Losing Weight Does Not Cure Negative Body Image.
Body love – do you have it? If you are reading this post, then perhaps the title touched a part of you that knows you DON’T love your body enough or sadly perhaps at all. Remarkably this is a huge issue for a lot of women and men today. “Low self-esteem is a thinking disorder in which an individual view him/herself as inadequate, unlovable, and/or incompetent. Once formed, this negative view permeates every thought, producing faulty assumptions and ongoing self-defeating behaviour.” Says Neumann MD report 2014. With these attitudes starting so young, no wonder it’s so hard to shake as we become adults and constantly reflect and build solid belief systems around them.
Interestingly enough according to Melissa Linton’s Teens & Eating Disorder’ report – A girl’s self-esteem is more strongly related to how she views her own body shape and body weight, than how much she actually weighs. This says how we don’t have a grasp of the reality of our bodies most of the time. I remember looking back at photos of me at 21 and thinking how gorgeous I looked and my body was beautiful, however, at the time how depressed I was about my body and looks – it was a shock when I realised. So now when that negative self-talk slips in about my body, I imagine being 90 and looking at my body now and thinking how young and gorgeous I look and be grateful for who I am right now – my healthy beautiful body.
If You Love Your Body. It Will Love You Back.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is also a much under diagnosed issue and when we see how social media has highlighted the need to create Instagram images be ‘perfect’ is scary. I suffer the same myself, however my shots are 3 of choice not 50 like some do. I believe some women are going to plastic surgeons taking photos of themselves with a filter saying they want to look like that!
Recently I saw a quote saying how we love ‘things’ instead of ‘people’ and it reminds us to reflect on what is REAL BEAUTY? When I had my son, I was in awe of my body that it could create another human being, I didn’t have the smoothest of births, a caesarean and very hard labour with overlapping contractions, yes very difficult. However, the discovery of living for something greater than myself made me see that life is bigger than the problems that circle endlessly in my head was such a relief. To focus on health and wellbeing, for myself and for another. When I took refuge as a Buddhist and spent time understanding the nature of the mind, I learnt so much about how our projection of self creates our reality – yes, we attract what we believe, it shows up in our life and then we then blame society or others – so be conscious of what you are creating. This is why in all my brand sessions I work with my clients to uncover their personal beliefs, their values and attitudes to their career and work. This always showcases any blocks or issues that will surface or are already surfacing in their worlds. Recently I was watching the Matrix, yes, I’m a huge fan because in fact
it’s based on this exact thinking, our world is a projection and we watch trapped in our own belief that we are all separate beings when in fact we belong to a bigger picture. Spiritually (not the Matrix so much) Buddhism talks about how we are connected to one stream of consciousness, so that means we are all truly connected. I believe there has been a very big shift in that realisation and as synchronicity becomes stronger and more evident, people’s minds are opening to a different perception or understanding of reality. The younger generation Z lives this new thinking caught between the 4th industrial revolution of ‘access’ vs ‘ownership’ and will drive the change for all other generations. However, the mental health around relationships to others and self is still dangerously being affected by social media and needs the support of others. Coaches and social work is crucial today. I also wanted to share a video I often use in my talks, it’s my favourite video from Dove about how we see ourselves and how that perception is often distorted. I talk about the video in my podcast.
7 in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.
Shapiro, Hannah. “Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty boosts girls’ self-esteem for Back to School.” Examiner.com. Accessed March 3, 2014.
My 7 Top Tips on How to Love Your Body:
Stop Comparing Yourself.
Our media is talking to our sub-conscious every day, every moment we step online or into the physical world. Social media was built from its inception on comparison – prefer woman A or B (if you remember from the Facebook movie ‘The Social Network’). So, we are always looking to compare. It’s true we have a human built in behaviour that needs us to survive so we are always monitoring our safety. Growing up with ‘looking good’ equates to ‘greater chance of survival’ then no wonder we are anxious about our body. If we reset and look at voluptuous women equals affluence and potency – then having a shapely body means we will prevail! So, first step is to notice how you compare yourself and then consciously say to yourself – NO-ONE IS LIKE me – because it’s true! You will never be like anyone else as we are all unique (truly) therefore it’s a no-win situation – give up and embrace YOU!
