Apr 24, 2015

Fostering a Healthy Self Image

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger Theresa Walker - BeachBody Coach

Finding a woman who is comfortable with her own body is comparable to a chance at winning the lotto.  Odds are, it’s one in a million.  Whether we want to be or not, our looks and bodies are judged not only by society, but worst of all, by ourselves.  Everywhere we go, we see an ad or a magazine cover with a models or actress’s perfect (air brushed) face and size 0 body (thanks to her personal trainer).  This is turn often means we feel the need to live up to a standard of outer beauty that most of us never will reach.  I say outer, because that’s all it is, outer beauty.  The perfectly styled and colored hair, the size 2 skinny jeans, the 5” heels, the perfectly made up face, the matching jewelry to accessorize our outfit and don’t forget about the designer bag on our shoulder!  This is what the world see’s of us; but what is our own self-image, what do we see when we look in the mirror?  No matter where you are at with your body and how you feel about it, how do you create a positive and healthy self-image?  How do you start to look in the mirror and see the positive, not just the “imperfections” or things you’d like to change that drag down your self-esteem each day little by little?  

For me, there is one big thing that makes a difference in how I feel in my own skin, and that’s how I talk to myself, about myself.  

It means that when I look in the mirror whether it's at my face and I start to notice the lines around my eyes or it’s at my body and I see those hips I’d like to lose a couple inches off, I STOP.  I had to stop the internal dialogue which was saying negative things about how much I hate those hips or how I wish I could erase those lines.  

Why it is so easy to look in the mirror and see those flaws and point them out to ourselves?  I’m not sure, but I know I am not the only one who is so harsh on myself.  I started to wonder, would I ever, ever say those things to someone else??  Would I say to a friend, “gosh, look at that belly flab left over from your pregnancies!”  NO, I wouldn't in a million years!  So why would I catch myself looking in the mirror, putting myself down, every day?  And it never stops at the belly, next it’s the hips, or thighs.  Seems like when you are evaluating yourself, we are quick to list off every flaw we can see, like a downward spiral and in turn, we feel worse and worse.  So here is what I started doing instead:

Now, when I look in the mirror and I start to talk negatively to myself and focus on the imperfections, I stop and I start listing off what I like about myself!  I skip over the areas I have room to improve in, and I instead focus on what makes me feel good about myself.  So what if I have some extra belly flab, I have two handsome little boys.  I may have lines around my eyes, but they are from when I am happy and my whole face smiles.  And then I start to find features that I like, like my arms or my upper abs and I say “hey, look at those awesome arms that I’ve worked so hard for”.  Or, “I really like the color of my eyes”.  It doesn't matter what it is, find something you like to compliment yourself on.   

Obviously, there is so much more to us than our looks.  You can tell yourself, “So what if I don’t like how I look right now, I am an awesome mother, I am a great wife.”  Maybe you have a newborn and are just too tired to workout.  Maybe you just started a new job and are short on “me” time.  Instead, tell yourself how proud you are of the mom that you are each day to your kids.  You might not have found the “me” time or had the energy, but you probably spent a lot of your day taking great care of everyone else to make sure they had healthy meals in front of them, got the kids to school on time, got errands accomplished, sat on the floor and played with the kids or read their favorite book.  Beauty is not about what is on the outside, it's what is on the inside, and what we contribute to the world and our families each day.   

As mothers and women, heck, as humans, we can’t have it all, every day.  We aren’t made to be perfect, we are made to be human.  So embrace that!  Embrace yourself, imperfections and all.  Stop the negative dialogue, treat yourself as you’d treat your friend or your sister, BE KIND, be forgiving, be complimentary.  What you say to yourself, really does affect how you feel about yourself each day and in every thing that you do.  Want to be a happier, healthier person with a positive outlook?  Start with what you say to yourself each day when you look in the mirror.  I bet you are more likely to treat yourself better, take care of yourself and overall feel happier each day; when you start by saying positive and kind things and in turn, feeling good about yourself.  We can’t expect it from the world, if we can’t offer it to ourselves.

Theresa Walker 
Theresa is a wife and stay at home mother of 2 energetic boys, DJ (8) and Aiden (5). She has a bachelors in Communications and prior to being a mother she worked at Better Investing magazine in advertising and as a Corporate Account Manager. These days she is fortunate enough to spend time with her boys checking out all of the local fun there is to be had. She and her family love to travel. She is also active in a large online mom's group through Facebook that she started called Planet Mom. She enjoys being active and one of her proudest accomplishments was running the Detroit Half Marathon as well as the Romeo to Richmond Half. In her free time you can find her running or biking through Stony Creek. Or curled up on a couch with a good book and her cat in her lap. She recently became a BeachBody Coach, so that she could share her love for health and fitness with others to help them reach their personal goals. You can find her Facebook page at Inspired Health & Fitness. She considers herself a "Fit Foodie" and loves trying new recipes, experimenting and new restaurants around town. She hopes she can share some of her tips for healthy eating and exercise for busy moms and Metro Detroit Mommy Fans.

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