What to Do if You’re Stuck in Negative Body Image

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.

—Audre Lorde

Everywhere we turn, we are told to love our body. Celebrities confidently tell people to love the skin they’re in, while commercials tell us to embrace our curves (all while trying to sell us something, of course). However, the reality is that most of us don’t love our bodies. In fact, many people don’t like their bodies very much at all.

Here’s the thing:

It’s okay if you don’t like your body right now.  Actually, it’s okay if you hate it.  I don’t mean that self-hate is okay or that low body image is good for you. But, if that is where you are at right now, there is now sense in fighting that.

Instead, accept that you are in a negative place right now.  Whether you are overeating, under-eating, abusing food, over-exercising or not exercising at all, accept exactly where you are at this moment in time.  Your thighs jiggle? Accept it.  Can’t run a mile? Accept it.  Don’t have muscles? Accept it.  Accept and believe that your body is exactly where it is supposed to be right now.  And, then, give yourself this parting thought: But I believe it can change.  For example, “I accept that I don’t like my body right now.  But I believe that can change.” Or, “I accept that I am making bad choices about food right now.  But I believe that can change.”

Second, begin to change your thoughts.  Instead of saying, “I am fat” or “My body is so gross,” think “I have unwanted fat” and “I have feelings of discomfort about my body.” Disassociate yourself (your true self) from your unhappiness.  You are not your unhappiness.  You are not your body image.  You are not your discomfort.  Those are just thoughts and beliefs that you are experiencing right now.  But, that can change.

Third, start to wonder: What does this thought/belief really mean? When you think, “I am fat,” what are you really thinking? For most people, the true thoughts are probably: I am unworthy.  I am a failure.  I can’t do anything right.  No one will ever love me.  The truth is that your discomfort probably stems not from your physical shape, but from the hateful, shameful, painful thoughts that you have chosen to believe and attach to about your physical shape.  Once you realize that, you will begin to see that the gym isn’t the answer to your problems.  The gym can make you healthier and more toned, but it cannot fix your feelings of unworthiness.

Here’s the beauty of that realization: While you might never able to be able to completely change your body, you can completely change the way you feel about your body.  You might not be able to become a size two or a supermodel, but you can become someone who loves, values, and respects their body.

And, once you enter that state, you are probably going to find it impossible to make unhealthy choices.  Just like someone who thinks “I am fat and gross” probably has a hard time making positive choices, someone who thinks “My body is sacred and precious” is probably going to feel much more compelled to make healthy choices.  When you go to the gym or walk through the grocery store or scan a restaurant menu, you won’t be doing so with low frequency thoughts, but rather with home frequency feelings of empowerment, self-worth…and fullness.

So, in the end, by changing your mentality, you actually will be able to change your physical body.  You won’t be as likely to want to fill up with fast food or food that you know will cause you to crash later on.  You won’t find yourself craving chips and cookies, but fruits and veggies and things that will make you feel good.  You will reach for whole foods that will feed you physically and emotionally and that will help you to create the energy you desire, at least most of the time.

So, wherever your body is at right now—accept it. But don’t forget the next part of that thought—“But I believe that can change.”

For more on changing your perceptions to shape your reality into the life and relationship you most desire, read my book: Quantum Love: Use Your Body’s Atomic Energy to Create the Relationship You Desire.

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