When it comes to achieving your fitness (and life) goals, your mental attitude is just as important as your physical abilities.One major obstacle that can hold you back is negative body image issues, which can undermine your confidence and motivation.
However, with the right mindset, you can overcome body image issues and create a stronger, healthier version of yourself.
The first step to mastering your body image issues is recognizing that they exist. According to a survey by the National Eating Disorders Association, 70% of women and 35% of men reported being dissatisfied with their bodies. This dissatisfaction can lead to unhealthy behaviors, such as restrictive dieting, excessive exercise, or binge eating. By acknowledging that you have body image issues, you can begin to take steps to address them.
One effective technique for improving body image is to practice self-compassion.
This means treating yourself with kindness and understanding, rather than judgment and criticism.
Self-compassion has been linked to lower levels of body dissatisfaction and higher levels of self-esteem.
To practice self-compassion, start by acknowledging that everyone has imperfections and struggles, and that it’s okay to make mistakes. Treat yourself as you would treat a friend, with encouragement and support rather than harsh criticism.
Another way to master your body image issues is to focus on the positive aspects of your body. Instead of dwelling on perceived flaws or imperfections, make a list of things you like about your body.
Maybe you have strong legs that can carry you through a tough workout, or shapely arms that can lift heavy weights.
Focusing on what your body can do, rather than how it looks, can help you develop a more positive relationship with your physical self.
It’s also important to recognize that the images we see in the media are often unrealistic and unattainable. Social media platforms in particular can exacerbate body image issues by promoting an unattainable ideal of beauty.
However, you can take control of the media you consume by curating your own social media feeds to include more diverse and realistic images.
Follow fitness influencers like @yegfitness who promote body positivity and self-acceptance, and unfollow those who promote unrealistic beauty standards.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to seek professional help if your body image issues are causing significant distress.
A therapist or counsellor can help you work through negative thoughts and emotions and develop more positive coping strategies. They can also help you identify and address any underlying psychological factors that may be contributing to your body image issues.
In conclusion, mastering your body image issues is an essential component of achieving a stronger, healthier you.
By recognizing that body image issues exist and taking steps to address them, you can develop a more positive relationship with your physical self. With the right mindset and tools, you can overcome negative body image and achieve your fitness goals with confidence and self-love.
Dr Jake Linardon (PhD) is the founder of Break Binge Eating and works as a Research Fellow at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. Jake’s work involves trying to better understand and treat eating disorders, particularly through the use of innovative technologies. Jake has published over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles, across the world’s leading psychiatry and clinical psychology scientiﬁc journals, and serves on the editorial board for the International Journal of Eating Disorders and Body Image. Jake is passionate about increasing access to evidence-based care among people with eating and body image issues.