Thoughts on this post? Share them with me on Facebook, join the SPANily or Tweet me at @angieatkinson. ~Angie

“The past doesn’t define you, your present does. It’s okay to create a vision of the future because it affects your behavior in the “now,” but don’t dwell on past mistakes. Learn from them and focus those lessons in the moment. That’s where change can really happen.” ~Jillian Michaels 

jillian-michaels-before-and-afterAs news of celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels’ life-changing nose job at the age of 16 spreads like wildfire, you’ve got to wonder: does this mean that the former Biggest Loser trainer has lost credibility when it comes to her way of encouraging a positive body image?

I say absolutely not! And here’s why: she was the victim of bullying as a kid – and the nose job helped her feel more confident, according to an interview she gave People Magazine. 

While I do understand that going as drastic as plastic surgery can seem extreme to boost confidence, I’m not here to judge. And even though I personally disagree that the girl even needed a nose job, I understand how it feels to have a physical trait make you feel so insecure. (I think she was beautiful before!)

Michaels told People that she doesn’t mean to imply that your physicality should define you, but that there are certain things that make people feel insecure. 

 “So, if there is something you want to fix that allows you to feel a little bit more confident, I support it. …I think it’s about [doing it for] the right reasons,” Michaels said. 

Jillian Michaels’ Body Image Hacks

1. Don’t beat yourself up. Michaels says you should break the habit of being self-destructive and work toward self acceptance by being gentle and loving to yourself.

2. Be okay with your body type. If you’re curvy or voluptuous, it doesn’t mean you’re fat, Michaels says. A healthy body comes in all shapes and sizes, so just love yourself for what you are.  

3. Try “antidote” statements. Reverse the self-loathing tapes you play in your head by writing down the negative things you say to yourself and write positive affirmations next to them. 

Celebrity fitness trainsers like Jillian Michaels see a variety of body image issues in their classes and gyms every day. They have important lessons about how people perceive their own bodies and the bodies of others.

Your Body Image Makeover

before and after angie1The way you view your body is important for overall health and fitness. I get it, and maybe more than you’d expect! But try this.

Use these strategies to develop a positive body image and gain the advantage of stronger mental and physical health:

Step One: Understand why body image matters.

How do you feel after you look in the mirror? Do you love your body, or are you constantly searching for new flaws?

It’s easy to become preoccupied with external appearances. Do you see every flaw and feel imperfect? Do you worry about how others perceive you? Your mind forms your opinions of body images.

Body image issues are tied to self-esteem and confidence. They’re also part of overall emotional health, so unhealthy opinions can have a strong negative impact on your life.

Step Two: Challenge stereotypes.

Like the lady said, we’re all different. Fitness experts see a huge variety of body shapes and sizes. The human body is not restricted to a specific mold. Everyone isn’t the same height or weight. Accepting this variety will help you to challenge stereotypes related to body image.

It’s important to understand that one body type isn’t the correct way to exist. There is no ideal weight, height, or shape on the planet. The universe has created a variety of shapes and sizes for a reason. Diversity makes things more fun and avoids boredom.

Remember: exercise doesn’t produce the same results in each person. One person may lose weight faster, and another may gain muscle slower.

The stereotype of a stick-thin model or muscular man has to change. Fitness experts recommend avoiding these stereotypes and focusing on your own body. What do you think is your ideal shape?

Need help finding out what your ideal shape should be? Visit MyBodyGallery.com – I’ve found it to be a great resource for finding perspective as well as inspiration on my weight loss journey. 

Step Three: Find positive “body” role models.

A good role model can help guide you to better health. I like to call them fitness inspirations. Your fitness instructor could make a good role model, but there are also other options. Do you watch in awe as 90-year old women exercise in the park? Do you admire your disabled neighbor for still finding a way to stay in shape?

For example, you could find a celebrity (or even a friend) who is a similar height and body shape and use their fitness as inspiration. Personally, as a short, small-boned woman, people like Reece Witherspoon and Kirsten Dunst have the type of bodies I’m shooting for. How about you? 

But remember: Positive role models don’t have to come out of magazines, television shows, or gyms. They can be normal people who stay in shape and love their bodies. They don’t have to be triathletes to inspire you.

A positive “body” role model can help you to see how a good body image can help make life better. But be sure to find someone you feel positive about – negative energy isn’t good for weight loss (or really anything, for that matter). 

Step Four: Eat for life. 

You’ve got to learn to love yourself RIGHT NOW, in this moment. A negative body image can lead to eating disorders and other concerns. Fitness experts report seeing these issues often in their classes, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, in my personal experience, it never works that way – when you stop eating or mess with your digestive system via anorexia or bulemia or even obsessive binging, you’re actually risking more than just being overweight – you’re risking your life. Stop that! 

Personally, I’ve lost more than 100 pounds and kept it off for more than three years now. And I don’t do starving! Or sweating…often, and definitely not unnecessary surgery. So how’d I do it? Well, I’m glad you asked! I wrote a whole book detailing the journey – check it out here. 

Obsessive calorie counting and worrying can be a serious issue. In addition, they see punishments for messing up a diet or eating something sweet. All of these issues are linked to a poor body image.

You’ve got to eat healthy, about 90 percent of the time. Experts recommend consulting dieticians and nutritionists to work on eating disorders. Personally, I started out by focusing on making small internal changes – baby-stepping my way to being healthier. It has worked like a charm.

Depending on your personal threshhold for creating significant changes in your life,  you have to find a happy medium when it comes to eating. Like I said, try to eat healthy about 90 percent of the time. So you can allow yourself to have cheat days or cheat foods, so your body isn’t constantly craving certain foods. Eating these items in moderation can help you stick to a healthy diet.

Weight Loss Hack: Forbid the Idea of Forbidden!

For me, I refuse to call anything “forbidden” foods and I tell myself that I can eat anything I want. The feeling of freedom that comes from taking away the taboo of the “bad” foods is significant – and it also means I never have to feel the need to overdo it. That’s because knowing that I can eat or drink whatever I want whenever I want puts me in control – I can choose to eat the food or not. So if it’s “worth it” to me, I’ll have it. But often, having a nice butt and a flat stomach feels more important when I look at it that way. 

Step Five: Don’t be a hater!

 So many people have trouble with this one. It’s easy to feel jealous or angry when we see people who have something we want (or who we feel are doing something we wouldn’t do). But if you ever want to get this excess weight off, you’ve got to change your mind.

If you can avoid judging others, the benefits are HUGE, I promise! See, when you pass judgment on another person, a couple of things are happening – but mostly, the law of attraction comes into play and it all comes right back to you. So how can you fix that?

Instead of criticizing others, focus on positive aspects of their body and personality. This will help you see positive points in your own body image. So, if you’re feeling particularly disgusted by an overweight neighbor who walks her kids to school every day wearing short shorts, maybe you could focus on the fact that she’s out there moving and that she’s confident in her body. (I don’t know about you, but THAT is the kind of energy I want to be feeling – not the negative self-hate that comes with being a hater). 

Bottom line

I think it’s pretty obvious that a positive body image is essential to your physical and mental health. But I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts on this one. So what do you think? Am I off-base here? Does body image really affect weight? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or hit me up on Facebook

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