NYC Therapist Talks: Frame of Mind and Body Image
Summer is here- and if I am thinking it, you may be thinking it… Exercising! Bikini season is usually right around the time when women get frantic about fitting into their favorite 2 piece swimsuits. I know it happens to me too…but I wanted to think about this swimsuit season and body image from a healthy angle.
First of all let’s talk about Unconditional Self Acceptance. Women lets be real- body image is a struggle. We all have cellulite, stretch marks, blemishes and other imperfections. And guess what? It’s ok if you have a dimple on your ass cheeks of if you have a couple stretch marks running across your chest. You can spend thousands of dollars trying to “fix” them or spend that money on a vacation! Ladies let’s start accepting our bodies! Own what you got. And stop worrying about what you don’t have- and if you stop reading magazines, it gets a lot easier (because you take some of that body image pressure off of yourself to be perfectly airbrushed)! Unconditional self acceptance (USA) means accepting yourself (and your body) no matter what.
Second let’s modify your beliefs about working out. Sometimes we have perfectionist-type ideas in our head (we call them irrational beliefs) about how we must diet and exercise. Wouldn't it be nice to have measurable goals that are actually attainable? A friend of mine once said my ideals about dieting and weight loss hit home when she asked me what I do when I want to get in shape. When I choose to diet, I add more greens and fruits and that I don’t take anything away. Sometimes just changing perspective can make a significant difference in your diet and exercise results.
It is amazing how much body image can really change when you adopt healthier ways of thinking about your life and the goals you want to accomplish. Accept yourself for who you are! Be realistic in terms of what is considered healthy for your body frame. But most importantly, work on your own thoughts about food and exercise! Having a healthier frame of mind can help you get a healthier body. Easier said than done, but therapy can help you begin to identify the beliefs that keep you from succeeding and teach you how to replace them with more balanced/rational thinking.