'Tis the season for discounted gym memberships, weight-loss resolutions and post-holiday body snark: "Ugh....this muffin top is outta control!" "I feel gross!" "That's it--I'm getting rid of this jelly belly!"
Weight shaming and blaming is the opposite of healthy. This new year, practice a little body kindness instead so you can truly transform your health.
If you don't like your body, chances are you're less social, generally less satisfied with life and more insecure in your relationships than people who aren't bothered by their appearance, according to a new national study of more than 12,000 adults. Other research shows that regardless of the number on the scale, if you think you're overweight and feel bad about it, you're likely to gain more pounds in the future than people who don't think they need to slim down. Skip the body-bashing and think positive with this research-backed advice.
5 Easy Ways to Embrace MORE Body Love, and LESS Body Bashing
1. Think Beyond Your Weight
There is nothing wrong with aiming or a healthy weight, but the scale isn't the only--or even the best predictor of actual health or fitness. We need to look at other numbers like blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and hormone levels. Emotional well-being, too, is just as important as the physical. Body shame and weight stigma can lead to depression and anxiety (even on very subtle levels). On the other hand, people who accept their shape and take fewer sick days and report feeling healthier than those who are more self-critical, regardless of their weight, a 2008 study from Columbia University found.
2. Reign In The Facebook & Social Media
The more time you spend looking at friends' photos on Facebook, the less you'll like your own body, say researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, after looking at 20 separate studies on social media use and body image. The issue comes from comparing ourselves to others, says Anne Poirier, who runs a "body neutrality" program at Green Mountain at Fox Run, a well-known non-diet weight management facility in Vermont.
Limiting time on social media is one strategy that has been found to help people build a more positive self-image. By comparing yourself less to other people, you start to become less dissatisfied with your own body. I know from personal experience that have I have totally fallen into the trap of "compare and despair." when I spend too much time looking on my phone instead of the world and life around me.
3. Get Outside
People who spend more time in nature appreciate their bodies more than those who don't get out as much, a new British study found. Not only does exposure to nature reduce stress, making us feel better about life in general, but it may also help us focus on what our bodies can do rather than how they look , the researchers say. Being outdoors puts things in perspective, they say--it's tough to focus on hating your highs in the face of a breathtaking sunset especially if it's thanks to those thighs and booty that you made it up the mountain to see that amazing view!!
4. Work It Out
A single workout can make you feel better about the way you look, a review of research in the Journal of Health Psychology found. Researchers analyzed 57 studies and found that working out makes people feel more attractive, regardless of fitness level. Try yoga for some bonus body image points: a new Canadian study found that women who did an hour of yoga got a bigger body image boost than those who took a resistance training class.
Things that make you go hmm.....
5. Find A Real Life Health Hero
"Fitspiration" bloggers and Instagrammers who post pictures of their sleek bodies say they do so to inspire people to meet their own health goals. But in my experience the majority of these sites and accounts focus on just physical appearance, not wellness. And by wellness I mean really taking into account all facets of your life. Spiritual, emotional, physical, & social wellness. All bodies, regardless of their size and ability, can participate in fitness as part of true self-care.
A recent study in the journal of Body Image found that just looking at their pictures can instantly make you feel worse about your own looks. No thank you.
My suggestion is to find real-life role models who are more like you and less like some idealized version of "fit". Health and happiness are not SIZE specific and you are way more than just a number on a scale.
How about this holiday season and new year, we focus on how much we love our bodies and our lives and focus less on the number in front of you on the scale!? As a Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach I am fiercely committed to offering a realistic approach and guidance for creating a body + life that you absolutely LOVE.
There comes a time in everyone's life when we have to make a decision. Are we going to passively go through life, hoping that someday we'll get it together enough to finally love the skin we're in? Or will you decide that even though you're busy, tired, and have a million excuses on why you don't have time to focus on you, it's NOW or NEVER.
WHAT IF ONE CONVERSATION COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE?
Get Even Healthier!
Want to learn how to make positive choices in your own life? Want support in creating your healthiest, happiest life ever? Let’s talk! Schedule a complimentary health coaching consultation with me today – or pass this offer on to someone you care about!