I would be lying if I told you I don’t struggle with maintaining a healthy body image. I am taking steps in the right direction to prevent this from becoming severe, as I know it can. I’m growing older & the weight doesn’t come off as easy as it used. Then hormones play a big part in it since I’m 51 yrs old and heading into menopause. What woman doesn’t struggle with this?
I recently went on vacation and had to wear a bathing suit for part of it. I was so self-conscious that I had to do a lot of positive self-talk and refrain from comparing myself with others. We were in good company as we all were a little fluffier from the last two years of being cooped up-good ole’ covid! My mind still wanted to go there, though. It comes down to accepting yourself just the way you are for this moment.
Internal Messages Affecting Body Image
I know men and women of all kinds struggle with their body image. It is important to be aware of how far your thoughts run. Fortunately I apply my self-care tools and turn my negative thoughts into positive, healthy thoughts. I work at caring for my body daily, whether it be exercise, eating right, or personal hygiene. I remind myself that it’s progress, NOT perfection.
In my teen years, I very much could have become bulimic. My brother used to say to me “Oh! You’re just big-boned.” Why that message stuck with me becoming detrimental to my well-being is beyond me. It’s funny how internal messages get stuck and become a driving force positively or negatively. Today, it’s more important for me to exercise for fitness purposes -staying strong and healthy instead of weight loss. Losing weight would be a bonus but not the end goal.
Before I became sober I hated myself entirely. It wasn’t just the poor choices I made in my life. Self-loathing ruled me and controlled my decisions for a long time. I believe this stemmed back from my mom giving me up for adoption. The internal message of being “unlovable” followed me into my friendships and love relationships. I am grateful for the 12-Step program and my sponsors who took me through the “steps” to address these deeper issues.
Positive Body Image
Positively viewing my body image requires me to apply my self-care tools. There are days when I feel inadequate and wish I were skinnier, prettier, or younger. Here are some I refer to when feeling low about myself:
Practice positive self-talk
Accepting and appreciating all my body does for me
Write a letter of gratitude to my body
Speak positive affirmations over my body
Do something nice for my body like a new haircut or a massage
Self-care for my body and appearance in ways that feel healthy and fulfilling like exercise and healthy food
Remind myself that beauty is not just about appearance
Refrain from comparing myself to others
In conclusion, I like the person I am becoming. I’ve come a long way! My husband adores me and accepts me for who I am. That is just as important as my accepting me entirely. I love and accept myself and others just as they are. I am a firm believer in self-care and being kind to myself in thought and deed. This allows me to extend the same to you.
If you are not able to maintain a healthy body image and are beginning to obsess over certain body parts or your body as a whole-please seek help with a professional such as a therapist or support group. you should not have to bear this alone. If you missed my previous blog “Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle” I share more tips with you on self care and good eating habits.
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