Nov 162008
 

These tips for builidng a healthy body image will help feel better about your size, shape, and natural beauty. And, a writer shares her experience with eating disorders, diets, and self-image — and loving her body just the way it is!

Before the tips, a quip from Queen Latifah:

“For me, it might sound cliche, but beauty for me really does start on the inside,” says this hip hop queen. “It’s like a state of mind, a state of love if you will. Then, whatever you can do on the outside is all like a bonus.”

For more info about being beautiful from the inside out, click on Wanting to be Her: Body Image Secrets Victoria Won’t Tell You by Michelle Graham. And, read on to learn how freelance writer Lisa Nichols learned to accept her curves…plus, five tips for building a healthy body image!

5 Tips for Building a Healthy Body Image

1. Focus on your strengths and positive qualities. To gain confidence in your appearance, notice what you love about your body! Building a healthy body images means focusing your strengths, not your weaknesses. For more info, read 10 Tips for Increasing Your Body Confidence.

2. Choose your friends wisely. If your friends or family comment on your flaws, consider limiting the amount of time you spend with them. To boost a bad body image includes looking out for your best interests.

3. Figure out who you are and what you want out of life! What are your dreams, passions, and goals? Concentrate on them – and achieving your goals – and worry less about your body image. This, ironically, will help build body confidence.

4. Get healthy. Move your body around, learn how hunger works, try new physical activities. Enjoy the confidence movement and fresh air brings! Building a healthy body image and achieving your beauty goals is about being strong and active.

5. Learn to be comfortable – and fearless! – when you’re naked. Building a healthy body image means enjoying your body no matter what size or shape you are. For help, read Tips for Enhancing Your Natural Beauty.

Do you have any tips for building a healthy body image? Please comment below…

A Small Question of Size

by Lisa Nichols

A friend and I were recently talking about my attempts to lose weight. Between walking and eating organic foods, I managed to strip myself of eight pounds. Only to go on vacation and gain back just under four pounds in two weeks. My original goal was to lose 15 pounds. But like I told my friend, that less-than-lofty goal would just put me squarely at my regular, 15 pounds overweight status. Which is just fine.

Like most women, I’ve spent a lifetime worrying about my weight. Even when I wasn’t worrying about it, that number was still on my mind. Oversized and in lights, like a movie theater’s marquee. Crash diets to slough off the extra baggage included the grapefruit diet (yup, it was all grapefruit, all the time), diet pills (from speed to OTC drugs, I’ve tried them all), gulping diuretics by the handful and my favorite diet, fasting. Drinking organic juices for a day and then not eating at all for several days.

I found that all of the diets worked well. If you don’t count the bitchiness, the gnawing hunger and the migraine headaches. They worked. Until I stopped taking the pills. Started eating solid foods again. Then I gained weight almost as quickly as it fell off.

I was well schooled in my eating disorder from a young age. The older gymnasts made dieting more competitive than doing back flips on the balance beam or executing a well-orchestrated floor routine. It was easy. And I so wanted to be like them. Skinny. Wearing high-cut leotards that emphasized an angular frame. Hair tied back tight. Smoking in the locker room and smirking at the younger girls.

I wasted far too much of my teen years thinking about myself and how I looked, instead of just enjoying my life. It makes me sad to think about it now. My twenties were spent fumbling around, trying to find myself. In the early part of the decade, I wore too much eye makeup and stuck contact lenses in my eyes, accepting the resulting burn as the price paid for beauty. By age 27, I learned to like myself without makeup and to love my glasses. But I still fought to wear a size six. Even if it meant laying on the bed to zip up my zipper. That size meant a lot to me. And it was hard to leave it behind.

But then something happened the year I turned 30. I finally became comfortable in my skin. Nowhere near as skinny as I was when I was 18. Rounder and softer than I was in my 20’s. With lines that appear like a flash every time I laugh.

I always thought I had great self confidence. The bold one in my group of friends. The one who never turns down a dare and isn’t afraid to try anything once. But when I turned 30, I realized how it really feels to be confident. To be comfortable in my own skin. And that kind of confidence is sexy. It draws other people to you like a magnet.

I’m not going to be the prettiest, the youngest or the smartest (not by a long shot, ha ha) person in the room. If I went to the gym every day and sweat it out with the ogling steroid-ridden weight lifters, I still wouldn’t be “cut.” I have no angles or hard edges anywhere on my body. I have a J. Lo that’s in fierce competition with the original. Even my curves have curves.

What I am is myself. And I like it here.

For more healthy body image info, read 3 Tips for Overcoming Binge Eating and Bulimia.

Lisa Nichols is a Portland, Oregon-based freelance writer and the author of the rose city journal blog.

laurie pawlik kienlenI'm Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen - bookworm, travel bug, flute player, writer, blogger, warrior princess. :-) My husband and I live in Vancouver, Canada with our cat and dogs.

Are you happy? My Grade 10 Social Studies teacher always asked me that. And I am happy, despite a hard childhood (schizophrenic mom, no dad, foster homes), infertility, an eating disorder, and a chronic illness. The source of my peace and joy is God; I'm a Christian. Where do you find peace?

I welcome your big and little comments below, about big or little things. I can't give you advice, but writing can give you clarity and insight.

In peace and passion...Laurie

  6 Responses to “5 Tips for Building a Healthy Body Image”

  1. Hi fluffylove,

    I’m sorry to hear about your struggle – I know how difficult it is when you don’t have a healthy body image! Even women who look fit, slim, and beautiful struggle with their body image.

    I wrote this article for you:

    How to Stop Compulsive Eating

    I hope it helps, and welcome your comments.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  2. thank you for writing about a healthy body image. i hate my body and have been a compulsive overeater for 20 years. is it too long? am i too late to fix it and get healthy?

  3. Thank you so much for all the great information.

  4. Building a healthy body image is just as important for men as it is for women — though it doesn’t seem masculine or a “guy” thing to do. Boys and men are susceptible to eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia.

    I wrote an article for Psychology on Suite101 (I’m the Psych feature writer) just the other day about the causes of anorexia. Here’s what an eating disorders specialist says:

    “Currently, we don’t have very effective means of treating people with anorexia,” said Walter Kaye, MD, professor of psychiatry and director of the Eating Disorders Program at the University of California, San Diego. “Consequently, many patients with the disorder remain ill for years or eventually die from the disease, which has the highest death rate of any psychiatric disorder.”

    Scary, that anorexia has the highest death rate of any psychiatric disorder.

    If you want to read about the causes and treatments of anorexia, here’s the link to my article:

    http://clinical-psychology.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_does_anorexia_nervosa_start

    Thanks for your comment about men and body image, metyr867!

    Laurie

  5. It is very sad to know how a poor body image can lead to anorexia. Anorexia, in turn, causes the death of many people, including men. I find it quite surprising to know that anorexia can also targets men.

  6. fantastic reality///thx so much