Do you spend your days scrolling through Facebook?
Even in a pandemic, we can’t get away from the pressure of the “thin ideal.” This pressure to look a certain way leads to habits that reinforce negative body image.
Are you looking to change this?
Start booting these nasty habits and boosting your body image with these five steps:
1. Stop reading women’s magazines like they are the bible. Do a quick scan next time you check out. They sport photoshopped, unattainable, and unhealthy looking models, fad diets, and promote a “need-to-lose” mentality.
2. Don’t believe that the way to a beautiful body is through restrictive eating, eating disorders, binging, and purging. We radiate health when we feed ourselves and our bodies delicious, healthful foods. These include those rich in proteins, complex carbs, fruits, and veggies.
3. Deprivation is never the way. Ditch the “I can’t have that” thinking. Depriving yourself will always backfire. Honor your body and treat it well. That means that the occasional (small) indulgence is not only okay, but it’s also needed. The message: I honor my body and what it wants. For those who struggle with binging, it’s often healthy to satisfy our occasional indulgence. A trip to Ben & Jerry’s perhaps?
4. Eat real food. Don’t believe the hype that “diet stuff is better for me and will help me stay slim.” I’m talking about: carbonated water, high-fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine, aspartame (Nutrasweet), potassium benzoate, and citric acid.
Do you still need convincing? Many people think that they are doing something positive by sticking to “diet” foods. Diet foods may have fewer calories but generally result in eating more overall calories. Filled with unhealthy chemicals and artificial sweeteners, you may find yourself craving the real thing right after filling up on the alternative diet foods.
It’s the same thing with “gluten-free.” Gluten is a wheat protein. If you have Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance, or a wheat allergy, yes, avoid gluten. Otherwise, why choose the more expensive, tasteless, and higher-sugar substitute? Treat your body well.
5. Never use weight and clothing size as your body image barometer. Just as your bank account’s size is not a measure of your happiness, your weight, and especially your clothing size, should not dictate your body image. These numbers are also completely arbitrary.
If you don’t believe this, believe Dr. Oz’s exposé on vanity sizing. Stores often inflate sizes to make women feel better. Consider this Oz fact: “In the 1950s a size 12 was a 26-inch waist (like Marilyn Monroe). By the 1970s, a size 12 grew by two inches. Then it grew another five inches in the 1980s. And today, a size 12 means you have a waist of 36 inches.
Developing a healthy body image is possible. Using these guidelines can start moving you toward this goal.