Positive Body Image during Weight LossPosted: May 14 in Health And Wellness by Dr. Lazarus
Our body image relates to how we perceive ourselves and our bodies visually. This includes how we talk and think to ourselves (and to others) about our bodies, how we believe others view us and our level of connectedness to our bodies. For many people, body image can become a large preoccupation. Especially if you feel like you are outside of the “norm” when it comes to your body type or weight.
There are many factors that can influence your body image such as:
- Comments from others about your appearance (positive or negative)
- How frequently you compare yourself to others
- Exposure to the media (idealized images versus normal bodies)
- Experiencing discrimination based on your appearance
- Ideals you develop about physical appearances
Any of these factors can influence the way you view your body. Developing and fostering a negative body image can affect your mental and physical health and you are more likely to:
- Develop anxiety or depression
- Have trouble concentrating
- Avoid physical activities
- Avoid social situations
- Suffer from harmful eating or exercise disorders
- Make reckless decisions regarding health
Developing a Positive Body Image during Weight Loss
During medical weight loss, a positive body image is important to help you stay motivated and healthy. If you harbor a negative or low opinion of yourself, it will be more difficult to make your weight loss a success. A large part of your weight loss journey is keeping your mental well-being just as healthy as your body. This means accepting yourself and loving your body, before, after and during your weight loss process.
Tips for developing and maintaining a positive body image include:
- Appreciate your body. Appreciate all the things your body can do. As you continue with your medical weight loss program and begin incorporating exercise into your routine, you’ll begin to note more and more as your health begins to improve.
- Shut down the negative voices. When you begin to think negatively about yourself, try to stop yourself and think about what you’re saying. Shut down the negative thoughts with positive ones. Try writing positive affirmations down and repeat them when you begin to feel the onset of negativity. An example of a positive affirmation would be something like “I am strong and beautiful”.
- Surround yourself with positivity. During your weight loss journey, surround yourself with people who are positive and encouraging. It is easier to feel good about yourself when you are around people who are supportive.
- Look at yourself as a whole person. Don’t focus on a specific flaw or aspect of your body. Point out the good things about yourself as a person, not just physical appearances. Try keeping a list of ten things you like about yourself and keep that list handy for when you are feeling down.
- Dress for success. Wear clothes that fit well and are comfortable, don’t hold on to clothes that are too small that you are hoping to fit into again. Once you begin to reach your weight loss goals then you can reward yourself with new clothes.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is unique, so comparing yourself to others will only perpetuate negativity. Especially if you are comparing yourself to idealized images often shown in the media.
- Don’t avoid reflections. Face your reflection head on. Don’t avoid the person in the mirror; this too will perpetuate negative thinking. This is another time when you could repeat your positive affirmations.
When it comes to your weight loss journey, you want to ensure that you are healthy and happy during all aspects of your weight loss program. One step to doing that is learning to love yourself and your body. By working towards this you can optimize your weight loss and enhance your well-being.