At the end of last year, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Cherry Woodburn of the Confidence Chronicles. The snippet below comes from a summarized transcription of the last segment of our conversation where I offer four tips that promote body acceptance. The rest of the interview can be found in two parts: "How Changing Your Careers Even When Scared Makes You Stronger" (in audio and text formats) and "Are You Ready to Love Your Body? A Body Image Activist Tells Her Story" (text only).
Body Image Activist Gives 4 Tips To Help You Accept Yourself By Cherry Woodburn
After the holidays, I heard a familiar refrain from people ” I ate too much”, “I was such a pig over the holidays.” “Why did I eat a second dessert?!” You may be a member of this chorus. Too often, an accompanying note includes “I’m fat.” “I hate the way I look.” “I have to go on a diet.” Beating yourself up about what you ate and how you look is painful and unproductive. It undermines your self-confidence. Sharon Haywood, body image activist, who told her personal story last year to the Confidence Chronicles, has four tips you can put into practice immediately to stop negative self-talk about your body, as well as a tip related to how you eat. (Not to worry, it’s NOT another diet!)
Sharon, what tips do you have for people to deal with their negative thinking or self-esteem issues related to body image?
1. I think one of the most powerful things, which has worked for me over the years, is tuning into self-talk whether it be fat talk, or aging/ “old” talk and flipping it on its head. I still go back to it when I have a bad day. One of the techniques I use is based on the concept of cognitive dissonance, which is really powerful. Essentially if we have two thoughts at the same time that are conflicting, we are uncomfortable with that and seek to marry the two because we can’t live in a constant state of conflict.
So, applying that to body image, if you dislike your appearance in some way and find yourself thinking or saying how ugly how you are or you hate your nose, or your freckles or whatever it is, stop yourself in the moment and tell yourself something positive, such as I love my nose, or my freckles or my hips are gorgeous.
Even if you don’t believe it, say it anyway because eventually you will. It’s an incredible technique and I’ve seen the transformation in myself after using it repeatedly. I may not love my stomach but I sure as heck don’t hate it….