Let's talk about our body image...
‘One in five adults (20%) felt shame, just over one third (34%) felt down or low, and 19% felt disgusted because of their body image in the last year.’
‘One in eight (13%) adults experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of concerns about their body image.’
These shocking statistics I lifted from the Mental Health Foundation website in an article about body image. As I wrote in a recent article (‘comparison is the thief of joy’ – you can find it on my blog), people’s negative self-image and self-talk just breaks my heart and it’s why I feel motivated to speak up about it. Today, I want to talk about the lessons fitness can teach us about our bodies.
I have travelled a long way in my body image – once upon a time the only body part I felt I could say anything nice about was my wrists. I was never an active person growing up; I was a library geek and NOT a sporty child. As I’ve grown into running, and more recently strength training and yoga, I learnt some pretty incredible lessons which have turned my body image on its head. Here are some of them, and I hope they help you in some way:
I have control over what I believe – I trust the way exercise and yoga make me feel, and that that is truer and healthier than the lies the mirror, social media and society tell me.
Failure is ok – it can even be fun. It doesn’t mean you’re wrong. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It doesn’t make you a failure. To get good at anything, you have to keep trying. Perseverance wins every time.
Mastery is better than performance – letting go of what you can and can’t do and instead focusing solely on improvement relieves a lot of anxiety and pressure.
You deserve a break – you do not have to earn rest. Rest and recovery are needed. Sleep is a necessity and not a luxury. Being kind to yourself is not selfish.
My body, health and progress are not defined by a number - instead, they’re defined by my positive choices and how I feel.If you’re not happy with the journey, you’re not going to happy when you reach the destination – changing your mind-set is more important than changing your body.
Our judgement of ourselves is more powerful than you think - we tell ourselves stories that are not true.
KEEP TELLING YOURSELF THESE THINGS. You might not believe them right now, and that’s ok. Society and social media tell us a different message every day and you need an armour, an artillery to combat that. Remind yourself of these truths every day. Get someone else to tell you them.
We are so much stronger working on these things together; as a coach and client team, as friends, family and society. Reach out for help. I think we can transform our body image as a society, because I hate to think that we will carry on in the way those statistics above suggest. I, for one, am going to continue to fight for this. And it says above – perseverance wins every time.