Are you one of those who keeps looking in a “full-body” mirror, checking themselves left and right, inspecting for any changes now and then? Never to fail a single day who says “Ang taba taba ko na!” (“I’m so fat!”) or “Mukha akong hanger sa damit ko” (“I look like a hanger in my clothes”)? Are there aspects of your appearance that you’re unhappy with?

Many of us struggle with body image issues at some point. This struggle may be made worse by changes in weight and/or appearance. Maintaining a healthy body image can be a challenge especially now that social media dictates almost everything about what’s the ideal body image that causes people to question their looks and lose confidence in themselves. Aside from this, the exciting and stressful changes that we are to face everyday contributes on how we see ourselves.

What is body image? 

Body image can be defined as how you see and picture yourself in your mind and what you believe about your own appearance. Body image also includes how you feel about your body and how you sense, feel and control your body as you move.

How can we work on a “positive” body image?

Here are some guidelines adapted from BodyLove: Learning to Like Our Looks and Ourselves, Rita Freeman, Ph.D. on how we can develop a healthy and positive body image:

  1. Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry.
  2. Be realistic about the size you are likely to be based on your genetic and environmental history.
  3. Exercise regularly in an enjoyable way, regardless of size.
  4. Expect normal weekly and monthly changes in weight and shape
  5. Work towards self acceptance and self forgiveness- be gentle with yourself.
  6. Ask for support and encouragement from friends and family when life is stressful.
  7. Decide how you wish to spend your energy — pursuing the “perfect body image” or enjoying family, friends, school and, most importantly, life.

To be able to do this, it is suggested that we keep in mind these 3 A’s:

Attention

Refers to listening for and responding to internal cues (i.e., hunger, satiety, fatigue). 

Appreciation

Refers to appreciating the pleasures your body can provide.

Acceptance

Refers to accepting what is — instead of longing for what is not. 

These 3 A’s are very powerful device to develop a positive mindset about ourselves and our image. It might be difficult not to be affected by how people on the social media perceives “perfect body image”, but again, it’s all about how you decide to see and be yourself and what are the ways you will take to improve and enjoy life. 

 

About The Author

Cathy spends part of her days wondering how to combine her 2 loves, writing and photography. The rest of her time she spends taking care of her two babies. Sheena, a Labrador retriever & Amanda, a Siberian husky. She’s been an OLEIA user since May.

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