This is another article on feeling fat and how women can overcome body image issues in our ongoing Dating Advice For Women Series
Are you feeling fat? Do you obsess about getting fat? Do you avoid mirrors whenever possible? These are all signs feeling fat and the body blues. Guess what? No one has a perfect body. Those photos you see of celebs in magazines are retouched. Those actors in movies and TV are layered in makeup and have body doubles half the time. Those models you see on the runways usually suffer from feeling fat and are struggling with eating disorders that can have them looking like skeletons. The obsession with being thin, young and perfect-looking is the bane of our culture.
If you have ever felt bad about your body, like you’re feeling fat, have too much cellulite, too many wrinkles and too many pounds, pimples, dandruff, a small chest, and ugly toes you are not alone. Everyone in this culture suffers from the body blues at some point in their adolescent and adult lives. And the body blues can have a profound impact on your dating and love relationships. Part One of this two-part article is for singles who want to overcome feeling fat. In Part Two, I’ll share more relationships for those of you in couples as to how to banish the feeling fat.
But before we get to the five tips that will help you banish feeling fat, I want you to know that tips on how to build self-esteem like these can be found weekly in my Dating Tips & Relationship Advice Newsletter.
Here then are five top tips for dealing more effectively with the psychological and relationship issues caused by feeling fat and the body blues.
1. Shift to More Positive Thinking: It’s not your physical problems—it’s your thinking about how bad it is that causes problems. You see your flab and start thinking how unattractive and what a turn-off it is. Negative self-talk leads to depression and upset which in turn can color how you come across to others. But here’s the best news: research shows that you can break this pattern by changing these thoughts. Just like anything else, when it comes to changing mental habits, practice makes it all work out. For 10 to 15 minutes several times a week, write down a neutral or positive statement about your body complaint (e.g., “Being overweight is a minor problem.” Or “It’s just an extra 15 pounds.”) Read the statement aloud. When a doubt or negative idea comes up, like, “It’s awful.” simply write it down. Continue this process, alternating neutral and negative thoughts about your body complaint until you feel a positive shift in your mood. This will help neutralize any possible complaints that you have about your condition and get your brain into the habit of countering negative thoughts with a positive response.
2. Mirror Exercise: Look in the mirror and pick 3 to 5 things that you like about your physical appearance. Wear form-fitting but not revealing clothing so that you can do this exercise even if you are having a flare-up of the body blues. When practiced regularly, this exercise will shift focus away from your physical insecurities and on to the physical features that you do like. Studies have shown that the mirror exercise is especially helpful to do before you go to a social gathering because it will help boost your confidence and help you stop the comparison game, judging yourself against how other people you meet look or dress. It is simple, yet very powerful.
3. Look around you: Take a good look at your group of friends or people in a crowd the next time you go out. Notice that couples come in all shapes and sizes and that being in a relationship isn’t just for the physically perfect. People in relationships are overweight, short, skinny, tall, have acne, facial scars and other skin conditions. Think about the fact that most people have physical flaws and you will feel more optimistic about your own chances for a loving relationship.
4. Choose wisely about sharing information about your body complaint: Be nonchalant. Avoid injecting negative judgments, like “It’s awful,” into the description or putting yourself down. If it doesn’t seem like a huge deal to you, other people will view it the same way.
5. Be picky when picking a romantic partner: don’t settle for just anyone. A candidate should satisfy the three criteria below if he or she is to have a meaningful healthy place in your dating and love life.
- Has strong feelings about you – he or she should like you through and through for who you are. A good partner is not focused on pimples, wrinkles or extra pounds.
- Wants to grow – there is no perfect partner. Choose someone who is willing to work on him/herself.
- Meets the basics – a prospective partner for lasting love is a good person with integrity, who shares your values and goals and has romantic chemistry with you.
By using these simple practices, you can end many of the psychological and relationship problems that are often caused by feeling fat. You can learn to accept your body, as imperfect as it is, as perfect for you. Read Part Two of this article now and find out how your relationship can play a big part in helping you overcome the body blues.
Wishing you love,