How to End Your Negative Body Image in 5 Seconds or Less
I hate when clients put themselves down based on what they see in the mirror. It not only frustrates me professionally but also challenges me personally.
With summer (AKA swim suit season) practically in full force here in sunny (or rather June-gloomy) Southern California, everyone I know is feeling absolutely giddy about their bodies and can’t wait to slip into their bathing suits. Yes- I am being sarcastic.
In reality, I personally don’t know anyone who looks forward to swimsuit season (except my son). A negative relationship with one’s own body image is a sad but honest reality most people experience when dwelling in the Orange County of Southern California. And what depresses me more than anything is that I have come to expect this behavior of my clients and anyone I encounter on a day-to-day basis. And yes, even with myself.
I get frustrated professionally with clients because the logical and scientific side of my brain (yes I do have that side) argues that there is no such thing as spot reduction and that a client cannot target one specific area of their body to lose weight from or tone exclusively. I also argue from a purely scientific standpoint that if they have not been consistent with their behavior goals from day one, how can they expect any change?
From a personal standpoint I struggle even more. When I have a client grab a thigh, poke at their stomach or shake their arms all while agonizing over how horrible and gross this body part is, all I want to do is give them a hug and remind them of this one important truth; In the grand scheme of life, you are more or less healthy and have so much to be grateful for. Eventually looks will change, muscles will atrophy and what you will be left with is who you are regardless of your outer shell. Stop beating yourself up. Practice self-kindness. Define your own standards of beauty and health before picking up that dumbbell, unrolling your yoga mat, lacing up those running shoes, or hopping on that spin bike or else you will never be enough - EVER.
So with that- I will spill my personal secret on how I turn around my negative body image when it creeps up. Here it is….
I know. So anticlimactic isn’t it?
Before you moan and groan, just hear me out.
I still have my moments of body image warfare like everyone else when I just want to crawl out of my own skin. Not only do I feel like crap, anxiety starts to creep in and I start feeling really angry with myself.
But I have found that doing this single action ends this horrible feeling and it ALWAYS works.
Living in Southern California, I am in my car all the time and at one point or another during my day I inevitably encounter some kind of traffic. In this moment of typical Southern California congestion I take the opportunity to practice kindness. I simply allow someone that is trying to pull out from a parking lot or side street to go in front of me or I let someone who is signaling on the freeway to move in front of me into my lane even if I have to slow down. Practicing this small act of kindness everyday not only makes me feel great about myself, it also quiets down anxiety and reduces stress. I feel awesome knowing that I helped someone out and am also reminded that we are all in this crazy world together trying to survive and get by. Paying it forward with kindness repositions my self-perception and self-value. It reminds me that I am capable of much more than fitting into the narrow confines of what our crazy Orange County defines as physically attractive.
So next time you are frustrated, depressed or even angry at what you perceive in the mirror, perform a simple single act of random kindness; Pay for a stranger’s cup of coffee, hold open a door for someone as they enter a building, even just giving someone a smile as you pass them on the street. It all takes less than 5 minutes and you are reminded that not only are we all in this crazy world surviving together, but kindness is the best looking bathing suit in the world.