Saturday, 23 May 2009

Everyone is not meant to be a size 2

This summer I have been rather impressed by a television
program on the Lifetime network - "How to look Good Naked"
with Carson Kressley. This program emphasizes the fact that
all women can be beautiful, once they are willing to see
their own true inner beauty, regardless of what the scale
may say. I like this show because it is not another
makeover show or a lecture on losing weight. Instead, the
program deals with the way we see ourselves and suggests
ways to help women become more comfortable in their bodies
and increase self-esteem. This change in self-perception is
not based on external appearance but by attacking and
eliminating long-held (false) beliefs and negative
self-talk.

The show also presents some pretty interesting statistics
throughout each episode which should shock and concern us
all. For example, four out of five women hate their bodies.
That's 80% of women hating themselves! If you hate
something, how likely are you to put time into taking care
of it? Not much! This is crazy making! Another statistic is
that the typical high fashion model represents only 2% of
American women. And, who are we striving to look like? The
saddest part is - if we don't get the results that we are
after (wearing a size 2, sunken abs, weighing 105 pounds)
we blame and hate ourselves even more! This next stat is
really shocking. Teen girls are more afraid of gaining
weight than getting cancer. Let's think about this for a
minute. More afraid of being overweight than having to deal
with a life-threatening disease. This is ridiculous because
there are steps that can be taken to lose weight, but
battling cancer is a completely different issue.

Everyone is not meant to be a size 2! Did you understand?
More important, do you believe it? I am not criticizing
anyone who wants to lose weight or is actively working a
weight loss plan. But losing weight should be a factor in a
plan to improve your overall health, not just to say you
wear the same size as some celebrity. For some reason, we
are more obsessed with meeting a 'standard' of beauty that
is not related to being healthy.

Being healthy should be at the top of everyone's list.
However, the way beauty is measured in this country has
caused many women to develop many health-related problems,
including low self-esteem and various eating disorders. In
addition, most women find it very hard to develop lasting
friendships with other women because of that green-eyed
monster - envy. This obsession is not healthy and does not
motivate the average woman to make positive changes to help
herself. Instead, it just causes greater stress and
decreases the quality of life for all involved. You know
what I mean - how pleasant is it to be around someone who
has a negative attitude about everything, including
herself? There is a wonderful book that I am recommending
to others - "Life doesn't begin 5 pounds from now" by
Jessica Weiner. It is worth checking out just to see if you
are guilty of mistreating yourself because of your weight
or appearance. Anyway, if your goal is to lose weight, the
odds are you will be more successful if you do it with a
positive attitude, out of love and respect for yourself
rather than self-hatred and punishment.

I believe that many women who want to lose weight are
hampered by their self-perceptions. They doubt that they
can lose weight or get healthy and quickly give up. For
others, so much emphasis is placed on an unrealistic weight
goal or clothing size that the failure ruins any future
attempts. I want to encourage us to first focus on the
positives. There is so much more to us than our weight or
dress size that we completely ignore. I challenge you to
treat yourself with love, kindness and respect for who you
are. If you can see how valuable you really are, you'll be
more likely to take care of yourself.


About the Author:

Dr. Jacqui Lewis-Lyons is a Clinical Psychologist and a
Life Coach who works with women and children around issues
related to health and stress problems. She has over 2o
years experience in the mental health field. Dr. Jacqui
enjoys helping clients make their lives more positive and
satisfying as they reach their goals. She is located in
Columbus, Ohio. Her practice is Personal Wholeness
Solutions, the website is http://www.PWSLifeCoach.com .