Do you ever walk up to your friend and say, “Hey, your thighs look a little heavy today, maybe you should hit the gym for a few squats.” No! Of course you don’t! Well, then why the heck do we talk to ourselves this way all the time? I am pretty sure 99% of us have some problem(s) with our bodies. And yes, even that girl you saw on the bus that “couldn’t possibly hate anything about her body” definitely has things she would like to change.
I was speaking with a friend over dinner the other night, and she commented on how much time we waste thinking about our body image. Why is it so hard for us to just accept the way we look? I used to think this just applied to women, but I think it is an issue for men; they just don’t vocalize it as much. Some men want to be more muscular, and others want to lose that weight around their middle. The pressures are there for them as well. What can we do about this? Here are some tips that I find helpful for myself.
Stop comparing yourself to other people. This is one of the major things I am working on in my life. Being competitive in nature, I always compare myself to other people. “That woman is skinnier than me”, or “wow, this website is way more decked out than mine.” It is such a negative thing to do to yourself, and it will get you nowhere fast except in a bad mood. If you notice that you are starting to compare yourself to other people, just try to “S the D, shut it down” as they always say on 30 Rock. Observe that you are doing it, and gently try to guide your thoughts elsewhere.
Comparing is also dangerous because you usually see only one picture of someone’s life, and you often don’t know the full story. Facebook is a bad perpetrator of this. Most people put their best face forward on Facebook, and sometimes it’s easy to fall into that comparison mode when looking at others’ profiles.
Appreciate your assets. When you start falling into a self-bashing session, try to reverse your thought pattern. We always tend to focus on what is bad, don’t we?When you see yourself focusing on that, simply stop and say, “Ok now I am going to tell myself 3 things that are wonderful about my body (or life)”. This takes practice, but over time you will be able to zap yourself out of that negative mindset pretty fast.
Devise a plan for things that you can change. If there is something that you really want to change, and there is a healthy means by which you may do that, then come up with a plan! Beating yourself up about something won’t help you, but action will! Let’s say you’ve gained a few pounds from all the eating out you’ve been doing lately. Well, come up with a plan to incorporate more tennis games or jogs in the park or whatever you enjoy doing. Just write it down, and even tell someone so they will hold you accountable. I find that when I develop a plan and put it in writing, I worry less. I think, “All I have to do now is stick to the plan”.
However, if there are things that you can’t change, just try to accept them! If you can’t change something, then why on earth would you waste all this time thinking about it? It seems simple; the brain just needs a reminder of the futility of this sometime.
Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you would a friend. Just be gentle with your words towards yourself. You also have to be easy on yourself. Be forgiving and don’t beat yourself up when you “fall off the wagon” or make a mistake. It happens. Nothing good comes from obsessing about the past. “I shouldn’t have done that or why did I eat those cookies?” Just move on and focus on what you can do in the present moment.
I hope you enjoyed this post. How do you quiet your inner critic? Also, please feel free to share one thing you absolutely love about your body! Start the pattern of feeding yourself lovely thoughts right now! Looking forward to hearing from you and have a great weekend!