Do you feel bad about your body? So do most women in the U.S.A.
Here are some statistics:
About a third of people, especially women, are strongly dissatisfied with their bodies. This is true even among those seen by others as very attractive. (Reported in 1985 by Thomas Cash, a psychologist)
Most men unrealistically perceive their bodies in a positive direction, according to a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology in 1985.
Meanwhile, Glamour magazine surveyed 300 women and found that almost all of them -- 97 percent -- reported an average of 13 negative thoughts about their own bodies each day.
In this culture, women's bodies are held to ridiculously unrealistic standards of perfection. Given the above statistics, if you're satisfied with your body, you're either an abnormal woman or you're a man.
Do you find that outrageous? So do I. Wouldn't it be a relief to stop participating in the media's attempts to make us hate our own bodies? (That's how they sell us products we don't need.) What are we going to do about it?
Is it possible for a woman in 2013 to be satisfied with her body? Dare we think it might be possible to actually love our bodies?
Here are a few ideas to begin the valiant effort to love your body.
1. Think of your body in the way you think of a gorgeous leather briefcase. Its function enhances its beauty. Time and imperfections only add to the beauty and character. Your body holds your "important papers" and houses all of its miraculous functions. Your woman's body works on its own to breathe, renew, and maintain balance. Your woman's body creates and nourishes life. And how cool is this feature -- Your stomach is accordian-pleated to expand and contract with ingestion and digestion. Sadly, many women feel fat, when their bellies are just happily filled to fuel their bodies.
2. Stand away from the mirror. When you look in the mirror, do your eyes automatically alight on the parts that you dislike? Do you zero in on your protruding belly, jiggles and dimples on your thighs, maybe your hips are too curvy or straight, there's perhaps the hint of a second chin, enlarged pores on your nose, and scars from long-gone zits? Don't even get us started on our butts. Sure, you're flawed. Everyone is, or will be. Even those flawless models who taunt us are flawed, but they have the benefit of airbrushing. And for those few who are unflawed, time and gravity will change that fact.
Keep reminding yourself, "The rest of the world doesn't view me in segments or through a magnifying mirror, but as a whole person in motion." So stand back from the mirror. Look at yourself as a whole person, busy living in the world. Move. Gesture. Smile big at yourself in the mirror. Smile from your soul.
Appreciate your beauty as it is, where it is.
3. Think what you could be doing with all the energy you deplete obsessing over your body's flaws. Spending your energy thinking about your body depletes your creative energy. Reach out to people, reach in to your spirit. Find meaningful pursuits. Change your focus and change your life.
4. Pay as much attention to inner beauty as to surface beauty, and watch yourself grow more beautiful every year. Have you ever noticed that as you get to know someone, they seem to become more or less beautiful in your eyes, depending on the character that becomes apparent?
5. Choose to believe you are lovable just the way you are. If you look around, you'll see that people who believe they are lovable treat themselves and others with love and respect, and attract it in return. It's usually not much about their weight or imperfect bodies. In fact, women with perfect bodies are often lonely, and wonder whether they're liked for themselves or being used for their looks.
6. Realize that a fit body, not a perfect body, will help you feel great. Choose a weight that you can maintain without struggling. Forget diets. Focus on truly nourishing yourself. Don't eat anything that you don't find delicious. Structure your eating so that you are eating reasonable portions and reasonable amounts each day. Exercise moderately, preferably moving your body doing things you enjoy. Respect your body, just the way it is.