How to Develope a Healthy Body Image

Hello Everyone,

I’m so excited to be back with a new post. I can’t promise you that it’s going to be short because the topic I decided to take apart today is a difficult and far-reaching one.  If you’re here reading this, the title probably caught your attention. Wether you feel like you have a healthy and positive relationship with your body or you came here because you feel like you lost the connection between your physical and emotional self I’m here to help you.

The thing that triggered me to choose this topic was actually a photo shoot I participated at a couple weeks ago. I had the opportunity to work with an amazing photographer, fashion designer, and a super talented hair&makeup artist (all their info is going to be down at the end of this post) because I wanted my blog and new facebook page to look professional. I’m not gonna lie: I love being in front of the camera. I feel like it comes easier to me to pose than to most people but I realised that for all the wrong reasons. I’m going to be completely hones with you guys right now because I want you to know that you’re not alone with this struggle. I constantly need to see myself on photos and be able to give myself  positive feedback. If this process didn’t happen I’d probably end up where I was 5 years ago: depressed, confused about when I fell off the wagon, with no confidence what so ever.

Let me give you a little flashback to my past just so you understand better what I went through. In 2009 I lost a significant amount of weight. I was incredibly happy with myself. I exercised religiously every day and followed a highly restrictive diet, limiting my calorie intake to only 1300 calories max. I didn’t know how risky this restriction was at the time. Then I met my amazing fiancé 6 years ago. I was on the pill for almost 2 years. That period of time was a living hell. I constantly felt sad, I had an appetite of a horse, I craved all the wrong stuff like chocolate, doughnuts, everything that had bread in it so I got hooked on carbs big time. I gained all the weight back. Since I felt sad and depressed a lot, I used food to help me get through the pain. I was angry with myself because I felt like I didn’t honour my own work that I put in to look my best but at the same time I felt like I needed the food too much so I chose ignorance instead of seeing the problem for exactly what it was. This is how I became an emotional eater.

In 2012 I stopped taking birth control pills. I knew that it was the first thing I need to get rid of in order to find my way back to myself. I no longer had mood swings and my appetite decreased but I was left with emotional eating without knowing what it was and why I was still trapped in the bad habits of that previous 2 years.

Then last year I discovered a podcast on iTunes called The Life Coach School. It’s a life coaching and weight coaching podcast which helped me understand what my brain and my body is actually going through and it showed me a way to get out of this “river of misery” using a model that helps to solve problems you can’t seem to turn around. The model can be summarised like this:  your thoughts create your feelings, that create your actions which create your results. Stop for a minute and think about this if you need some time to process. Read it again and again because understanding this-although it may sound explicit-helped me immensely in breaking my habits. Let me explain this to you a little better. Every thought you have, you create them in your brain because you want to feel a certain way. These thoughts are not even conscious sometimes and these little, hidden, embedded beasts are the ones that stop you from taking action. This model helps you discover them. If you think a negative thought like “I’m gonna look fat on that picture” your posture is probably going to be shabby, wavering so you’re gonna take an action that proves that negative thought you just created which leads to a negative result. By this time, you probably realise that you have to change your thoughts in order to change your results. Now an other grand mistake most people-with me in line-tend to make is that they go from “I hate myself and I hate my body” to “I love my body, I’m freaking amazing”.  It won’t help. It’s not gonna give you permanent results. You’re gonna disappoint yourself because your body is not something that can change over night. You have to work on your thoughts just as gradually as you need to introduce healthier life choices step by step. You have to practice those new habits continuously and train your brain into getting used to them. It’s a long, uncomfortable and painful process at times because your mind wants to stick with the things it already knows, and that sends the signs of security. You want the new habits to become the new normal and you want them to come naturally. Let me give you an example. I try to eat fresh salad at least twice a day. I did this so many times (even when my thoughts told me to eat more bread instead) that it became natural and now I can’t even imagine going through a day without eating a salad. Same goes with exercise. If I go one week without a good workout, I feel out of place. But it wasn’t easy at first. At all. It takes an incredible amount of effort to get out of your comfort zone and get yourself moving when you feel unenergised and tired. I find that being fed up with myself and being angry helps getting through these rough patches but don’t turn these feelings into self blame, turn them into motivating energy instead!

I’m not by any means completely satisfied with how I look right now and I certainly still have a long way to go to leave  emotional eating behind completely but I’m proud of myself that I could take the first steps into the right direction and when I got back the pictures from that last photo shoot my first thought wasn’t something like “oh Gosh my arms look fat or oh geez I need to get rid of that belly fat” (another person had to point that out to me) but instead I could genuinely smile at myself and say to myself that I HAVE a body and I’m beautiful.

I hope you find this post helpful you guys. Definitely check out The Life Coach School Podcast and if you have any questions regarding the model it teaches send me your thoughts and I’ll do my best to help. 🙂

I wish you all an amazing rest of the week!

Love and hugs,

fatimapanka

Photo by: borcsaphoto

Fashion designer: SPOSA by Szigeti Vanda

Hair and makeup artist: Gardi Rita

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