With two of the most influential annual body image campaigns about a week behind us, the seeds for change have been planted once again. As proposed in our previous post, Fat Talk Free Week is Over – Now What?, it becomes important for each of us to think about how we can maintain the national momentum of positive body image on a long-term basis in our own lives. Yesterday, we shared a few startling statistics that show just how pervasive negative body image is in our country; whether you’re three years-old or thirty-years old, it is something that can have profound effects on self-esteem and overall quality of life. So in an effort to help fuel the positive energy triggered by Fat Talk Free Week and Love Your Body Day, we wanted to share several easy ideas for body image building all year long.
- Plan ahead. It’s always okay to schedule a positive body image session for a later date. Page through your daily planner (or scroll into the future on your iPhone calendar) and jump ahead a few weeks or months. Insert positive body image statements on random days or write down empowering statements on birthdays and special events that will help you remember and commit to appreciating your body and being “fat talk free”.
- Don’t forget to share. Have you seen this Tri Delta Fat Talk Free Video from the 2008 campaign? This is powerful stuff! Post it on your Facebook page or share it with co-workers any day of the year. Spread the word so that you can begin building a support system of body positive people around you who also choose not to engage in “fat talk”.
- Speaking of Facebook…check out the Center for Eating Disorders FB page and become a fan to receive positive body image status updates, motivational quotes, and links to helpful resources and events.
- Reconsider monthly magazine subscriptions. Research has shown that even just 3 minutes of looking at fashion/women’s magazines can have a significantly negative impact on our self-esteem and body image. Similar effects can be attributed to men’s health/fitness magazines which have been shown to encourage body dissatisfaction and unhealthy weight control behaviors among males. Consider switching subscriptions or signing up for a positive affirmation email so you get a reliable dose of confidence in your inbox instead of a monthly blow to your self esteem.
- Celebrate the seasons. As the season changes and autumn is here, feel the brisk air as you breathe, notice the colors of the leaves you can see, taking in all that nature can offer and remember that it is your body that allows you to have these experiences. Start to focus on your body’s functionality more often. In each season there are opportunities to reflect on what the body can do and its ability to maintain balance even as things change around us.
- Break it down. For individuals with eating disorders or severe body image distortion even just one day of “loving” your body may seem like an insurmountable or overwhelming task. Setting goals is good but when we set goals too high too quickly we set ourselves up for failure. If loving your body doesn’t sound do-able at this time in your life, remember that body image is not an “all or nothing” concept. Any changes, even small ones, that can be made to help you realize how special, unique and beautiful your body truly is can be seen as an important step forward in recovery that often leads to further acceptance of self and health. Start with something small like giving yourself permission to accept a compliment instead of immediately trying to disprove it. Or, you can work with a therapist to come up with a specific body image goal that’s right for you.
- Body Image in a Bathroom
- Adding Up, Weighing In and Counting Down: 5 Ways to Cope with the Numbers Game of Pregnancy
- Confidence is Making a Comeback
- Appreciate Your Ankles
- Pre-Baby Body Love: Nurturing Your Body Image Foundation
Written by Kate Clemmer, CED Outreach Coordinator and Amy Scott, CED Admissions Coordinator
Above photos courtesy of blogs.targetx.com and www.youtube.com