In the “no, duh,” study of the week, research has found that cosmetic surgery is no help for those with body dysmorphic disorder. And while BDD isn’t your run-of-the-mill poor body image (it’s a psychological disorder in which the affected person focuses so excessively on a real or perceived defect in their appearance that it causes them major distress––they might even be convinced they have a deformity), most of us know that the way we feel about our physical form is dictated largely by our brains, not our bodies. Anyone who has reached a weight-loss goal and still felt unsatisfied knows that. Losing weight can improve our quality of lives––we feel healthier, more vital, have more energy––but it doesn’t fix us. An improved body image starts from the inside out.
Here’s how to get started on a positive body image breakthrough from shine.com:
What does thin mean to you?
Sometimes we use “thinness” and diets as a metaphor for what we really want in life. We think, “When I lose weight, I’ll finally be happy.” Being thin won’t make you happy. Being well could improve your sense of satisfaction with your life. You’ll have more energy, you’ll sleep better, your moods might be brighter. Those are feelings of well-being that come from taking good care of ourselves––eating good foods, letting our bodies move, giving ourselves time to reflect, having meaningful relationships with people. But being thin won’t make you happy. Let’s say it again: being thin won’t make you happy. You will still be you, with your same problems and concerns, just in a smaller package. What is it you’re really trying to get from your life?
Talk to yourself like a friend.
There is a constant chatter in our brain, and most of it we wouldn’t dare say out loud to a friend. You’ll never be good enough. Look at your giant ass in those pants. Who do you think you are? The rules of polite society apparently don’t apply to the way we treat ourselves. Enough of that. Pay attention to your internal dialogue, and when it veers toward the negative, put on the brakes. Challenge your negative thoughts. As Geneen Roth says, “What you say to yourself about the shape of your body shapes your feelings about yourself. Be careful what you tell yourself, because you will believe it.” Tell yourself something good, something true.