Body Image

body image
1. an intellectual or idealized image of what one's body is or should be like that is sometimes misconceived...

I love my work.  I teach fitness and wellness to help people improve their lives.  There is one down side to my field: body image issues. Everyone has given some degree of thought about his body image.  Sadly, some folks have more severely misconceived ideas than others.

I have had countless conversations about nutrition, weight loss, strength building, endurance training, and supplements.  I have talked with people who are physically fit, unfit, and everywhere in between.  I have talked with people who are incredibly sad and those who use exercise to remain incredibly happy.  Helping people work through an issue, develop a plan, and create a more positive body image is the best part of my job.  I believe much of it can be done within our own mind.

There are two types of body images: negative and positive.  People who struggle with a negative body image are not comfortable in their body for a variety of reasons.  They feel their body is unattractive or inadequate; but, this is a perception.  People with a positive body image have a more realistic appreciation for their unique figure.

Negative body image is deeply ingrained in us: from the images we have seen all of our lives, to the conversations we have participated in, the social perceptions we have been raised with, and the expectations we've crafted - body image runs deep.  

How can you conquer your negative body image?  I think the first place to start is trying, hard as it may be at times, to focus on what you do well.  I give a mean hug, for instance.  I also knock out a mile in 10 minutes.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I am not a runner for speed - I am runner for sanity.  It clears my head.  I am not great at it. Regardless, I do it because I think better when I'm moving.  When I start running, I am so angry because everything hurts.  I want to quit.  My legs. Ouch.  I conjure up my POSITIVE MENTAL SPACE - and I tell myself, "This is why God gave you the muscles on your legs.  Keep using them."  

Thing is, nearly all of my life, the muscles of my legs have been a source of my negative body image.  Most girls do not have manly legs.  People have asked me all of my life about what I do to have "those legs".  Very little, in fact, genetics.  I envied the legs of other girls, long and lanky.  I envied the way their jeans fit, the way their inner thighs didn't rub together driving their shorts upward.  Shorts were always the worst part of summer.  Loose, baggy pants were my friend.  Skirts and I were chummy.

Just a few years ago I actually accepted these legs as they are when I met HIIT.  HIIT workouts, or High Intensity Interval Training, are very quick, very hard workouts.  My legs got me through them every time.  Even when I thought I would puke.  Truthfully, though, that is when it happened - my mind changed because I focused on what I could do.  Not what I looked like.  

These negative perceptions of ourselves are just that, perceptions. These perceptions have been created by so many things that you have had no control of at all - all of your life.  These ideas were planted by media, friends, neighbors, or family.  Making the shift to a positive body image is POSSIBLE.  There is some work involved.  Introspection.  

This shift is within the scope of your ability - what can I do to help you?

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