5 Tips for a Happier Body Image

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Have you ever looked in the mirror and not liked what you see? And then, hours later looked in the mirror again and felt happy with your reflection? Chances are, you have!

What could have happened in the interim between those two instances? Maybe you changed your clothes, done something satisfying, or received some good news. You were probably feeling good about yourself, and this translated into feeling pleased with your image.

Body image is how you imagine your body, and how you envision that other people see you. But the way you view your own body can be different from how someone else sees it.

We are bombarded daily with media images that objectify the human body. Women are seen as sex objects and men are seen as success objects. This objectification causes shame and suffering, distorted behaviors, and mixed messages around food, body and sexuality.

A lot of people do not feel good about themselves. So they try to make themselves feel better by working on their body. They feel that their body needs to look a certain way in order to love it, and once they love their body, they’ll feel good. The truth is a healthy body image comes from committing to loving your body unconditionally under any circumstance.

A healthy body image has physiological consequences. A positive body image causes the body to be in a relaxation mode. This causes our metabolic, digestive and calorie burning capacities to be at their optimum levels.

In the world of Mind-Body Nutrition, authenticity and truth are powerful tools. When there is a consciousness and awareness of thoughts and feelings, when we acknowledge our truth, we are truly embodied and present and able to accept our body for what it is. The body will become what it is meant to be when you, as a person, become the person you are meant to be.

Here, at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, we use Dynamic Eating Psychology techniques to help our clients through the journey of healing body image. Here are 5 tips on how to achieve this:

1. Say something kind to your body every day.

A powerful healing happens when we love our body the way it is right now. When we do this, the body falls into a physiological relaxation response and functions at its full metabolic potential.

2. Look at yourself in the mirror with curiosity.

Really observe and accept the body as it is right now. Embrace it on its own terms, and discover its innate pleasure. Embodiment is a strong healing strategy, and when you love the body you have, you can experience the best state of nutritional metabolism.

3. Wear clothes that make you feel good about yourself.

You look as good as you feel. Dress the body in ways that give you pleasure and make you feel attractive and sexy. Your body image mirrors your sexual image. Choose clothes that make you feel positive and beautiful, sexual and confident. And these feelings will reflect in how you perceive yourself.

4. Move and exercise in ways that you enjoy.

Incorporate activities into your life that are fun. Moving in ways that you enjoy allows you to be in your body and can give you evidence that you do not need a certain body type to be happy.

5. Notice the beauty in everyone you see.

Surround yourself with people who are positive and non-judgmental of self and others. People come in different shapes and sizes, and bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table. Accept people for who they are, open up to them, be present and authentic, and walk the journey of life together.

The Institute for the Psychology of Eating advocates giving these tips a try as you work toward healing your body image. Remember that changing the body to look a certain way does not guarantee happiness or success. A healthy body image is one where we accept and rejoice in the body as it is and as it looks.

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