Body Image Strategies

Hi friends and fellow advocates for health. I’m so thankful for each of you in my tribe, my fellow partners in the search for a life less complicated when it comes to health and nutrition!!
So, since we are partners, I will confess to you that I feel restless as I write this today.  So far, I am staring at a mostly white screen with thoughts running a million miles an hour. I have started and stopped several topics because nothing seems to be speaking to me at this very moment. If it isn’t speaking to me, I’m pretty sure I can’t turn it into something I expect to be helpful to you. And that is my main goal with what I offer to you, to be of service as it relates to your wellness journey.

So today I am going to go super transparent and talk to you frankly about my body image struggle, and how I am attempting to work through that. In some ways I’m certain my struggle is much like your struggle – images are everywhere of “perfect” bodies. Slim, slightly muscular, just curvy enough to be interesting bodies, advertising everything imaginable, starring in every show we watch, featured in every magazine we buy, posing in every other Instagram post we scroll by. In our minds, and even a bit in society’s conversations, we tell ourselves these images don’t matter, it’s what’s inside that counts and our contributions to the world are about what we do and think and say and create – and not about how we look in the process. So WHY is it so hard to actually feel that way? I’m admitting to you today that for me, it takes a tremendous amount of focus and perseverance. It takes purposeful self talk that rises above the judgmental noise. And it takes a tribe of friends and family who love me just as I am. I’m going to break those down a little bit.

1. Focus and perseverance. This is all about goals and keeping my mind truly fixated on them. It’s about the long game rather than the quick fix. It’s about food and lifestyle decisions that heal me, protect me and energize me. Not those that break me down, make me more susceptible to illness or wear me out. When I think about my big picture goals, they are all about being fully present for my family and friends and my work, and finding joy in the things I do. Because those are the things that matter most to me, and I want to do them for as many years as possible, I know that I need to eat for the future, I need to prepare food with purpose, I need to watch my stress levels, breathe deeply, sleep well and exercise. None of those things dictate that I slash calories or go on a super strict diet or lose all the roundness in my belly in the next five days – even though I can slip into that mindset if I’m not careful. Because, well – society. But when I journal my thoughts, and remember my big picture goals, I can quickly bring back into focus the true reason that the size of our waistline matters. That reason is only as it relates to the health of what is going on under the surface. We want to provide our bodies the very best opportunity possible to keep us well so we can enjoy our lives as disease free and clearheaded as we possibly can.

2. Purposeful self-talk. This one is a game changer! The little hamster inside our heads can get on that darn wheel and run round and round if we aren’t careful. When that wheel is spinning, the loop of messaging is often something like this (at least in my head). “Who do you think you are trying to help others eat right when you snuck ice cream at 10:30 last night” “You sure did look better when you were exercising to exhaustion”, “Why am I trying so hard when my hormones are working against me”, “It’s not fair that hubby can eat treats whenever he wants to and still look like a Greek God!”.
I could go on and on – but you get the idea.

When one of those thoughts starts to spin out of control, I take a deep healing breath, down deep into my gut and I forcefully (this is no time to be timid) replace those thoughts with something like the following.
“I know I am wonderfully made”
“I love exactly who I am today”
“I feel beautiful”
“I am full of purpose”
And if I need a little more, I’ll breathe into another round…
“I know this body has seen me through so much”
“I love how strong I am”
“I feel ready for what the future holds”
“I am proud of who I am”

Getting these affirming statements on our hamster wheel can change everything. We will act with more certainty, we will make bolder choices, we will own our place in the world. When we own our place, we have the power to change it!

3. My tribe. The first two items will be made abundantly easier or harder depending on the folks we are spending the majority of our time with. We can be hyper focused and understand in our hearts what our big picture goals are, but if the people around us have no goals, or if their goals are all very short term, surface kind of goals, we are likely to feel silly or outrageous sharing ours with them (so we won’t – which minimizes them and silences them and eventually can eradicate them). Our goals need to be said out loud, they need to be released from the confines of our brain. To really grow big and become fully realized, they need the support and encouragement of the people whose validation matters to us. Without the kind of friends and family who will rally you on, and remind you of your dreams when you need it most, your hamster wheel is going to get stuck on messaging that is self-destructive to your big picture, life changing, amazing goals.

My hope for you today, and always, is that you are able to rise above the noise and remember what a kick ass, beautiful, smart and important person you are! That the world has only ONE you and so no matter where you are in your journey, today matters! Don’t wait until you reach the finish line of your current goal to start enjoying life. Take some deep breaths, remind yourself how many things you have accomplished in life up to this point and if you’ve got some bodacious future goals – take one step today in that direction and then celebrate every single step along the way.

Until next time friends,
XO, Peggy

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