As a sports dietitian, the majority of my individual clients are male pro or college athletes – guys who have no major issues with their body image. However, among my female clients and women in general, I’ve noticed increased body bashing coinciding with a not so great body image. From comments on facebook about needing to start a cleanse or strict diet to not wearing clothes that show certain body parts, I am stunned at the number of women who don’t feel comfortable in their own skin. So, I turned to my fellow dietitians for words of wisdom to help women get a better body image. And, here’s the expert advice I received:
- There is no such thing as a “perfect” body but, is your body good enough? Does it get you through your long days and tough workouts? Do your muscular thighs help you excel in sports and your strong shoulders help lift your small children into bed? Focus on what your body can do and does for you. (from Karin Kratina)
- To compare is to despair. If fashion magazines or certain TV shows make you focus more intensely (in a negative way) about your body, it’s time to start reading something else or turning the channel.
- Don’t allow negative comments about your body (from yourself or anyone else). When you catch yourself saying “I have big thighs” or “my cellulite”, stop and make a positive comment about your body. And, when you are around girl friends who make these comments, looking for a reaction from you or equal self loathing words, stop the chain by saying nothing and switching the topic.
- Throw out the scale. You can measure your body changes by how your clothes fit. But, living your life by a number on the scale (or worse yet, comparing this # to other people’s weight) will intensify a negative perception of your body.
- Be aware of the people around you. If you grew up with a mom who is a chronic dieter, resolve to break that chain. If you surround yourself with people obsessed with dieting, either ask that they don’t talk about this constantly when you are around or, find other people with more engaging topics of discussion.
- Love it and flaunt it. There’s nothing more attractive than self confidence (well, and a beautiful smile). When you continuously work on 4 simple steps, your body image will improve over time.
The pictures are from Nike ads I just love! This clothing manufacturer not only produces awesome sports clothes but they encourage a better way to view your body. For more, click here.
And finally, if you are a parent reading this, please encourage a healthy body image in your child or teenager. After all, more than half of U.S. teens have had an eating disorder.