Stop the Negativity! Let’s Celebrate What Our Bodies Can Do
A co-worker of mine once lost about 30 pounds. Most everyone congratulated her and told her she looked great. It was obvious by the big smile in the photo that she was happy with how she looked.
Only, another co-worker undermined her success. In private, she commented, “Well, she needs to lose about 30 more.” It took me off guard. While so many were celebrating our friend’s success, I couldn’t believe this other friend was being so negative.
I thought about it for a while and realized, the comment isn’t necessarily just an outward thought. Like all thoughts, they start inside. And how we view our own bodies can have an effect on what we say.
My other friend who had made the off-handed comment had battled with weight for years; she constantly talked about how she used to be thin, and how right now, dieting and running weren’t getting her the results she wanted. While she didn’t come out and say she had a negative self body image, gathering up all the evidence it sure seemed as if that was the case.
Dangers of Comparing
Sometimes, other people’s successes can remind us of our own insecurities and failures. We see people posting their before and after pictures—how happy and skinny they look! And we wish it was us. Sometimes, it isn’t for lack of trying, and other times we know we haven’t put forth enough effort. Either way, the end result is the same—we feel bad about ourselves. It can have a negative effect on our body image.
Comparing ourselves to others is a recipe for disaster. But how can we not compare, when we are faced with it constantly? We see photos of each other online or catch up in person almost every day, even multiple times a day. Not to mention, so much of what we see of women in advertisements and on movies and TV are very thin “perfect size” women. How in the world can we even compete with that?
Have you ever thought: I don’t have to compare or compete.
I know it’s hard not to compare. I do it all the time. It’s taken a lot of years of trying to squash those feelings and replacing them with something positive.
As a coach, I hear it so many negative thoughts people have about themselves as they confide in me. “I hate my body,” or “I could never look like that.” It makes me so sad. So many people have negative body images about themselves and they compare themselves to others—both of those things seem to go hand in hand.
But, I also know that my job is just starting. As a coach, I am there to help people reach their fitness and nutrition goals. Along the way, no matter their size or aspirations, I want them to love their bodies.
Celebrate What Your Body Can Do
All of us our different, and we are at different points on our journeys. That 300-pound guy you saw at the gym may have just started his journey, but he has started! Isn’t that great? The chiseled woman in that class at the gym may appear to have it all, but perhaps she has had health issues and it has been a struggle. But she has worked super hard and her health has improved!
The more I coach people, the more I am amazed at what our bodies are capable of doing. I just read a story about a guy who had diabetes and was in jeopardy of losing his foot. But through diet and exercise, he was able to completely go off medication and his is very healthy today! This is just one example of the amazing things the human body is capable of, if we change our minds and decide that things are going to change.
We need to let go of comparing and instead celebrate our successes. But before we can do that, we have to celebrate our own bodies. If you have a negative body image, here are some ways to help you stop the negativity and celebrate what your body CAN do.
•Keep a Gratitude Journal
One of the best ways to be happy with who you are is to be grateful. It may seem a strange idea at first, but believe me, it works! Grab a cute notebook and pen, and just sit and write what you are thankful for. Even something really small, like your new tennis shoes, or something big, like having a spouse who supports you. Write something every day.
•Replace a Negative thought with a Positive Thought
Sometimes we have so many negative thoughts, we may not even realize that they are negative! So it’s important to recognize our thoughts as positive or negative. If they are negative, then we can’t just delete them. They won’t really go away unless we replace them with something good. For example, when you think, “I will never be thin,” replace that thought with, “I finished my workout today, and I feel great!”
•Celebrate Your Successes, Big and Small
You got out the door and went for a walk. Celebrate it! You passed up a cupcake at the birthday party. Celebrate it! As you focus on the positive things you are doing, you will be excited to continue succeeding. Just don’t undermine your successes by thinking of the things you didn’t do.
•Read Success Stories
One of my favorite past times is to read others’ success stories. Once I passed the point of comparing myself all the time, I found these stories to be extremely inspirational. There are stories of weight loss, health issues, and lots more. From all of them I realize, if they can do it, I sure can! Their positivity is infectious. I almost feel as if those other success story people are cheering me on.
What will you accomplish today?