How to Have a Healthy Body Image
After my mother lost her weight, she went through a big transformation in regards to wardrobe. Part of the passion to maintain her weight loss is her new wardrobe. Now that she has a positive body image her wardrobe has become her passion and looking good is something she aspires to everyday. When she was overweight, she found that she was not able to find clothes that made her body image feel positive. Clothes shopping was an impossible and frustrating task and everything looked frumpy.
It is really easy to be down on yourself when you look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see. Generally speaking, I find people do one or two things, one, is they begin to avoid the mirror and avoid clothes shopping and going out. Two, they nitpick about their own body image. Words have a lot of power and so do looks. Shame can easily get attached to the way you look at yourself, as well as the way others look at you, what others say about you, and what you say to yourself.
Parents model their way of being to their kids by what they say and what they do and children observe their parents all of the time. Children begin to either consciously and subconsciously mimic. This is true for what we say about the food we eat and the excuses that we make that support the food we eat. So, we can easily project how we feel about ourselves onto our children and they in turn pick that up and take that on.
I think you can see this a lot in regards to comedy and how women in particular have a tendency to self deprecate. The idea may be that body bashing provides a way for women to bond, but research shows that self deprecation actually makes you feel worse.
I think that one of the biggest things that leads to negative body talk is the inability to understand food, it’s impact on you, what to do with food, and how to do good food management.
When I think about my grandmother and how she totally misunderstood food, constantly dieting, trying to avoid what she considered to be unhealthy and trying to keep extremely unhealthy food in adequately measured portions was such a lost cause. This way of ‘not getting it’ leads us all down the path of looking at food as something that needs to be subdued. And at the same time having so much unhealthy food easily attainable was another lost cause which led to everyone in the household and beyond, just constantly over indulging without even knowing that that’s what it was we were doing!
Without realizing it, my grandmother was modelling how not to have positive body image. And that family gem was passed down to me. These attitudes about food and the inability to manage weight became deeply ingrained. When it feels like food is such a powerful force that stands in the way of being able to manage it, it’s so easy to have a self deprecating internal critic constantly putting you down.
So, I think that part of breaking the cycle is to be able to pass on to your kids a good understanding of food! Like any school subject. It just makes sense, if you have a good grasp of what you’re reading in science or english or math class, if the information makes sense to you, then not only are you going to get it, be good at it, but those good feelings are gonna make you want to go to class!
But if you keep struggling and feeling like you are never going to get it, then its just way easier just to give up! And you stop doing homework and stop going to class to avoid the bad feelings.
Studies show that girls as young as 5 who think their moms are unhappy with their body are more likely to be unhappy with their own. Another study shows that getting kids ages 5-12, involved in the kitchen shows they are more likely to understand, like and eat healthy foods.
I am way past that age, but it is never too late to learn!
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.