The Health of Your Body Image

shutterstock_122071444With a myriad of diet pills, weight programs and slimming products on the market, its time we truly understand our OWN body and come to terms with what we consider our ideal weight. We all know that mass market diet plans don’t work in the long run..the reason being because we are are quite unique in our own skin. As an avid reader, I am currently enveloped in a wonderful book by Deepak Chopra called Perfect Weight, which gives a much more realistic perspective about what our ideal  weight, body size, and body image should be based upon the Ayurvedic (science of life) body types (doshas).

In the early sections of this book, Deepak writes about the skewed object referral definitions of weight (especially for women). He notes the insurance company height/weight data tables as one example and other examples set by exceedingly thin fashion models/celebrities or other media spokespersons touting exercise equipment, diet pills and more. The point is, we need to redirect how/what we think about our body and move our perspective from object referral based to SELF referral based. Essentially, we need to REFRAME our thoughts about our own physical image. I am not suggesting that we be content with being overweight/underweight or unhealthy..but I AM suggesting that we redirect our perspective toward OUR own body type and what feels “good” for each of us. When you are at your ideal weight, you have have come that much closer to reaching homeostasis.  My friend, creative visionary and change leader,  Rae Luskin, will help you gain a better understanding of how this works and its implications:

Confidence, Body Image and Shame (by Rae Luskin)

When you look in the mirror what do you say to yourself?” WoW! Gorgeous.. you look great” or “Oh my god.. look at my jumbo thighs !”  When our bodies fill us with disgust, it affects our ability to be the best we can be. It can affect our ability to love, be fully engaged and connected in life.

For example, If you have an overbite you might not speak up in a meeting and share a brilliant idea. If you are very overweight, you may take a menial job that does not require you to mingle with the public. If you are embarrassed by your heavy legs you might avoid playing in the pool with your kids. Your fear and shame can affect how you parent your children.

A recent study indicates that 65-85% of adult women in the United States do not like their body. In A Glamour study of 300 young women of all different shapes and sizes 97% of them talked negatively about their body 13 to 100 times a day.

Brene’ Brown, who is a shame specialist and the author of Daring Greatly talks about the shame of having our bodies betray us. “We often conceptualize “body image” too narrowly— it’s more than being thin. It can be physical illness, mental illness or infertility. When we begin to blame and hate our bodies for failing to live up to our expectations, we start splitting ourselves in parts and move away from our wholeness— our authentic selves.”

To reduce the impact of body shame we need to be honest with ourselves. Keep a journal and record what you say to yourself for a week. How has it impacted your personal and professional life? For every negative comment, look for a different story.

For instance, after lunch you say “My shirt is too tight. You look like your busting out of your top.  My supervisor Tom is going to make a bad joke? Oh I hate myself, what was I thinking eating that piece of cake?” To turn this negative spiral of self loathing around you need to create a better story. “I love this shirt my husband bought for my birthday. The color just makes me feel pretty. I always seem to make a big sale when I am wearing it.”

To develop confidence and reduce the voice of shame you have to be aware and look for a better story. What is your better story?

More about contributor Rae Luskin:

Rae Luskin is a speaker, author and change leader who supports individuals and organizations as they discover their passion, purpose and possibilities. Rae has a diverse work place experience with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, A Masters in Urban Planning and a PhD in life experience! Through her creative and playful lens she has helped hundreds of individuals gain clarity and focus around their vision. In her new book, The Winning Adventure, She brings together a remarkable collection of insights and wisdom from over 100 change agents and heart centered entrepreneurs. You may also contact her at


  1. Jodi Flynn on December 22, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Disliking one’s own body takes a toll mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Love that you mentioned loving one’s body keeps you whole and authentically you. We waste so much time and energy being critical of ourselves that we don’t have much energy to improve ourselves in the way that feels right and fulfilling.

    • pam on December 22, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Yes, exactly! We Do live in a world of Body images…but the goal is NOT to get lost in it. It does us so much good to focus on the inside rather than the shell. Thanks for your comment Jodi!

  2. Maritza Parra on December 22, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Something that has helped me love my body is to move it at least 5 times a week either by going for a walk, a run or to the gym and being mindful of what I fuel it with! Loving yourself is so important to success in every area of life!

    • pam on December 22, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      Agreed Maritza! Fuel it with LOVE <3! And I also believe one's body image goes way back into each child was loved or not...what she/he was told about her/himself by parents/guardians. I think if parents focus on developing that INNer child, each person will have less sadness/disappointment/struggles to deal with their OUTER self. The world, media and imagery has taken a grip on so many people, esp women. Loving yourself is so key. Thank you for this great reminder !

  3. Dean Patino on December 22, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Such an important article, thank you Pam. The messages we choose to play are the outcome of our feelings. Thank you for providing and walking through the examples for a refreshing and positive approach to change that moving forward! This is a powerful, positive life changing approach.

    • pam on December 22, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      Thanks Dean…especially important for women who see so many media images of body types and judge themselves against them …appreciate your comment!

  4. Karen Osburn on December 23, 2014 at 6:49 am

    Great post, and oh my gosh, so true.
    As women, we are often so hard on ourselves, and body is a big one. For me, too!
    At 45, I’m learning to love my body more, and am very aware of how I talk about my body around my sons so that they grow up with a healthy image for their bodies, and how the first gal in their life (me!) views hers 🙂

    • pam on December 23, 2014 at 8:00 am

      Karen, Thank you for you candid comments. And yes, while the “body image” thing tends to affect gals more than the guys, it is equally important for young men to understand (preferably from their first gal: MOM) that the most confident women are accepting of their body”type” and wont fall prey to believing they need to be a certain size to be beautiful. Actually, I think more men “get this” concept than women…and unfortunately, thats kind of sad 🙁 I

  5. John Ramstead on December 24, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Pam, reframing how we talk about ourselves when we look in the mirror is the first step towards reaching our goals. Thank you for such a great post and the reminder on how to step into the life, and person, we want to.

    Merry Christmas Pam!!

    • pam on December 27, 2014 at 11:16 am

      John. I believe our reflection says so much about how we think about ourselves. At one end of the spectrum is an inflated ego…at the other…someone who has deflated self esteem. Its a fine line to walk, but once we arrive at that midpoint, we truly become empowered. Reframing our thoughts is only one very important way to get centered. Thank you for your illuminating comment! Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and healthy holiday season !

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