Healthy Body Imagine!


Staff member
"A US study of nearly 200 men and women found that those with a healthy body image were more than twice as successful at achieving weight-loss as those with an unhealthy body image. 55% compared to 26% reached their goals.

Author Pam Smith agrees with the findings and considers positive thinking and good self-image key factors in successful weight loss.

“Our mind is a magnet and we gravitate towards what we think about most,” Smith tells us. “We move straight towards whatever we set our sights on. If a person consistently concentrates on what she doesn't have, she will get less and less of what she wants. If we focus on what’s wrong, we never find what’s right.

"On the other hand, people who are continually celebrating what life gives them, what they can do and are always looking for and expecting the best, find it.”

Picture this: You’ve joined a weight-loss programme. You immediately begin exercising and eating healthily. Within a month, you’re already halfway to your goal weight. But when you look in the mirror, you still aren’t happy with what you see. Instead of continuing with your plan and your progress, you pull the plug on your diet. Over time, you gain back the weight - and the misery.

Smith says it’s common for people to work their bodies but not their minds and that’s where the problem lies. Too many dieters change their habits but not their body image. They also view healthy eating as a form of punishment.

“The natural response is to look at all the things wrong with our body and our lifestyle rather than all the things we want right," Smith says. "Instead of focusing on how much I have to lose, the positive thought is to focus on how slim I want to be, how healthy and energetic I want to feel and the clothes I see myself wearing.

"Rather than all the foods I 'have to give up,' the positive perspective focuses on all the great foods I’m now eating and how I feel better for it. This focus sets our feet to moving in the right direction. “

“The truth is, a negative perspective and negative self-talk are a habitual thought patterns and it’s a hard habit to shake, particularly when it is focused on your own body image. Reflecting on these tips helps to open your eyes, lift up your self-image and lift up your attitude.”

Smith urges that you immediately add the following "think thin" mental exercises to your weight-loss programme:

1. Pay attention to your self-talk.
We can be our own worst enemy or our own best friend - it’s all revealed in how we talk to ourselves. It's amazing how often we put ourselves down throughout the day. It's time to stop! Each time you catch yourself making critical comments, fight back by immediately complimenting yourself, reminding yourself of something you’ve achieved or think about something you’re good at.

Turning your negative thoughts and self-talk into a positive statement is one of the best ways to improve your perspective. And believing that you are a valued and likable person is what begins the process of change.

2. See the world realistically.
It's common to compare ourselves to people in magazines or movies, but this is almost guaranteed to make you feel inferior. If you must compare yourself to others, look at the real people around you. They come in different shapes and sizes - and none of them are airbrushed or highlighted. They have challenges, just like you.

Stop studying pictures in magazines or celebrity tabloids. Reading articles or books about uplifting subjects can raise your spirits. Reading small doses of material about difficult human experiences can eclipse those aspects of your life you feel are miserable.

3. Recognise your special qualities.
Make a list of all your positive qualities – do not include your physical traits. Are you kind? Artistic? Honest? Good in business? Do you make people laugh? Post your list near the mirror or another place where you'll see it every day.

4. Put your body back together.
Most of us with negative body images have dissected our bodies into good and bad parts. A few examples: "I hate my thighs and bottom... My backside is okay, but my stomach is fat and my arms are flabby." Reconnect with your body by appreciating how it all works to keep you going. Try a daily routine of stretching. The fluid movements are great for getting in touch with your body.

5. Remember the kid inside you!
Give yourself permission not to be perfect. Inside all of us is the kid we used to be... the kid who didn't have to be perfect and worry about everything. Remember that kid and give yourself a break!

6. Pepper your days with small pleasures.
Big changes won't permanently make you positive or happy. Negative, unhappy people who win the lottery are no happier a year after they win. But every little thing you enjoy gives you an immediate, short-lived mood boost.

A few examples: Walk in the park, concentrate on a hobby or take time off to spend an afternoon with your kids. One step towards being kind to your body, and inevitably yourself, is to indulge yourself with healthy pleasures. Get a massage, take a long, hot bath, use lotions that smell good, or treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure. It makes the positive statement: you’re worth it!

7. Enjoy your food.
Eating is pleasurable so enjoy it! Food gives us energy and sustains life. Don't deprive yourself or consider eating an evil act. Don’t make any food a forbidden fruit. Putting our focus on what we shouldn’t do and what we shouldn’t eat only sets us up for failure.

Our eyes will be so fixed on the negative behaviour or food that it becomes an obsession and it’s only a matter of time before we fall into it headfirst! If you allow yourself to enjoy food and eat more often, you'll be less likely to overeat. In turn, your body won't feel bloated and uncomfortable.

8. Think yourself happier.
When a bad mood overcomes us, we tend to allow it to colour our world. A slip-up becomes a life sentence of being no good; a bad-hair day gets translated into an "I've-always-been-so-ugly" week. The good news is that it's possible to lift up a negative perspective by becoming aware of such thought patterns and consciously working to change them.

It works like this: The next time something happens that puts you into a bad mood, make a mental list of what's going right. You didn't get that desperately needed raise? Oh well, you do have lots of friends and your boyfriend and your dog love you. You're very smart. If a friend forgets to call you at an appointed time, it will not help the situation if you are bitter or stay mad. Replace the negative thoughts with happier ones like, “Maybe he/she had a genuine emergency” or “Everyone forgets!”

9. Be active.
Movement and exercise can make you and your body feel terrific! Not only does exercise help boost your mood, it also stimulates your muscles, making you feel more alive and connected to your body. Exercise regularly.

Moderate exercise also distracts you from negative feelings and forces you to concentrate on your breathing, stamina and physical power. By the time you have completed your workout, your negative feelings are likely to be less intense or even replaced by a stronger sense of accomplishment.

10. Thrive!
Live in a meaningful way. Having a greater purpose in what you do gives more lasting satisfaction than the futile pursuit of pleasure. Living well will help you feel better about who you are and how you look. You are a unique, amazing person - don't forget it. A healthy, happy and fit life can be all yours. See it and embrace it!"
Wow, thats interesting stuff and some of it I really recognise and wonder if 'this time' feels like success because I am already thinking along some of these lines. Yesterday when I went swimming I was in a grumpy mood, not feeling very well and just a bit down. I swam up and down and decided that as I was there I might as well get on with it, I shut my negartive chatterbox up with' well how good am I, I don't even feel like swimming but I'm doing it. I am a consistent exerciser', I found myself smiling in the water, I realised I have changed. I do swim everyday, If I was filling out a form about regulare exercise I could tick the box for 'everyday'. I turned my down mood into an up by mentally patting myself on the back, 26 lengths later I went home happy and proud of myself. So I think everything in that article is true and well worth reading. Thanks Mini, Love