On Female Self-Image

As I continue on the theme of Fitness for January, I have had several conversations this week about weight loss. Of course, this time of year, everyone is talking about it.

What bothers me is how many are going on these diets and exercise programs starting off with the thought of how much weight they want to lose, and how fast they want to do it.

My advice (and what has worked for me) is to not focus on weight loss/gain. Focus on the reasons WHY you want to lose weight.

  • Do you get tired easily?
  • Do you want to feel better and have more energy?
  • Do you have several different sizes of clothes?
  • Do you want to keep up with your active kids?
  • Do you want to be a role model for your kids because they are becoming “couch potatoes”?
  • Do you want to be around for your kids when they are older?
  • Most of all, do you want to feel better about yourself?

It all starts because of a terrible self-image.

This is something I have struggled with over the years and I’m finally getting a grip, though I still have bad days.

I have learned to stop beating up on myself for the way I look. We have to love ourselves for the way we are. Everyone gets older, everyone’s body changes for various reasons.

Focus on the positive: like having more energy and feeling better. While you may lose weight while on these “programs”, there are going to be some days where you don’t lose any weight. If you focus on the feeling better aspect, it won’t matter how many pounds you lose/don’t lose, because you will know that you feel better and that’s the important thing.

You didn’t gain this weight in 12 weeks, so don’t expect to lose it that fast! Focus on making changes to your fitness as a lifestyle and you will find that the 12 weeks will start you on the habit of an active lifestyle so that you will be around for your kids and set an example for them. The weight loss is secondary to that, in my opinion.

One of my biggest motivations for better fitness is my daughter. She is only 10 and I have heard her or her friends saying things about how they look! Already! Of course, we all blame TV and magazines, but it is up to us as mothers to set the example! Help them be strong enough and wise enough to resist the terrible self-image the media sets us up for.

Don’t let them see you comparing yourself to super models or “skinny” friends. Don’t let them hear you complain about your body or being critical of yourself in the mirror. Don’t let them hear you being negative about other women’s looks, like saying, “Look at that horrible outfit, what is she thinking”.

Instead, let them see you getting out there and having fun being active with them or with your friends. Let them see you carry yourself with pride no matter what your body shape, because you are beautiful! Let them see you making good food choices. Let them hear you lift up a friend’s spirits by complimenting her instead of putting other women down.

Having a positive self-image is the best way to ensure that our daughter’s do too!

Talk to your daughter (and take heed yourself!) to these:

We Are Girls – a video from Concerned Children’s Advertisers

Onslaught: from the Dove Self Esteem campaign

or listen to music that encourages them, not hurt them. Songs like this one from Kellie Pickler: Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful:

You are all beautiful! Just the way you are! 🙂

Update: January 11th – Rhonda posted this song:

Listen to the words!

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4 thoughts on “On Female Self-Image

  1. Hello,
    I am a licensed mental health counselor and have had the honor of walking with many people through their food/weight/body image issues. Research says that dieting is not a long-term solution because almost everyone who loses weight gains it all back – plus more! This is because food and weight issues are much more about our hearts and our stories than calories and fat grams. Until we address these issues of the heart, we cannot fight the body image bandit and win. I am writing a book and blog about the causes and how to address them instead of treating the symptoms only. If we don’t work on the causes of our weight/body issues, it is like cutting off a weed at the top. It looks good for a while, but it always comes back. My latest post is called, “Real Reasons for Food Addiction.” I would love to hear your thoughts.

    I also recently posted an article entitled, “7 Ways to Protect Your Daughter (and Son) from Eating Disorders, which you may be interested in.

    Thanks, Cherrie
    http://www.cherriemac.wordpress.com
    Fannies: Reflections on Cookie Dough, Life, and Your Derriere

    1. Thanks for the video Rhonda! I forgot about this song! Another great example! Awesome!
      Listen to the words of the song, my friends! “There could never be a more beautiful you…Cause, you were made to fill a purpose that only you can do.”

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