Are you ready to feel body confident?
Women often say to me that they want to be more body confident, that they need my help. However, not every woman who asks for help is REALLY ready to be body confident.
Let me explain.
There are a lot of misconceptions about what a positive body image is, or what being body confident is all about. The biggest myth is that body confidence is about having a BETTER body – a thinner, fitter or more toned shape.
But it’s absolutely not. Body confidence starts in the mind, it doesn’t begin with the physical body. It’s about being comfortable and confident in your own skin, no matter what it looks like.
This isn’t something that many women are ready to grasp.
As soon as we start discussing body confidence, the conversation turns to “If only I could shed this extra weight” or “I’m going on a diet to improve my body confidence.”
This is my signal that the woman isn’t really ready to go on the journey, to do the work that is needed to create lasting body confidence – and that’s absolutely okay, because we each have to go at our own pace, and address things as and when we are ready to.
When you are still attached to dieting or extreme exercise in order to change your body in some way, believing this is the key to making your life better, you aren’t ready to embrace the mind-set that is needed for lasting body confidence.
“To get somewhere new, you must first decide that you are tired of being where you are”
It’s only when you’ve tried every diet and exercise regime going with mixed success in achieving the body you’ve always wanted that you might begin to question if you’re going about things the wrong way.
Don’t get me wrong, ensuring that you have a balanced, healthy and nutritious diet coupled with regular exercise are vital for health and well-being. But when you use restrictive diets and punishing exercise regimes in an attempt to mould your body into something different, you’re coming from a place of hate not love.
We’ve been seduced into believing by the diet/fitness industry that we can and should work on our body to feel better about it. But diets have a 95% failure rate, and there’s a very good reason for that.
If you want to feel better about your body (have a positive body image) you have to begin thinking about it differently first of all. That means identifying and ridding yourself of the negative thoughts that swirl around your mind day in and day out. It means finding a healthier and more positive way to relate to your body, so that you can begin to accept it, exactly as it is now.
Let me be clear, acceptance does not mean that you never change what you eat or the way you move your body, but acceptance generally does inspire healthier change.
Think of it this way – if you say mean and spiteful things to someone to get them to do something, does that work very well? Not normally. The person feels attacked and may be motivated to do the exact opposite of what you want them to do. They’re also likely to do a poor job of whatever it is you want from them. Contrast that to positively encouraging someone in a task through kind and supportive words. How might the person react? They’re likely to feel motivated and equipped to carry out the task, and may even enjoy the process.
Think about your body for a moment. If you constantly say unkind things to it deprive it with ridiculous diets and punish it with extreme exercise, how do you think it will react? This behaviour simply sends your body the message it is useless, it has let you down and doesn’t deserve to be treated with care. But if you began by accepting it, feeding it encouraging thoughts, what difference might that make?
When we accept our bodies and treat them with kind words, we’re more likely to take care of them through how we eat, move and rest. This is called the ‘acceptance paradox’. Once acceptance arrives, whatever you accept begins to change, naturally. Acceptance inspires healthy change in the body, which can result in the shedding of any excess weight, making acceptance far more effective than any diet.
Body confidence is about feeling comfortable and confident in your own skin. If you’re going to achieve that, what approach would you rather take? Do you want to go the route of disliking your body and subjecting it to fad diets and/or extreme exercise to make it conform to a certain size or shape? Or do you instead choose to work on your mind-set, so that you can accept your body? Acceptance of your body will bring your greater health, happiness and peace than any diet ever can.