Negative Midlife Body Image | Love Your Changing Body Anyway

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own. Kurt Vonnegut

You look great!

Do you believe when you hear somebody saying it?

Unfortunately, you do not,most of the times.

No matter how many people tell you how good you look, you just don't believe them. You have a negative body image.

Research suggests that hating our body creates a vicious cycle: When we feel low about anything, we dislike ourselves even more, and when we hate our body, our mood sinks. (If you think 'stress', you are absolutely right)

As you already may know that anything that triggers you stress, makes you worry and to be anxious keeps your cortisol level elevated, destroys your health and ads to premature aging, which worsens your body image even more.

(Read Stress Speeds Premature Aging )

"Body image has a total impact on how we feel about aging," says Mary Huntington Lehner, clinical director of the RockyMountainTreatmentCenter in Great Falls, Montana. "There's a direct connection between your self-esteem and your body image. The better your self-esteem, the better you'll feel about what is happening to your body as you journey through life."

That's because the more negative we are all around, the more critical we are of ourselves. When we are angry or sad, we focus more on our shortcomings. If we were to examine the thoughts that have created the mood, though, we would find they are the same type of thoughts that are now picking on the body. This suggests that how we feel in general about our lives, others and the world around us profoundly affects how we feel about our bodies and vice versa.

So, accepting and, even more so, feeling good about your body is essential to feeling good about yourself and leading a happy, fulfilling and low stress life.

Women's Magazine For Midlife Women

Media's Negative Effect on Body Image

Women Magazines, should we Claim them Guilty?

A society that worships youth and thinness can be demoralizing and make you feel over the hill before your time even if you have terrific self-esteem, fighting an ongoing battle against gray hair, crow's-feet and extra pounds on the hips and thighs.

In fact, an ABC News reported that 35 percent of women have negative thoughts about their body up to five times a day.

Women's magazines love perfection. They tell us we can have perfect hair, perfect lips, perfect legs, perfect sex. They show us perfect models wearing perfect clothing and perfect makeup.

So how does all this perfection make women feel?

Research has proven that a negative body image is draining, it’s even been found to contribute to:

• Depression and anxiety
• Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
• Dissociation (blocking out emotions as a coping mechanism)
• Sexual preoccupation and distress
• Post-traumatic stress disorder

A positive body image, meanwhile, will boost your self-esteem, your sense of well-being and peace, and even your very happiness, so you’ve got nothing to lose.

Distorted Beliefs

These pressures on women to look thin, youthful and sexy are clearly having an effect. By most measures, a growing number of women believe looking young and attractive is important, but at the same time, more and more of us are displeased with our appearance.

Contrary to popular belief, fashion magazine models and Hollywood celebrities are not the cause of our obsession with weight or how we look. We bring to the table who we are.

Low self-esteem must be present before we can be influenced by a picture in a magazine. When we have a strong sense of self, nothing in the external world, especially a picture in a magazine, can have that kind of power.

Self-accepting people are not so easily swayed.

What exactly do women dislike about their bodies?

Perhaps you’ve spent countless hours scrutinizing the length of your nose or the width of your hips. Or maybe it’s a mole on your back or the size of your feet that drives you crazy. We’re all quite good at pointing out and obsessing over our own “flaws,” but most of us have a much harder time when it comes to accepting what we were born with.

  • 20 percent are dissatisfied with their faces,
  • 45 percent dislike their muscle tone,
  • 32 percent would like to change their breast or chest sizes,
  • about 40 percent are dissatisfied with their overall appearance.
  • But the thing most women would change is their weight.

Beauty tips for Women of "a Certain Age" from international makeup artist and beauty writer Bobbi Brown

Midlife Challenge - No Time For Ourselves

Women are in the middle of careers, raising children and possibly caring for their aging parents. So it's hard to find time to focus on themselves," Susan Olson, Ph.D., director of psychological services at the SouthwestBariatricNutritionCenter in Tempe, Arizona.

And when you finally find the time to focus you all of sudden realize that you are getting older, and that is scary.

So it's probably not surprising that women are keeping plastic surgeons busy.

More Midlife Women Turn to Plastic Surgery

These days, nearly any physical imperfection on your body can be fixed, for a price, and increasing numbers of Americans are choosing plastic surgery as a way to boost their body image.

In 2005, for instance, Americans spent over $12 billion on cosmetic plastic surgery procedures (this does not include reconstructive procedures), according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).

Plastic surgery is becoming increasingly acceptable, with 55 percent of women and 52 percent of men saying they fully approve of it, according to a 2006 ASAPS survey.

