Are you Living Other People’s Stories or Your Own?
When we think of living a more balanced and fit life, it is important to not only focus our attention on nutrition and exercise but also on the role that healthy self-esteem and a positive body image play in our ability to embrace a healthy and vibrant lifestyle.
So much of the conversation in our society, supported and promoted by the media, focuses on looking a certain way and measuring our bodies to an “ideal” body type.
Let’s be real.
How many of us truly fit into this “ideal” that is portrayed and extolled in the media? And more importantly, how many of us accept the body that we have in all its uniqueness?
Our bodies are unique, and yet we hold ourselves to some “ideal” that is not only unrealistic for the majority of us but also potentially and dangerous to our health.
“Ideal: standard of perfection; something in its perfection.”
Why is it that we can be satisfied with our “personal best” in many other areas of our life, but when it comes to our weight and fitness level, we become paralyzed, even obsessed with our “ideal”? As a result, our sense of self-worth and self-acceptance plummets.
As a coach and athlete, I am often asked about the latest fad diet and best exercise plan. But the conversation most often turns to a more painful truth: their self-doubt, frustration, even self-loathing about themselves. This is crushing to hear.
So many of us think that if we just lose this the now-infamous COVID-19 pounds, we will finally be happy, find that relationship, look for a new job, what have you. I am here to tell you that happiness is a choice you can make in this moment with the body you have and with the circumstances you are currently living.
We can do this by having a healthier body image and embrace positive self-esteem so we can enjoy, once and for all, the peace and joy we want and deserve now.
Here is a quick list of actions we can all take to create a more positive and affirming self-image, no matter where you begin:
1. See yourself as a whole person, not just your external qualities. What other parts of you emotionally, mentally, spiritually hold great value that you can focus on?
2. Celebrate what is unique about you. No one else is built quite like you. You are uniquely and amazingly made. Describe what is unique about you and reaffirm the good in that list.
3. Embrace your natural body shape. Be realistic: you will never be 6’2” or 5’3”, have a bigger or smaller bone structure, be curvy or straight. You are you. Stop focusing on the things you cannot change and instead on the best parts of you.
4. Live with confidence from within. Confidence is an inside job. By shifting the way you speak about yourself and your body will cause immediate and swift changes to how you feel. Catch yourself saying negative things about your body and quickly reframe the sentence by saying it loud and smiling. Let your outer grin be part of the inner transformation. You are deserving of that inner glow.
5. Exercise regularly and with enthusiasm. Find a form of movement that makes you come alive. Try something new. Your body and soul will thank you.
6. Build a support system. Sometimes the people who you think will support you, will not be your biggest cheerleaders. Find people you trust, who will support you fully. Ask them to hold you accountable for your fitness and well goals.
It’s our time to live into our ideal lives, including finally accepting the body we were given today. We can free ourselves of the negative talk to live a life of increased joy and celebration.
We deserve it.