Friday, 01 August 2014 00:00

Perfectly Imperfect

Article as it appeared in Weigh-Less magazine. By Natasha Liviero

Be more beautiful by being mindful of your body image.

 Body image can be described as the mental picture of how you perceive yourself. This picture develops over time and very often morphs into what society and the media portrays as beautiful or sexy. Unfortunately, this is a far cry from reality. Here are 15 Things you need to know about your body image: 

  1. There is no such thing as perfection. Even the people that you think are perfect see a host of imperfections in themselves!
  2. Psychologist, Claire Newton, says that the most important judgement we will ever have to pass in life is the judgement we make on ourselves. “When we judge ourselves negatively it becomes the focus of our attention and in turn this becomes self-perpetuating – we only see or believe what we expect to see or believe about ourselves,” says Claire.
  3. Comparing yourself to others inevitably ends in you feeling bad about yourself. Stop doing it!
  4. Confidence (not beauty) is one of the most attractive qualities a person can have.
  5. Most men don’t have a specific picture of their ideal women so stop trying to mould yourself into what you think men want (and visa versa for men). Emphasise your good points and make peace with your body – the more attractive you feel, the more attractive you will look!
  6. Don’t believe everything you read. There are no (healthy) quick weight loss fixes that can be maintained indefinitely.
  7. Your body will change during different phases in your life. It’s natural and it’s okay, really!
  8. Fitting room mirrors are not kind to your body. Get in and out as fast as possible!
  9. Tread with caution when you discuss another person’s appearance or weight. Everyone quietly cares about this, no matter how tough his or her character may be. 
  10. Accept who and what you are. “You cannot change your body structure and form because you were created individually. Accept this simple fact and then start working towards an ‘improved’ version of you,” says local celebrity and NABB WFF Women’s Fitness World Champion, Catherine Buys Rademeyer, “Love yourself the way you were created and start to appreciate what you can become.”
  11. Surround yourself with supportive friends who have a realist view of body shape and image. They should be uplifting and positive influences in your life – people who love you for who you are and not what you look like.
  12. Wear clothing that compliments your body shape and makes you feel good about yourself. Ill-fitting attire is uncomfortable and does an injustice to your form. 
  13. Make friends with your body by appreciating the wonder of everything it offers. Mobility, speech, sight and hearing are all things we take for granted. Take a few minutes to consider a life without these gifts to help you develop a new respect for your body. 
  14. Put things into perspective by visiting a homeless shelter, children’s home or hospital. Sometimes it takes a reality to check to make us stop obsessing about ourselves. 
  15. Practice awareness. “Take a step back, close your eyes and just breathe, “ says Petra Laranjo, Speaker, Author, Image Specialist and Actress. “Re-assess what it is that you want from life. Are your thoughts, habits and actions aligned with this and if not, what changes do you need to make? Awareness is the first step. Deciding what you’re going to do about it is important. Doing it is crucial!” Petra encourages people to live a life filled with purpose and to remember that the relationship with yourself determines your relationship with everything else.

What the Psychologist Says…

Claire shares the lowdown on the pesky voice inside our heads.

The problem: Our head talk influences our self-esteem. If our head talk is positive, we have high self-esteem. If our head talk is negative, we have low self-esteem.
The solution: “We need to access the head talk that stops us thinking about ourselves positively and create new head talk that DOES allow us to think about ourselves positively. We can do this by writing a list of affirmations about ourselves and pinning the list somewhere where we can read it every day,” says Claire.