Express Gratitude Everyday.
Every day I wake up truly grateful that I woke up! I thank my body for keeping me working and for God/Universe/Spirit blessing me with life. If you know anything about law of attraction, you know that when you stay in gratitude you tune into the vast abundance of the life and if you tune into lack or negative self-talk you cut off that abundance. Remember to open the channel every morning and before you sleep with words of gratitude.
Choose to ‘Release’ not ‘Lose’ Weight.
Our words are super important and one thing we often say is that we need to ‘lose’ weight. Change that to ‘release’ weight – because what do we have to do when we lose something? Find it.
Clear Your Skinny/Fat Clothes?
I used to have these special draws of my ‘skinny’ clothes (when I’d lost some weight) and my feeling ‘fat’ clothes (when I’d put on weight OR just felt fat!). When I decided to not have that thought pattern running I got rid of both draws (and clothes). There was something really powerful about that process for me as it helped me let go of that constant judging of what my body state was in.
Don’t Bully Yourself.
I remember when I had a scare, I’d had a scan and the said they had found a lump in breast. All the berating of the shape or state of my breasts, stomach, hips and thighs came flooding in like a collection of hate mail. I then felt myself beat myself up yet again for my attitude and stopped. I looked at my breasts with extreme gratitude and love – how could I ever be so judging. These breasts that gave life to my son, that stood for being a woman and that are part of me completely. The judging of our bodies causes a deep disconnection that may ultimately lead to disease – so be kind to YOU.
Talk to Your Body.
Your body is this incredible intelligent organism. It hears and feels EVERYTHING. It remembers every trauma, every beautiful experience and keeps a stock of ‘what happened’ and ‘what is’. This is often called the ‘body mind’ and in this mind, it doesn’t know words that may differentiate meaning from ‘I need to lose weight’ or ‘I have lost weight’ – it just hears WEIGHT. The word itself is what it hears and absorbs, so keep your words positive and solution orientated. For example – I feel beautiful, I am mt ideal size, my clothes feel fit me well, I have energy, love and power in my body. I have done a lot of work with kinesiology to release any stuck emotions or experiences in my ‘body mind’. For example, just recently in a session, I remembered an experience at 9 where a young boy touched me and I went into shock. My body made it mean something else, which ultimately impacted my weight gain today (listen to my podcast for full story).
Move Your Body.
The most important step is to MOVE. It’s often my last call to action but the most important one. When we move we allow all the negative self-talk and stuck-ness to release and MOVE. Just walk for your mind, not your body – the benefits will be a bonus.
‘My Body, My Love’
My body my love.
How you have stood by me, always doing what I ask.
Understanding that the whisper of a thought,
a belief and a feeling can steer me exactly where they lead.
Your unwavering dedication and fully developed
intelligence will always manifest the deepest
dreamscape of my subconscious.
Dare I disturb your fierce attention.
I will reach inside to know your plan,
your library of my world.
How I long to be friends so I may laugh
on the days of tiredness and a faithless attitude.
I close my eyes to disconnect from doubt
and connect to the love and trust that lives in each cell,
so I never question my magnificence.
I choose now to live this precious life and fulfil the
glorious explosion of body and spirit as one.
A video created by DOVE is my favourite on how we judge ourselves too harshly.
MRS V: Scarlett Vespa
Scarlett’s passion is branding and how to help people shape their personal or business brand to be future-proof. Her 25 year+ experience in advertising and branding working as Head of Broadcast for CBA and creating work for businesses such as Westfield, Westpac, David Jones, AMP, White Ribbon, Bonds and many more, gives her a vast knowledge on how to help individuals and businesses face an ever-changing landscape.
Scarlett’s other passion is to empower women at work and holds a yearly event called the ‘Mrs V Shift’ at the Langham Sydney, with over 25 speakers on how build your best self. She also loves to create videos, blogs, podcasts on all things educational, innovative and inspirational. See more about her here: Profile Website.