Good looks don't guarantee that you will have a good body image or that you will age more gracefully than others.

Sad, but the truth.

While plastic surgery may serve to improve the self-esteem of many who choose it, it is a short-term solution to a bigger issue. Five years after a facelift, for instance, your face will inevitably have new wrinkles, and liposuction will not keep excess fat away if your lifestyle isn’t changed along with it.

In reality, no matter how many cosmetic procedures you may have, you will probably always find another imperfection … unless you learn how to love you body.

Put Your Best Feet Forward.

Have you noticed that the best pictures are not the ones where our hair is perfect or so…they are the ones where we are happy or thinking about someone or something we love. This shows where the real beauty resides. Our real beauty radiates from within.   

Indeed its all about energy, enthusiasm other people see. The more positive energy you project, the more others see you as a positive, healthy person and more you actually become that person.

When you feel good about yourself, your overall self-image starts to transform and bodily changes follow.       

How we perceive, how we feel about and what we believe to be true about our bodies determines our overall view of what we can achieve and what we will settle for in life.

Put yourself on the top of the list. Learn Extreme Self Care.

Tips To Overcome Negative Body Image

The following tips will help you to start loving and feel better about your aging body and overcome negative body image.Make them an excellent positive routine you can implement in your life today.

  • Put yourself on the top of the list. Learn extreme self care. Remember the 'midlife Challenge'-No Time For Ourselves. From today things are going to be different.
  • Start every morning with a deep breath and a hug. Put your arms around yourself and give yourself a loving hug.
  • Stop criticizing. If you tend to criticize and judge everything and everyone, stop it right now. Because when you look at your body, your dialogue doesn’t change, it followed the same pattern. When you became more positive and happy, you develop a more forgiving and compassionate nature. Positivity helps us to overlook faults all around.
  • Hug yourself mentally. Each time you look in a mirror, say to you "I love and appreciate you the way you are. I think you're absolutely beautiful. " Say only loving things to yourself and do it often.
  • Create an affirmation and say it. Each day, create an affirmation to a part of your body that you like. 'Thanks, eyes. I really value you, because you sparkle and show that I'm alive.' Say it out load at least twice a day. Affirmations are a very powerful tool.
  • Find a picture of a woman you admire cut it out, and put it on your mirror for inspiration. When you browse through magazines look for pictures of women who had features similar to yours. As you will notice they are not perfect, but here they were in these magazines, and that would make you feel better about yourself. But don’t compare your body to others. Your body is one of a kind!
  • Look back. Find a favorite picture of yourself from each decade of your life. This will help you realize that you were a better-looking person than you may have thought you were at the time. Think twice when you judge yourself now!
  • Get plenty of sleep each night (there’s a reason it’s called “beauty sleep”).

 

Valerie Ramsey, the Role Model to admire and learn from

  • Find role models whom you admire and think are attractive even though they are older and grayer. Put pictures of those people on your refrigerator, and use those images as something to look forward to and grow into.
  • Engage yourself in regular exercises such as walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming or resistance training. This will help you stay fit and improve your body image. Start slow 20 minutes a day, three times a week will work their magic. Getting into good physical shape will improve your body shape, too!
  • Create a healthy eating plan.
  • Embrace healthy aging holistic approach
  • Pamper yourself with a long aromatherapy bath, a special outing, a spa day “just because,” or foot massage session.
  • Dress for success. Appearance does count at any age, but when you reach midlife wearing clothes, makeup and accessories that complement your figure is crucial. Experiment when you are shopping and find clothes that make you feel and look fabulous. Don’t be too anxious though, just try to be the best possible version of yourself.
  • Give thanks for your health, your life and your abilities.

Not many (if any) people are completely hay with their bodies. The goal is to be hay within your body, to accept it, and to project this happiness to the rest of the world.

Not Sure Where To Start

Creating a good body image can be daunting and very stressful.

Change isn't always easy and can be quite stressful, especially when you doubt about where to start.

The good solution could be consider join my 8-week Stop Stress Eating Challenge -- a comprehensive and sustainable healthy lifestyle program based on mindful eating approach that guides you to eat instinctively, end mindless and emotional eating without deprivation and guilt, live a more active lifestyle, and balance eating for enjoyment with eating for health.

About the Author

Dr.Inese Millere , M.D. is lifestyle coach in holistic stress management and mindful eating coachr for busy women after 40 who want to be Fit, Balanced and Ageless: to manage stress, stress eating, have a healthy and joyful relationship with food and enjoy healthy living and longevity.

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