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Suggestions On Attaining A Better Body Image

WomanSilhouette2Western society has valued thinness since Twiggy burst on the fashion landscape in 1966 and began the love affair of the fashion industry with women who are a size 2 and smaller. This affair has become so ingrained into society that the number of infomercials selling diet and exercise products only continues to rise year after year.

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion-dollar concern that capitalizes on negative body images which children, teens and adults and seniors get from the intense advertising campaigns and marketing ploys used by fashion designers and makeup divas. Some of these infomercials actually focus on senior population, using models who say they are over 60 but don’t look a day over 45.

Through all of this advertising and marketing we have also come to believe that the shape of our bodies is completely under our control. Unfortunately, this just isn’t true because, while we may be able to affect a number on the scale, where that weight is distributed on our body depends upon other factors.

Learning to have a positive body image is not related to numbers on the scale, dress sizes or body measurements. And, because technology to change the shape of our bodies does not exist, it’s time to start living and loving what we were born with.

The first trap that we all fall into is believing that we must achieve an ideal that is produced and driven solely in the media. This particular trap is difficult for women to overlook because they not only see themselves in a negative light but believe that men, who also see the same advertising and media campaigns, also see them in a negative light.

When we use unattainable fashion photography that is airbrushed and touched up we are never free of our own insecurities and self-consciousness about our bodies. Our size and shape is the result of several factors, including exercise, calorie intake and genetics. While we can control the first two factors, the third one is completely out of our reach. We are who we are and we look like what we look like. The sooner that we learn to have a positive self-image about ourselves the sooner we will enjoy and live our lives with fun and excitement.

There are some specific things that we can do in our daily lives that will help us to learn and incorporate a positive body image so that we can be happier with ourselves.

The first thing you should do is stop comparing yourself with other people. Even though it is easy, it is a game we always lose. Every time you hear that little voice in your head comparing yourself to someone else or noticing how much thinner or in better shape someone else is you must STOP! You really do have control over that inner voice and the sooner you take control over it the happier you will be. This is true not only of your own self-image but also in relationships, business and your job.

The second thing you should do is learn how to take a compliment, and in return complement others. For most of us this is difficult to learn because it is so much easier to believe the bad stuff because we think the bad stuff ourselves. You must learn to enjoy the company you keep. This also means enjoying yourself! Spend time giving yourself and others complements every day. You may think it’s a bit weird but it is important to acknowledge your accomplishments and give yourself a verbal reward. If you don’t think enough of yourself to recognize your accomplishments, why should anyone else?

The third thing you can do is to stay out of of fantasy land. Too many times we think about what we could be or how things might have been instead of living in the moment. Today is really all we have. Tomorrow may not happen and yesterday cannot be changed, so it’s time to live today. If you are enjoying yourself right now you will not have the time or the energy to fantasize what might have been or what could have been.

Do not give up your dreams and goals but do not spend your time fantasizing about things that have already happened or things that cannot change. For instance, don’t get involved in thinking about how you look or how much you weigh today. Instead, you may start on a journey of self-improvement through exercise and improved nutritional diet. By being loving and giving yourself you will attract loving and giving people.

Remember that our bodies were designed to move on a consistent basis. Researchers have found that with the movement our bodies release endorphins, chemical hormones that elevate our mood and help us feel better about ourselves. When we reconnect with the body that we have today we appreciate what we can do and set realistic goals about what we might want to accomplish tomorrow. This can never be done sitting on the couch watching television, watching other people move and live. So get the remote out of your hands and get up and move!

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Copyright 2014 The Franklin Reporter & Advocate
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