Updated: Sep 9, 2022
I used to feel so envious with women who had fit/weight balanced/well toned bodies. I used to ask myself: I wonder what they eat, what they do to be that shape, that weight, that toned, to have that level of fitness.
Although my physical appearance was ok, I did not think so. I always felt the opposite. The sense of rejection towards my body made me feel totally far away form the reality from how good my health and body were. I always criticized and compared my own with other's bodies. Although I was healthy, the talk with my body was supported by feelings of shame, punishment, disappointment, and very often, disgust.
We establish a relationship with our body initially through the messages that we send to it: approval, disapproval, love, dislike, joy, suffering, shame. In this continuous conversation we refine a code that we perfect through years of experience. The body creates its own responses accordingly: overweight, underweight, craving, binges and so on.
These are body manifestations of something much deeper that has to do with our self image, self worth and self-appreciation. The conversation that is ingrained in our belief system through repetition is reflected in body malfunctions and misalignments. As 95% of our reflects our subconscious beliefs, we act upon this inner conversation with: lack of care, neglect, abuse, self- sabotage and so on.
I realized a while ago -and it has proved by multiple research- that there are many reasons why diets do not work in the long run. The main, in my opinion, is that they do not tackle real causes and issues of overweight. Although we follow eating protocols and very often very restrictive diets, if our body conversation is negative, self-sabotage happens. This is by the law of body loyalty to the subconscious mind.
Lack of body confidence very often does not come initially from body Weight problems, and the opposite is usually true: The cause of Body Weight problems comes from lack of Body Confidence and self-acceptance. Of course, weight problems feed the lack of confidence, transforming the situation in a chronic repetitive circle.
We born body confident. Have you seen a little baby moving gracefully and proudly, and daring to try one thing after another one? As children most of us went through traumas/body pains/illnesses/emotional stress that got ingrained in our psyche and made us create distrust and detachment with our bodies, we created thinking patterns and body strategies in order to guard ourselves and feel safe.
These strategies work as protective and survival mechanisms until they stop working and become burdens blocking our health and happiness. As years pass by and we get into adulthood we tent to perpetuate and reaffirm these patterns through comparing ourselves, following fad and standardized diet/ eating/exercising styles. Diets and standard protocols fail to meet specific physical needs. When the diets do not show the expected results, we blame ourselves and what we call our failure to achieve the desired weight, becomes another reason for us to feel the same that took us to try another diet: shame, disappointment, frustration. This is called the yo-yo dieting syndrome.
From my personal experience of trying one diet after another and working with clients towards achieving and sustaining a healthy body weight through working with recovering body confidence, I can say that we always can rebuild a personal body language towards intimacy and trust with our bodies.
The body is our biggest asset: treasuring it and sending it love, gratitude, appreciation is the cheapest and most empowering way to start gaining the body confidence. Nurturing the body with the right food and the right exercising protocols will pay off in health, body easiness, body confidence and empowerment.
SOME TIPS TO HARNESS BODY CONFIDENCE
What about if we shift the approach of ejection, shame, victimhood towards one of more love and more acceptance? This is the approach I think builds Confidence in our body; with this approach we are able to appreciate how much the body is able to do and to cope with. This is what makes a beautiful body: The way how one relates to it, owns it and engages with it
Here some simple tips:
-Accept how your Body is, you don’t have to change it to be more confident, you need to change what you think and feel about your body. Bring awareness to the comments, thoughts and feelings that you hold around your body and train your brain muscles to transform them into positive ones. The first step towards transformation is acceptance of what it is.
-Remember: you are unique, and so is your body. Stop comparing your body with other bodies. When we have a comparing attitude, anything will trigger unpleasant emotions. When these feelings come, bring into awareness how much your body does for you, bring body gratitude into the game and you will realize the power that there is in your uniqueness.
-Drop the numbers: sizes, weight, calories, BMI. They are stressors for your body and stress rises the cortisol hormone which triggers insulin changes which supports fat storage. The body is much more intelligent that standards numbers and it prefers to communicate through body intuition.
-Don’t take other people’s comments too seriously. When our self-esteem and confidence is fragile, we tend to treat other people’s comments to personally and even depend on them to measure how good we are. Other people’s comments about your weight, shape and so on, say more about them than about yourself, so relax and let them go as if they do not belong to you, because they don’t.
-Stop depending on social Media to measure what is the ideal body shape, weight, role models. Social Media body standards have a very subtle and profound effect on our body self-image and confidence. It is very powerful because it is unconscious, it happens without our conscious consent.
-Bring awareness to your negative thinking/ feeling about your Body and when you catch yourself on that loop, switch into a phrase, though and emotion of gratitude towards your body and all what it does for you 24 hours a day. Gratitude goes a long way when we need to transform a negative emotion.
-Do some physical -any- physical activity consciously. Working out has the power to stress the body in a healthy way, the body likes it and it helps to build confidence and self-empowerment. A physical activity you build up, creates a healthy code to improve the communication with your body and we need this to be more body confident. When we cultivate a physical practice, our self-esteem increases, our intimacy with our body improves and the body releases endorphins which have the opposite effect of cortisol.
-When a single moment of self-appreciation and self-love comes, allow yourself to treasure it and nurture it. The body will keep asking for more of them, listen, l treat the body, but treat it well, with positive thoughts, the right words, the right food, the right exercise.
-Remember the best combination for Body Confidence: Mind set, Right nutrition and exercise.