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Body Image: Learning Love and Acceptance

Body Image - Summit Counseling CenterThe idea that every individual should be a certain size and weight greatly affects the way we look at ourselves in the mirror. The promotion of a tiny waistline leads to judgements, over exercising, feeling depressed and anxious, body dissatisfaction, and sometimes disordered eating. Striving for the perfect body wreaks havoc on our mental health because it’s unattainable; perfect doesn’t exist. If you or someone you know is struggling here are 5 tips to help you learn to love and accept your body.

1) Make less comparisons

If there is one thing that is certain it is that we live in a world full of unique people who all look different. Some of us our short and some of us are tall. Some of us have short torsos and some of us have long legs. Some of us have narrow hips and some of us have wide hips. Even though we are tempted to compare our bodies against other people’s bodies, judgements are not helpful to our minds. Judgments keep us in “black and white” thinking when life is about the gray in between.

2) Stop body checking

Sometimes it can feel helpful to look yourself up and down several times in the mirror focusing on areas you’d like to change. But body checking often promotes body shaming and negative self-talk which leads to poor body image. When we feel bad about our bodies it can make us feel anxious, depressed, or increase guilt and shame associated with eating which can lead to unhealthy coping skills such as eating disorders. Try decorating your mirror with pictures that make you smile or remind you of how awesome you are!

3) Throw away the scale

Even though scales can be helpful for determining our weight at our annual doctor’s appointment, you don’t need to weigh yourself every day at home. Weighing yourself daily could cause you to become preoccupied with the number of the scale rather than focusing on your health. Chances are good that you’ll be healthy if you eat nutritious food, eat when you’re hungry, stop eating when you’re full, and incorporate an exercise routine. The number on the scale doesn’t matter, feeling good physically and mentally in your body is the most important thing!

4) Get rid of clothes that don’t fit

We all know the feeling of wanting to hold onto a pair of pants that don’t fit anymore just in case we lose weight. STOP and throw out the pants! Keeping clothes that don’t fit can make you feel uncomfortable and can be another thing that makes you judge your body.

5) Talk kindly to yourself

You control the voice inside your head. If you want to feel good about yourself, spend time practice positive self-talk. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself. Try speaking to yourself in a way that promotes love and acceptance.

If you or a loved one is struggling with issues related to body image or disordered eating please contact the Summit Counseling Center to make an appointment by calling 678-893-5300 or visiting our website www.summitcounseling.org

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