How to stop criticizing your appearance

According to recent Australian studies, women are most dissatisfied with their bodies from age 24 to 29 and from 34 to 39, and men - from 44 to 49 years. Satisfaction with their appearance comes to them only by the age of 60 and 59-64 years respectively. The authors of this work, from the universities of Griffith, Queensland and Auckland, link such findings with the fact that in retirement, health turns out to be more important than appearance.

In an article published in the journal Body Image, experts say that women throughout life criticize their bodies more often and more severely than men, in particular, because of the beauty standards imposed on them. Pregnancy and the postpartum period are especially difficult for them.

People often feel that being overweight or underweight will have a negative impact on their health, but constant worries about the calories eaten and hysterics after another weighing cannot lead to a happy life. In one of her articles, author and Ph.D. Shelley Johnson gives seven tips to help people worry less about the pounds and be happier.

"I've spent a lot of time thinking about why women hate their bodies so much and how we can stop participating in this widespread game of body hatred, a game no one wins (except maybe the diet industry). Along the way, I learned some really useful things about body shame and body disgust that helped me a lot. These are ideas I resort to whenever I have a bodily hatred attack. My ability to love my body unconditionally has been dramatically enhanced by these ideas, so I want to share them here in case they help someone else," she says.

№1. Stop and breathe.

Body hate attacks often come with failures at work that make a person feel mediocre. To relieve the tension, you need to sit down in a quiet place and do some breathing exercises, trying not to think about anything but your breathing. Johnson, for example, breathes in deeply through his nose for four counts, then holds his breath and exhales just as slowly. You can use any other practice.  

In the process, you can repeat the phrase, "I am only responsible for this moment. I have everything I need, and I stay close to myself." 

№2. Ask yourself: "Is this about my body or something else?" 

Often underneath the hatred of the body is some other issue that we try to ignore. That's why it's important to ask yourself: "Is it about my body or about something else?"

According to Johnson, aversion to one's appearance is often a consequence of a woman's refusal to want to live the life she wants, ask for more and try new things. Historically, women have been raised to be quiet and docile, and this pressures them even now.

"When we begin to live a life of swagger, we often feel unattractive, rude and unfeminine, and we equate those feelings with our bodies," says the author.

In moments like these, repeat, "Living a big beautiful life is everyone's birthright. I shouldn't be ashamed."

№3. Ignore people who try to shame you because of your body.

Often people around you try to control you through bodily shame. Thus, women, and especially young women, time and again are reminded of the need to look slim and neat to be attractive, and from men are required to have a refined and strong body. Otherwise they are assured that they are inferior and do not deserve love.

Often the reason for this aggression on the part of others is fear. They are afraid of those who oppose them, destroy the established foundations and confidently pursue their goals.

If possible, avoid such people and repeat, "People who shame me are trying to control me, and I refuse to submit to this shame. I am proud of myself and always support myself."

№4. Remember that weight changes are normal.

Many things affect our weight: the time of year affecting the immune system, stress, puberty, pregnancy, menopause, nutritional imbalances. The human body is changing all the time, and that's normal. Weight, like haircuts, is a temporary phenomenon, and therefore has little meaning.

Don't forget to remind yourself: "I respect the natural life processes of my body and I listen to my body. We can always find a good solution together." 

№5. Understand that you can be healthy at any weight 

Not talking about obesity, a little extra weight can sometimes even be good for the body, especially if one is exercising. Having it does not mean you have stopped taking care of yourself. 

"There's nothing magical about losing weight. Obese or underweight people have a higher mortality rate, but overweight people are just as healthy as normal weight people, and sometimes healthier," Johnson quotes surgery professor Dr. Love as saying.

You know what's always bad for health? Constant worrying about how you look. So tell yourself more often, "Health is possible at any size, and it comes from loving and taking care of yourself."

№6. Realize that you can be beautiful at any weight.

Often people are afraid of gaining excess weight because they live with the belief that beauty lies in a slim figure. However, this is not true, because true beauty comes from loving yourself and the world around you.

"There are many people who are beautiful in the traditional sense who make themselves ugly because of their cruelty toward others. Their lives are filled with a series of broken relationships, regrets and self-loathing. On the other hand, there are so many other people who are not always beautiful in the traditional sense, but who are nonetheless extraordinarily beautiful because their lives are overflowing with love for themselves and others," Johnson notes.

A perfect body does not guarantee its owner happiness. Repeat, "Beauty and happiness come from loving yourself and others."

№7. Don't apologize for the place you occupy in the world.

Be yourself and never apologize for the way your body looks or the place you occupy in the world. Listen to your body more often than the people around you. Remember and tell yourself, "My goal is not to be thin, fat, pudgy or uncircumcised. My goal is to be me in all my unique beauty and complexity."


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