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Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Body - the Way I See It

During my last Yoga session I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I was surprised to see myself fit and slim. After all, it was just after Christmas and my eating certainly had not been the best, and my exercise schedule had been paused over the Holidays. I smiled and remembered how good it feels to go easy on myself...

Body image. As a psychologist I learned all about it. For people with an eating disorder it can be very distorted to the point, where a skeleton-thin person looks at herself in the full length mirror and sees an obese person. That is sad and needs serious treatment. But we all have our body image of our own bodies. Have you ever stopped to think what yours is? Does it match with how others see you? I noticed for myself that I typically like myself on photos - no matter how recent - and always assign that fact that I am looking at a younger, fitter ME. Closer to the truth is that I am fairly hard on myself when it comes to the shape of my body. Truly I like my body in the mirror, whenever I had been eating well (meaning little amounts and healthy food) and/or been exercising well. The "well" usually refers to "better than usual". So if I am at an upward trend with my diet, I like what I see in the mirror. Whenever I am on a downward trend however, I am not thrilled with my body. That is a typical "relational" body image, which does not necessarily serve me, certainly does not make me happy.

So how come, I was positively surprised by what I saw in the mirror at Yoga. No, it was not that I was in a class for overweight people and I was the only one with a BMI in it considered average. It was the fact that I had taken off work the whole week and had spent a lot of time relaxing and recharging my batteries. My eating has not been all that bad, but I did enjoy "Holiday" treats. Instead of exercising a lot I played it by ear, was sleeping in, relaxing and exercising whenever it felt good. Being rested has a lot to do with how we feel about ourselves.

Also, I had spent some time thinking about what I am grateful for, and one of the things on top of my list is a good functioning, pain free body. It is needless to say that my own body image impacts how I feel about myself. It interferes with self esteem, the way I approach daily life, relationships and the bigger picture and ultimately my actions.

Well, instead of weight loss and increased exercise as New Year´s resolutions I will focus on being grateful for my body and will make it a point to be easier on myself with fewer judgements about about my body and will enjoy more what is today.

Happy New Year!! Follow your dreams, they are what make you special and unique and point you towards your talents and gifts!!

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