Body Image vs. Self-Image
The following post is by a good friend of mine, and someone who knows a thing or two about living healthy, fitness trainer Robert Reames. Robert is a nutritionist, personal and group fitness trainer, motivational speaker and author of the book “Make Over Your Metabolism.” He is also the creator of the “Robert Reames Lifestyle Transformation System” DVD and Web series. You may recognize him from his many appearances on the show, including the “Ultimate Weight Loss Solution” series. Robert helps both Robin and me stay healthy and in shape, I know he can do the same for you!
If you’ve ever looked at celebrities and thought to yourself: “Does she really look like that?” “Is he that perfect?” The answer to these and other questions like this is — highly doubtful! I think it started back as early as the 1950s and the glamour days in Hollywood. The the way stars look seems to set the tone and the quest for the flawless body. Sometimes, even when a healthy weight is achieved, there are still parts of our bodies, that in our thoughts, don’t quite meet a level of beauty that the media and the fitness industry somehow convinced us that we need to reach. As technology continues to develop, so has the ability to enhance looks of perfection. Airbrushing, great lighting, make-up, photo shopping, plastic surgery, extreme dieting prior to a movie, TV or photo shoot, and other techniques are all used to create these illusions. This is the “glamour machine” in action.
That said, let’s talk about your body image and how this image has a huge impact on your self-image. I mention the above because this concept tends to drive our thoughts, inner dialogue and self perception. These images create unachievable expectations and sometimes can cause one to ask, “Why even bother?” The tendency is not to acknowledge your own individual progress because it’s not perfection. It’s important to shift the focus towards your individual goals and needs and what you can accomplish. Shift away from what is presented by the Hollywood glamour machine or that skinny person down the street who can eat everything in sight and not gain a pound. Own the fact that you are a unique being. Achieve your personal best and not someone else’s. Your goals are real and valid. You’re not a bad person (self-image) because you’ve gained a few pounds (body image). The fitness industry contributes to this as well. Focus tends to be on the external while ignoring internal benefits and a return to health. Obesity and healthcare costs in America are dramatically rising every year. So this approach is clearly not working.
What is body image? It’s a reaction you have within in response to what you see in the mirror. This encompasses the perceptions and things you tell yourself about how you feel about your body. You’re too fat, too thin, ugly, old and tired or whatever you tell yourself based on what you see. Self-image is how we feel about ourselves as people, as human beings. It’s who you are as a person from the soul — a good, giving and caring person, a good parent, a great friend or sibling. Body image and self-image can sometimes go hand in hand. If you’ve looked in the mirror and punished yourself for what you see, based on the fact that you’ve let your health go and gained weight, you get what I’m talking about here. Because you’ve let yourself go, now you’ve deemed yourself as a total failure in life. Because you may have let yourself go for whatever reason, you’re still the same loving, giving person that you’ve always been. Your friends, family and loved ones around you know and embrace this as well.
Whatever you do, don’t go on a diet. These are temporary plans that yield temporary results. The diet industry is a $55 billion dollar industry with a 95 percent failure rate. They’re mechanisms designed for your long-term failure, dumping money in for maybe a short-term result. Each time you yo-yo diet, your metabolism (your body’s innate ability to utilize energy, burn fat and burn calories) lowers big time. This yo-yo dieting increases your risk for heart disease by 70 Percent. If you’re not going to do it right, you’re better off to stay overweight until you decide that you’re ready to do it. Then make the changes necessary to embrace a lifestyle that will get you to your goal weight and keep you there forever.
It’s about lifestyle. It’s about your perspective. It’s a return to health and keeping standards high for the choices you make on a daily basis. Oh, you’ll look good … absolutely! This is one of the great pay-offs that you’ll enjoy. But go deeper on this for yourself, your health and how you’ll feel. Your energy levels will soar, and there is so much out there in life that awaits you. At your physical, the doctor hands you tremendous results. Get off the couch and take action now.
Your body image now may not be so much that you hate yourself, but it’s more of a feeling of disappointment that you’ve not kept the standards that you really do have for yourself. Truth is if these standards didn’t exist in you, your poor body image, due to being fat and out of shape, wouldn’t bother you at all. You’d be fat, happy and loving life. Tap your resources and do something about it. Raise your standards, change your perspective, and begin making the good choices. Focus on your goals and not the illusion of the media machine. Love your body and who you are. Get in the game and achieve your personal best. Enjoy the journey!