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Rethink your body image

Published in Eating Disorders, For the Health of It Author: Lezli Tuttle, LSW

Summer is fast approaching. In Minnesota, that includes days at the lake, going to the water park, Valleyfair, festivals and fun.

You know what else is on the way? The “get in shape for summer” “get a swimsuit body” ads. Ads playing on our insecurities by telling us we’re not good enough the way we are. They’re trying to make us feel bad about the fact that we’re aging, we may be carrying extra weight and that we don’t fit the photoshopped “ideal” of what people should look like.

Let me fill you in on a few secrets:

  • The people in those ads don’t even look like that. They’re stretched and plumped and polished and airbrushed. That “ideal” that they represent is only representative of roughly 5 percent of the population.
  • People of all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, races and ages can have fun. Just because we don’t see it on TV does not make this less true.
  • Life doesn’t begin when you lose weight. Life is happening now. If your kids ask you to go swimming or on a bike ride — go. They don’t care about how your body looks in a swimsuit — they care that you’re there.

How many years of your life have you spent trying to lose weight? How many years have your thoughts about your body stopped you from living the life that you truly desire? How many years of your life have you spent taking the photos and not being in them?

I put this challenge out there to you. Don’t sit on the sidelines of your life. Get out there and live it!

  • Put your body dissatisfaction baggage in the trash and don’t look back.
  • Appreciate what your body can do.
  • Start paying yourself compliments on a daily basis.
  • Move your body because you love your body and appreciate what it can do — not because you hate your body.
  • Count your blessings — not your blemishes.
  • Treat yourself like you would your best friend.

When you’re at the end of your life, do you want to have your last thoughts be that you wish you would have lost more weight and dieted more or that you wish you had experienced everything you wanted out of life?