Most folks analyze, or at least consider, their appearance and lifestyle habits regularly. But what about your body image? Have you ever taken inventory?
As I explained on Rick Gabrielly’s fabulous new podcast The Marriage BOSS poor body image is seldom rooted in vanity. Women are taught in countless ways that certain physical traits pave the way for happiness and success, and if we lack them, we may as well succumb to misery. Luckily, that’s not true. We will suffer, however, if we make them our truths. Make sense? How we feel about our bodies and looks becomes self-fulfilling. A little self-awareness can go a long way in shifting your ways toward the positive.
I compiled the following list of healthy body image signs based on decades of personal and professional experience. To use it as a quiz, jot 1 – 35 on a sheet of paper. Then beside each corresponding item that applies to you, draw a star or smiley face. If you’d like, circle item numbers you plan to work toward.
Super important note:
Please don’t shun yourself if you find yourself shaking your head as you read. Very few women identify with all, or even most, of them. My hope is that you’ll notice areas in which you could improve and areas you’re ROCKING. You can also use the list as inspiration—rewards you can look forward for cultivating positive body image. (It’s so worth the effort!) It’s not an all-inclusive or universal list. Once you’ve perused it, I’d love to any important items you feel I’ve missed!
Words and Lingo
1. You don’t speak negatively about your body shape, size or appearance.
2. You don’t comment on others’ body shape or size, even to say, “Wow, you’ve lost weight!”
3. Terms like “bikini body,” “beach body” and “dream body” aren’t in your vocabulary, unless you’re pointing out what’s sad or harmful about them.
4. You don’t share or laugh at demeaning “humor,” such as racist, blonde or fat jokes.
5. You never semi-brag about eating too little. (i.e., saying, “I haven’t eaten all day!” with a bit of pride).
6. For you, “carb” is not a cuss word—and dieting nearly is.
Food and Nutrition
7. You eat for fuel and nourishment most of the time.
8. When choosing foods, you consider the ingredients and enjoyment, versus calories, fat or carb grams.
9. While you may eat for emotional reasons, such as having cake at a party, you aren’t an emotional eater.
10. You aren’t afraid to eat potatoes, carrots, pineapple, legumes, bananas, low-nutrient treats or other diet-prohibited foods.
11. You don’t cut certain foods from your diet, unless you have an ethical or health reason for doing so.
12. You respect and respond to you body’s hungry and full signals. 13. You seldom, if ever, eat until you’re uncomfortably stuffed.
Health and Numbers
14. You prioritize medical and dental checkups, and don’t simply see either for aesthetic reasons.
15. Unless you’ve recently had a physical, you don’t know your body weight or BMI.
16. You’d rather wear sunblock or protective clothing than aim for a perpetual tan.
17. You don’t take risky, unnecessary dietary supplements or drugs with hopes of changing your body weight, appetite or muscle mass.
Sex and Sexuality
18. You have healthy, shame-free attitudes about your sexuality.
19. You prioritize a gratifying sex life, however you define it (unless you’re asexual).
20. You can make love and strip down comfortably around a partner with the lights on.
21. You prioritize sexual health checkups.
22. You practice safe, consensual sex.
Aging and Aesthetics
23. You don’t run for cover when someone pulls out a camera—but you also don’t feel the need to take, over-analyze or post photos of yourself perpetually.
24. While unflattering photos of you may not thrill you, they don’t horrify you either.
25. Whether you enjoy expressing your personal style through wardrobe and makeup or not, but you don’t fixate on any of it.
26. You prioritize wearing comfortable clothes that fit.
27. You aren’t ashamed of your age.
28. You see inner and outer beauty in aging.
29. Most of your close friends have positive body image.
Exercise and Fitness
30. You exercise namely for health and because it feels good, not to look a certain way.
31. You don’t feel guilty for skipping a workout.
32. You seek out activity you enjoy, and avoid those you hate or push your body too far.
33. You don’t exercise at a high-intensity for more than an hour a day, unless you’re a training athlete.
34. You never exercise as a form of self-punishment.
35. To you, getting enough rest is at least as important as getting enough exercise.
What areas are you strong in? In which could you improve? Any items you’d add to my list? I LOVE hearing from you! I’ll also happily answer any questions you have about items on the list. ♥
To hear more about cultivating positive body image, and other means of empowerment, you can also hear my chat with Rick Gabrielly (aka, The Marriage BOSS) on iTunes.