do that crap!?
Well guess what, everything you think you know about losing those 5lbs is probably wrong. Taking a happiness approach to body image may be the best thing you ever do for yourself.
Here's the plan of attack:
Nutrition – Proper nutrition is so vital. Think of it this way: everything your body needs to function other than oxygen is consumed by your mouth. So if you don't get iron, Omega-3s, fat, calories, sugar, etc . . . your body can't function.
Take it from me: last semester I slept 14hrs a day, couldn't make it to classes, dropped off of the track team and had multiple emotional break downs. When I stopped having periods my doctor put me on prenatal vitamins because my blood tests showed how extremely deficient I was in all of my vitamins.
Here is a great blog that is all about having a healthy diet: Well Balanced Diet.
Don't get caught up on weight loss! Don't do it!!! Eating better will make you feel better, feeling better will take care of everything you think is wrong with your body.
The Picky Eater is a great blog for recipes of healthy foods, as well as Kath Eats Real Foods, and Healthy Dining Finder for when you're eating out.
Exercise – The concept of exercise has become so skewed in our society. Jogging, lifting weights and doing crunches have become must-do's in a daily routine of other things me must do. But why is that how we chose to exercise? Those are probably the most boring things you could chose!
Think of all the games people have invented . . . you could play football, baseball, tennis, soccer, rugby, cricket, raquet ball, lacrosse, hop-scotch, water polo, duck-duck-goose, basketball . . . you could go biking, horseback riding, swimming, hiking, rock wall climbing, skipping, dancing. The list goes on and on.
Sure, a lot of those options might require that you have a friend and maybe you really hate all of your friends . . . but if you find yourself bored of running I really can't blame you, and I even LIKE running!
Don't get caught up on weight loss! Don't do it!!! Having fun while moving will make you feel better, feeling better will take care of everything you think is wrong with your body.
Self-esteem – This is the trickiest, and the most simple thing to change. It's tricky because we're pretty stuck in our ways on how we think of ourselves, and simple because you will notice immediately how horrible you are to yourself.
When someone compliments your outfit, your hair, your makeup, your legs, your arms, your stomach . . . say thank you. Nope. Nothing else. Oh! And smile when you say it. Let it sink in. Does it matter that anyone else thinks anything of you? No, but it sure is nice to hear.
Think about someone you love and their appearance. Easy example: when I think of my mom I think of how much I love her smile, her bright blue eyes and the way she hugs me. Now think of how someone who loves you sees you. Think of it every time you look in a mirror.
Does my mother have flaws? Sure, she wants to point them out to me all the time but I still see her smile and eyes. Do I have flaws? Sure, but when the people I care about look at me, they don't see them. So why should I? Look in the mirror and don't worry about the pimples that pop up out of no where, the hairs that are running wild, the weird things your nose does or how your teeth could be whiter and straighter.
If you look people in the eye, they won't notice what you're wearing. - Nick, The Wedding Date
The Self Esteem Blog has this great article on improving your self-esteem and Savvy Self Esteem has great posts on dangerous and uplifting topics.
A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier. - Tom Stoppard