Author: Ridge Personal Trainer Annie Barber

We all come to the gym for a variety of reasons. To look good in a bathing suit, to have an hour away from our hectic lives, to relieve the stresses of the day, to improve our blood pressure, and to have fun doing something that is GREAT for you… These are all wonderful reasons, but sometimes we are way to harsh on ourselves to look and act a certain way. Do you ever not go out of the house because you have a bad hair day? Do you refuse to eat delicious food because you want to fit into those skinny jeans? Body image is the conception or picture you have of your own body, and a negative body image can harm all of us regardless of size, gender, race, etc.  Here are a few words of advice from IDEA Health and Fitness Association…

Work Towards a Positive Body Image
If you find yourself feeling bad about your body, believing that only other people are attractive, or being ashamed and self-conscious of your body here are a few helpful tips..

  • Care for and value your body at all times
  • Dress in a way that makes you feel good right now
  • Find a physical activity that is enjoyable; accomplishing something physical will boost your self-esteem
  • Learn to trust your body
  • Look in the mirror without judging yourself
  • Set your goals in terms of achieving physical health and emotional wellbeing
  • Change your Negative Thinking
  • Celebrate YOURSELF
  • Write down 10 things you love about yourself… I’m a great father/mother, my legs are strong, I am organized, etc.. Look at this list everyday and add to it as often as necessary. When you have a negative thought about yourself, pull out this list and EMBRACE YOUR INNER and OUTER BEAUTY!

As a trainer, I’ve seen people who both love and hate their body. New research published in the open access journal International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity shows that improving body image can enhance the effectiveness of weight loss programs based on diet and exercise. Having a positive body image means to celebrate and appreciate your natural body shape, to be proud and accepting of your unique body, to feel comfortable and confident in your body, and to know that who you are on the inside matters the most.

Here is a Nike ad that is one of my favorites..