In a previous posts I’ve talked about the danger of stress. Do you ever put more pressure on yourself than you need to? How do you see your body? Are you critical and find every flaw? Or do you love your body, even if you’re working to improve how you look?

Fitness experts see a variety of body image issues in their classes and gyms every day. They have important lessons about how people perceive their own bodies and the bodies of others.

The way you view your body is important for overall health and fitness.

Using these strategies can help you develop a positive body image and gain the advantage of stronger mental and physical health:

Understand why body image matters

So take a moment now to really think about the question I asked earlier. How do you feel when you look in the mirror? Do you love your body, or do you think, “UGH! I hate this belly flab.” Do you see your jiggly butt, or age spots on your skin?

It’s easy to become preoccupied with external appearances. Do you worry about how others perceive you? Your mind forms your opinions of body images — yours and what you see in others as well.

Body image issues are tied to self-esteem and confidence. They’re also part of overall emotional health, so unhealthy, critical views can have a strong negative impact on your life.

Challenge stereotypes

Fitness experts see a huge variety of body shapes and sizes. The human body is not restricted to a specific mold. Everyone isn’t the same height or weight. Accepting this variety will help you to challenge stereotypes related to body image.

It’s important to understand that one body type isn’t the correct way to exist. There is no ideal weight, height, or shape on the planet. The universe has created a variety of shapes and sizes for a reason. Diversity makes things more fun and avoids boredom.

It’s also crucial to understand that exercise doesn’t produce the same results in each person. One person may lose weight faster, and another may gain muscle slower.

The stereotype of a stick-thin model or muscular man has to change. Fitness experts recommend avoiding these stereotypes and focusing on your own body. What do you think is your ideal shape?

Find positive role models

A good role model can help guide you to better health. Your fitness instructor could make a good role model, but there are also other options.

Do you watch in awe as 90-year old women exercise in the park? Do you admire your disabled neighbor for still finding a way to stay in shape?

Positive role models don’t have to come out of magazines, television shows, or gyms. They can be normal people who stay in shape and love their bodies. They don’t have to be triathletes to inspire you.

A positive role model can help you to see how a good body image can help make life better.

Focus on healthy eating

A negative body image can lead to eating disorders and other concerns. Fitness experts report seeing these issues often in their classes.

Obsessive calorie counting and worrying can be a serious issue. In addition, they see punishments for messing up a diet or eating something sweet. All of these issues are linked to a poor body image.

With healthy eating, flexibility is at the heart of the meal plans.

Consulting with a dietician, nutritionist, or a health coach can help work on any eating disorders.

It’s important to allow yourself to have cheat days or cheat foods, so your body isn’t constantly craving certain foods. Eating these items in moderation can help you stick to a healthy diet.

Avoid judging others

Why? Because the judgment you have about others often transfers to yourself. And that self-judgment has deeper effects than you may realize.

Instead of criticizing others, focus on positive aspects of their body. This will help you see positive points in your own body image.

A positive body image is essential to overall health. If your body image is suffering, consider these tips and if you still find yourself stuck, schedule a complimentary Discovery Session with me here. 

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