Body Image: Be Kind to Yourself
By Paola Bassanese, Body Therapist at Weightmatters (see full profile)
Let's talk about body image (read more about body image) and body perception.
How do you describe yourself and your body? How do you feel about your body? And, if you have children, how do you talk about yourself in front of your children? Have you ever caught yourself saying “I am fat” in front of other people? If you did, how did they react?
Body image raises so many questions. The type of feedback you are getting from others reflects the image you have of yourself and your own body. If you have ever heard your children say “I am fat” or “Mummy you look fat”, do you wonder where the message is coming from?
Words are powerful and they become stronger when they are associated with an emotion, either positive or negative.
If we take a step back and look at the body's ability to function unaided, all the involuntary actions it performs like breathing, circulation and digestion, we realise that bodies are wonderful machines. They keep working no matter what label we attach to them, good or bad.
As a body therapist I look at body functions. If a body is healthy, it is beautiful. A beautiful body, to me, has a strong immune system, ticks along nicely, is flexible. This type of body is ageless. Size, shape, height and weight are all irrelevant. What matters is function and performance.
So, going back to body image and your self-talk about your body, next time you look in the mirror take a minute to marvel at the amazing chemical reactions going on under the skin, paying particular attention to the breathing and the rejuvenation process that takes place when you breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide.
You will see a beautifully functioning body and with each breath you will find it more difficult to attach any emotionally-laden labels to your body after that.
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Words by Paola Bassanese