Yahoo, summer is here! For some women, it is a welcome relief and brings back wonderful memories of delicious barbecues, frolicking in the ocean, or lazily basking in the warm sun. However, for many women, it is the most dreaded season of the year as they are forced to shed their winter layer of clothing. The thought of putting on summer attire especially a bathing suit can put a woman into a major tailspin.
What is a woman to do?
Stop Buying Into the Myth All Women Are A Size Two
Firstly, it is so important to recognize that most women are not a size two as depicted by fashion magazines. Professors Dunn and Christel both faculty in the department of Apparel Merchandising at Washington State University discovered that the average size of the American woman now falls between a size 16 and 18.
My goodness, that was news to me! Madison Avenue has really done a great job of brainwashing women to believe otherwise. Now that you are aware of this marketing tactic, stop reading magazines that are filled with air-brushed models. Studies indicate that women are less satisfied with their bodies after seeing all of these beautiful models.
How Is Your Negative Body Image Impacting Your Life?
It’s time to evaluate how your negative body image is affecting the quality of your life. Do you shy away from activities that you really enjoy because you are self-conscious about your body? Maybe you really enjoy swimming but now you have given it up because you can’t stand the sight of yourself in a bathing suit. Or, now you feel you can’t play tennis because your arms jiggle like jello. Maybe, you even turn down social invitations to summer outings because you can’t wear your tried and true winter clothes that do a great job of disguising your body.
These are just some examples of how a negative body image can begin to lessen the enjoyment of life. Take the time and get honest with yourself. Jot down how your negative body image is affecting the quality of your life. You may want to use a scale of 0- Not at all to 10- Greatly impacting my life.
Simply take in your responses without judgment. Here are some ways you can lower your score.
1. Practice Body Love Using Affirmations
Instead of picking apart your appearance find one thing that you like about yourself and create an affirmation of gratitude. Repeat this out loud as you look at your reflection in the mirror. If this is not possible, write it down. Repeat the affirmation every day for 30 days in order for it to be absorbed into your subconscious. From there, proceed to the next physical attribute you like about yourself and continue the same process.
Here are some examples:
- I am grateful for having such a nice smile.
- I am grateful for the way my eyes sparkle.
- I am so grateful that I have such strong legs.
2. Nurture Your Body
Love on your body by getting a massage, a manicure, or a facial. Pamper yourself to long hot baths by candlelight. Buy lotions that feel and smell good and treat yourself to some perfume or body mist. Exercise and eat healthy to keep your body functioning at its best.
3. Rid Yourself of Beauty or Beast Thinking
Beauty or Beast distorted thinking occurs when you think about your appearance in extremes. This is known as “black or white” thinking. Many women think in this way about their weight. They think they are either at a perfect weight or too fat. The undistorted truth is that between black and white are many shades of gray. Catch yourself when you begin to think such distorted thoughts. You could say something like this,” Okay, I’m not at my ideal weight but I’m not obese”.
4. Enhance The Inner You
Instead of focusing so much on your outer appearance think of how you can begin to enhance the inner YOU. Studies indicate that when we are giving to others we also reap the benefits. What volunteer work could you get involved in?
Developing hobbies is another way to break the cycle of focusing so much on your outer appearance. When you enjoy a hobby you are in the flow so your mind is only focused on that activity.
Meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and prayer are also powerful ways to quiet your monkey mind and release distorted thoughts about your appearance.
Now that you have some tips to move into body love, commit to making this summer your best yet. If you need help with this process, don’t hesitate to contact me for a free 30 minute phone or Skype consultation.