Body Image rethink
I got talking with someone the other day about body image, and it got me down a big rabbit hole in considering it and what it means to us. From what I see, we are rarely ever happy about what we see in the mirror. We focus on all the spots that we don’t like, the spots that need to tighten, tone, lose fat, gain muscle etc. As I talk with people about this, they usually highlight an area of their body that they do not enjoy, and then discuss a body part on some else that they want (this could be someone they know, or unrealistic social media images). The interesting thing I have noticed is this: Person A has a body part they don’t like (for an example we will use stomach) and likes that body part on person B, while simultaneously, person B has another part they don’t like but person B also happens to like the disliked body part on person A! What your unhappy with becomes something someone else wants and vice versa. I like to refer to this as body capitalism. We try to eat and train ourselves into the body we think we will like and we admire other people and their features and wish we had them. We are trying to collect body parts like things in our house, except it doesn’t work that way. We all have different bodies and we need to take the good with bad together, because we are a whole. Personally, I have a malformed sternum and growing up thi made me very self-conscious. I would walk around with my arms crossed to hide it, I was ashamed of it. Now, I accept this along with the things I like about my body because they are me. I have trained myself to an image I am happy with, taking in the things I can realistically change (based on how I want to live my life), and the things that I obviously can’t. In no way do I think that striving for the body we want is all negative, but I do think we need to realign our focus in how we approach our body image. The shift in mindset for me is subtle. I think if we put focus into the progress that ultimately results in the body we want to achieve, we will be much happier. So what does that look like? It means giving ourselves a big pat on the back for hitting all your workouts in the week. It is a high five for prepping your meals like you wanted to. It is nailing the extra couple reps to beat last week’s best. It is finding the joy in grabbing an after dinner walk instead of hitting the couch. When we start focusing on all those amazing things we do to make change, you will really be able to appreciate what you like about your body, and have forgiveness for the parts you want to improve. Put focus into the positive changes you make can lead to your improved body, instead of solely focusing on the end result of those changes can make a world of difference in your mindset.