Why wait to lose weight to start loving your body?
Take a moment to think about your body. How do you feel? Is your mind flooded with comforting affirmations and kind words… or does it hone in on all of the things that you wish you could change?
Unfortunately, negative body image is something that most of us can relate to. Whether it’s triggered by basking in the swimsuit store’s unfortunate lighting or scrolling to find yet another cosmetically-enhanced Instagram influencer – today, it seems that there’s a new reason to feel inadequate at every turn.
What’s more, as social beings, we’re hard-wired to compare ourselves to those around us. This programmed behaviour, combined with the added influence of social media, rising rates of cosmetic surgery and photo editing, has paved the way to a population more body conscious than ever before. In fact, more than 60% of Australians report that they spend a significant amount of time thinking about their weight and body shape.
But does the ‘perfect’ body really exist?
The definition of the ‘ideal’ figure seems to change like the weather. Think back to the 1400s, when the ideal body standard featured full hips and pale skin. This standard then transformed completely in the roaring twenties, a period in which people dreamed of a downplayed waist and flat chest. In the sixties, slim builds and long, thin legs were all the rage, and today, we’re seeing an increased desire for small waists, wide hips and large behinds. When we reflect on how dramatically these standards have changed over the years, it raises the question… is society’s perception of perfection even attainable?
Body image vs body esteem
Body image refers to how closely a person thinks their body aligns with the cultural standard of the ‘perfect’ body. On the other hand, body esteem is defined by the thoughts and feelings that a person has about their appearance, shape or size.
How we feel about our body determines how well we look after it, so when looking to improve our wellbeing, it’s important to reflect on our body esteem. Unfortunately, from an evolutionary perspective, in order to survive, humans are programmed to seek out and dwell on our areas for improvement. In the past, body esteem has been known to become a concern between the ages of 12 and 18. As adolescents pass through puberty, they begin to reach sexual maturity and develop greater cognitive capabilities. With this, comes an endless list of new-found pressures and social standards. To ‘fit in’ and feel accepted by others, personal grooming and being labeled as ‘attractive’ often becomes a major priority. In more recent years, children as young as six have started to display signs of negative body esteem.
Weight loss and negative body esteem
People often believe that weight loss is the key that unlocks the door to greater self confidence. But weight loss is not the instant fix for negative body esteem. In fact, evidence has actually shown that negative body esteem tends to continue after weight loss, with an increased risk of body dysmorphia. Studies have also shown that to meet society’s body standards, people often set unrealistic goals in an endeavour to ‘reshape’ their bodies. They may begin crash dieting, experience disappointment, weight regain, maladaptive eating patterns and even develop eating disorders. This cycle of extreme, crash dieting often results in years of unhappiness, fluctuating results and can even have severe health consequences. Take a read of our recent blog post, ‘A balanced diet: a key to healthy weight loss’ to discover why crash diets do not work, and learn how to achieve safe, sustainable weight loss!
Healthy weight loss begins with self-love
Focusing on loving your body and improving your body esteem before losing weight has been proven to contribute to safe weight loss and maintenance.
Learning how to love your body while losing weight is an absolute game-changer. Your body is a truly incredible mechanism that works around the clock to keep you living, breathing and smiling. It deserves love at all stages of your weight loss journey. If you’re looking to lose weight, do it with care instead of with shame!
When your focus shifts to appreciating the great things about your body, your behaviour changes and the results soon follow. When there’s so much to gain from being kinder to your body, the question is… why wait to lose weight to start loving your body?
At Body Balancing Nutrition, we’re dedicated to helping our clients reach optimal wellness and confidence through a scientific approach to nutrition. We’re here to help you reach your health goals in a nurturing, healthy and sustainable way. We’ll develop a wellness solution built around your life and individual requirements, simply contact us via our web form or phone us directly on (08) 9388 1166.