Encouraging Body Confidence in a Weight-Obsessed World
Turn on your television and I guarantee you’ll see at least one commercial related to weight. Whether it is a new diet, pill, drink, quick fix, or workout program, weight is constantly on our minds. Society has molded an image of what our bodies should look like, and given us unrealistic expectations of how much we should weigh.
There are many factors that influence body size and weight including developmental determinants, genetics, gender, age, behavior and lifestyle. Genetics, age, and gender cannot be changed, but behavior and lifestyle patterns can be.
In order to encourage body confidence, we must learn to accept our genetic blueprints. Just like you wouldn’t expect to squeeze your size 9 foot into a size 6 shoe, it’s equally as unrealistic to have the same expectation about your body size.
You don’t need to fall victim to the obsession society has with weight. What your body looks like and how much you weigh don’t reflect the person you are. Instead of focusing on the number on the scale or the size of your pants, focus on healthy living and behaviors.
Stop body bashing. Every time you focus on your imperfect body parts, you create more self-consciousness and worry. Focus instead on the parts of yourself that you like. Learn to foster positivity instead of negativity.
Quit weighing yourself. Research shows that those who weigh themselves regularly become obsessed and worried about numbers more than what their body actually looks like or how well it functions. Ditch the scale and focus on other aspects of your body; like how well it functions and how much energy you have throughout the day.
Respect body diversity. We come in all shapes and sizes. Some people are naturally larger and some are naturally thinner. Body size, shape and weight are not a one-size-fits-all. Respect body diversity, and check your bias about how you or someone else “should” look at the door.
Stop food bashing. Just like our bodies are diverse in size and shape, our nutrition needs are just as diverse. Commenting on how much or how little someone is eating causes self-consciousness and can result in negative behaviors like overeating. Don’t worry about how much food is on his or her plate. They know how much nutrition they need, and don’t need your negativity influencing their eating behaviors.
Honor your hunger. Your body needs food to function well. Stop believing the lie that less is more in the food department. Eat breakfast. Listen to your hunger cues. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Most importantly, remember that food is meant to be enjoyed and to provide your body with energy to live life to the fullest.