Body image is a huge source of suffering for so many people today, and it’s also one of the biggest reasons why people seek out Eating Psychology coaching. Body image is more than just a picture in our minds of what we think we look like – it’s also a conversation that we have with ourselves, and far too often, that conversation is not very nice.
In fact, it can be downright hurtful. Where does this inner dialogue come from, and why do we feel like we need to put ourselves down? If you’ve ever pondered these questions, you’ll want to check out this fresh new video from #IPEtv. Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, breaks down the forces that influence our self-perception and poses a challenge that will have you questioning everything you think you know about how you look.
Below is a transcript of this week’s video:
Greetings friends, this is Marc David, founder of the Institute for the psychology of eating
Today’s topic: The Great Body Image Challenge
Let’s see if we could agree on one thing from the outset here my friends:
Body image is a pretty tough place to make any kind of headway.
There are a lot of people who simply don’t like their own body.
There are even more people who don’t love their own body.
Stated in another way, there’s a huge amount of people who live in a constant inner conversation of body hate. Women are especially vulnerable to this, though I see it more and more amongst men.
When I say a constant inner conversation of body hate, I’m talking about incessant and silent self-criticism, self attack, self judgment, negative statements aimed at self, feelings of disgust for one’s own body, or body fat, or specific body parts, and so much more.
This is one of the most shocking and unfortunate mental pastimes that people engage in.
It crushes the soul.
It robs us of our power.
It drains our energy.
It has us wasting our time in over-exercising.
It has us wasting our time in foolish diet strategies.
It stops us from being more intimate with others.
It inhibits the flow of love.
It weakens us.
It slows our personal development.
It attracts to us the kind of relationships that often wound us.
And it’s a damaging legacy to pass on to our children.
Most people believe that they can heal their unfortunate image of their own body by simply changing their body. Sounds like it makes sense. Sounds like it would quickly take us out of our misery. It sounds completely reasonable. But quite frankly, I don’t see that working so well. Yes, there’s a small subset of people who lose weight and like themselves better. But the majority of people I meet don’t share that fate. It seldom works.
So here is the great body image challenge:
How do we love our bodies more?
What happens when we’ve been continuously unsuccessful in changing the body to look exactly the way we want?
Does that mean we’re screwed for life and we simply need to get used to a lifetime of self-hate?
But there’s more to the great body image challenge:
How can we learn to love our bodies more in a world where the media is bombarding us with impossible to attain images of airbrushed perfection?
How can we love the body we live in when all the images we see on television, in movies and magazines, show a world of happy slender Hollywood good-looking people – the likes of which will never ever be us?
This is the great body image challenge my friends, plain and simple.
I’m not offering a traditional solution here.
That’s because there is no quick fix solution.
This challenge in many ways, defies fixing.
But the good news here is that we can really see this challenge, frame it correctly, and look at it for what it is.
And what it is – is this:
Our minds have been hijacked.
The image we have of our own body has been poisoned and polluted by the stupidity, meanness, greed, and arrogance that exists in the world.
Your task is not to dramatically alter your body through surgery and exercise so you can be lovable and have the good life.
That’s the great body image challenge.
It’s about reclaiming our natural inborn love and acceptance of the body that we live in.
It’s about freeing our minds from the viral programming that the world has infected us with.
Think of your computer. How many times does it remind you that it needs to be virus resistant, that you need to purchase some program or some protection so our precious computer isn’t infected by malicious viruses that are designed to crash your machine, make it completely ineffective, and to corrupt all the good things that it contains?
Believe it or not, there are people in the world who spend a heck of a lot of their own time figuring out ways to create viruses that mess with your Mac or your PC. You know this.
What we fail to recognize, is that it’s the same kind of consciousness that is infecting our minds with the viral program called “ you will now hate your body. You will compare it to other bodies. In fact, you will compare it to the bodies that we want you to compare it to – which are the very bodies you will never attain. We will sell you things. We will make you buy our products. We will make you feel weak and insecure. And then we can influence you better to spend your money and your energy so it benefits the creator of the virus.”
I’d love for you to really consider this.
I’d love for you to think about how your mind may indeed be programmed.
This is the great body image challenge:
Not to change your body, but to begin to change your mind. To honestly look at where your thoughts come from.
Simply put, anything like a virus or bacteria which attacks the body is something that we would immediately treat with the most powerful drugs.
You would not hesitate to attack any organism that’s trying to bring you down or kill you. The field of medicine is very clear about this.
By the same token, I’m suggesting we need to take the same heroic measures when it comes to viral thoughts and beliefs. Your own mind is attacking you.
We need to change that.
That’s the great body image challenge.
Take on the challenge.
From there, the path to wholeness will begin to reveal itself.
I hope this was helpful my friends.
In the comments below, please let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you and we read and respond to every comment! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific questions and we will be sure to get back to you.
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