Re-learn to love your body

Are you satisfied with your body?
Do you wish that you looked differently?
What type of dialogue do you hear in your head when you look at yourself in a mirror?

Why are you constantly receiving and believing messages that your body is not good enough? 

Healthy bodies come in all sizes.
Body weight does not predict athletic success.
A number on the scale does not define you as a person.

There is a strong association between social media usage and body image concerns. On social media, you are viewing a snapshot of life.
But what about all the filtered, edited and perfectly posed and cropped images that you believe equate to happiness and body satisfaction?

To compare is to despair.

If a visual image makes you think less of yourself or causes you to develop negative feelings about your body, it's time to stop following that image. Stop fixating on what is perfect on another person's body, thinking that you will be happier, more liked or more successful if you looked that way.

Seeing that athletes already feel great pressure to look a certain way, I feel it is very important that we (professionals/coaches) take the focus away from an athlete's weight or image when it comes to improving performance and health. Athletes are more likely to make smart, realistic and sustainable changes that foster improvements in performance and health when the end result is not for a better or change in body image. Athletes can feel a tremendous amount of pressure, anxiety and control when body image is a primary focus and we don't need to add more pressure to body that is already stressed from training and life.

Let me remind you that your body is incredible. Accept yourself for who you are right now and where you are right now and love your body for what it is, right now.

I encourage you to filter through the many images that you often like, view, stalk or obsess over and if there are images that make you feel unhappy about your body, stop following that image. It's time to stop following the life of someone else and learn to be happy with your life and your body.

It's time to become more attuned to your own successes, your own journey, your own needs and your own accomplishments.

10 "Will Powers" for Improving Body Image

By: Michael Levine, PhD and Linda Smolak, PhD
I WILL ask myself: “Am I benefiting from focusing on what I believe are flaws in my body weight or shape?”
I WILL think of three reasons why it is ridiculous for me to believe that thinner people are happier or “better.” I will repeat these reasons to myself whenever I feel the urge to compare my body shape to someone else’s.
I WILL spend less and less time in front of mirrors—especially when they are making me feel uncomfortable and self-conscious about my body.   
I WILL exercise for the joy of feeling my body move and grow stronger. I will not exercise simply to lose weight, purge fat from my body, or to “make-up” for calories I have eaten.
I WILL participate in activities that I enjoy, even if they call attention to my weight and shape.I will constantly remind myself that I deserve to do things I enjoy, like dancing, swimming, etc., no matter what my shape or size is!
I WILL refuse to wear clothes that are uncomfortable or that I do not like but wear simply because they divert attention from my weight or shape. I will wear clothes that are comfortable and that make me feel at home in my body.
I WILL list 5 to10 good qualities that I have, such as understanding, intelligence, or creativity. I will repeat these to myself whenever I start to feel bad about my body.
I WILL practice taking people seriously for what they say, feel, and do. Not for how slender, or “well put together” they appear.
I WILL surround myself with people and things that make me feel good about myself and my abilities. When I am around people and things that support me and make me feel good, I will be less likely to base my self-esteem on the way my body looks.
I WILL treat my body with respect and kindness. I will feed it, keep it active, and listen to its needs. I will remember that my body is the vehicle that will carry me to my dreams! 

I, do hereby declare that from this day forward I will choose to live my life by the following tenets.  In so doing, I declare myself free and independent from the pressures and constraints of a weight-obsessed world. 
  • I will accept my body in its natural shape and size.
  • I will celebrate all that my body can do for me each day.
  • I will treat my body with respect, giving it enough rest, fueling it with a variety of foods, exercising it moderately, and listening to what it needs.
  • I will defy our society’s pressures to judge myself and other people on physical characteristics like body weight, shape, or size.  I will respect people based on the qualities of their character and the impact of their accomplishments.
  • I will refuse to deny my body valuable nutrients by dieting or using weight loss products.
  • I will avoid categorizing foods as either “good” or “bad.”  I will not guilt or shame myself for eating certain foods.  Instead, I will nourish my body with a balanced variety of foods, listening and responding to what it needs.
  • I will not use food to mask my emotional needs.
  • I will not avoid participating in activities that I enjoy (e.g., swimming, dancing, enjoying a meal with friends) simply because I am self-conscious about the way my body looks.  I will recognize that I have the right to enjoy any activities regardless of my body shape or size.
  • I will base my self-esteem and identity on that which comes from within!