5 Powerful Ways to Overcome Body Image Issues and End the Struggle
Want to overcome body image issues and learn to love and honor your body instead? I used to suffer tremendously from body image issues, thinking I’d never be free from the suffering. I am!
From my experience, it’s all about learning how to love your body. It’s also about understanding your emotions and honoring your sexuality. In addition, it’s about making you important and committing to a path of self-love.
In this article, I’ll cover 5 key ways to learn how to heal poor body image and create a healthy body image instead. They are taken from my book Empower Yourself by Loving Your Body. A book I wrote offering many tools on how pleasure and processing your emotions are the antidotes to overcoming body image issues once and for all.
By the end of this article you’ll have concrete ways of dealing with body image issues. You’ll have a better understanding of the causes of negative body image and be better equipped to overcome this disempowering condition.
Advertising and body image and how it’s affected your sense of body confidence is a big issue in our society.
With all the stimuli you are exposed to in the media and in culture, do you suffer from an “if only” perspective about your body?
- my hips were smaller,
- I had bigger breasts,
- my smile was straight,
- these legs of mine were thinner,
- they were thicker!
Body Image Issues are Abuse Issues
If you suffer from any of the above… this is living in your head about your body. If judgment is the only type of relationship you have with your body, it’s an abusive relationship!
As a woman, you are a sensual, creative being. You may not be completely aware of this, but it’s in your genes. Femininity is about creativity, receptivity and sensuality. It’s inherently a loving energy.
That means, there is an innate desire in you to experience deep intimacy and heartfelt connections. But not loving your body holds you back from this joy and pleasure. Body confidence issues will keep you from accessing the healing power of your divine feminine essence.
Do you long for more love in your life? BE the love instead of looking for it. Learn how to love your body on a deeper level. Free yourself from society imposed body image issues. A media and body image imposed reality. Yes, love your body… every inch of it, no matter what age, shape, or size you are.
Loving Your Body is a Revolutionary, Evolution Act that has Far-reaching Effects
Instead, have you become a victim of society, and either consciously or unconsciously…
- Believe you are not good enough?
- That your body isn’t beautiful enough?
- Think your appearance needs to change?
- Feel disconnected from your body and uncomfortable “in your skin.”
These issues hold you back from experiencing true love.
- Do you believe you’ll never find a good relationship?
- Do you feel inhibited and negative about your body? How does that negatively affect you?
- Do you want to feel more “at home” with your body but seem more locked in a battle with it instead?
- Do you feel fat, fatigued, and forever judgmental of what you see in the mirror?
- Have you sacrificed work over taking better care of your body?
- Are you afraid you’ll grow old and lonely, where your only sensual pleasure is chocolate or ice cream?
You’re not the only woman with these concerns. Millions of women yearn for more. Desiring a sensual connection, wanting to feel open, uninhibited, and confident in your body is healthy. Longing for an authentic, loving connection to another, and wishing to feel desired is natural.
The Societal Messages You Received
In addition, if you knew how to love your body, no matter what your shape, age, or size, how would you feel? What difference would it make in your life? What’s sad is that our culture gives you the opposite message. Our culture instills at a very young age… poor body image.
For example, messages that you’re not good enough, pretty enough or sexy enough. Or that you’re not motherly enough, career-oriented enough, or that you are way too emotional. Maybe you received a message that you were supposed to grow up, get married and have children when that doesn’t appeal to you at all.
What were the messages you received? Have you bought into what society says a women should be? At work,
- Do you sometimes feel like a man in a woman’s body?
- Have you armored yourself up in order to be successful in this more masculine-oriented world?
- Do you deny your emotions… especially at work?
- Are you constantly on the go… never taking time to slow down?
If any of this is you… or something similar then no wonder you don’t know how to love your body. No wonder you are suffering
As a result of dealing with stress have you over-indulged in food, alcohol or another substance, where you couldn’t stop yourself? I get it. In my younger years I turned to over-indulgence, as many of us do, as a way to numb out. It was a way to relieve stress after a hard day’s work. It was an unhealthy way but I didn’t know any better. And it only contributed to my body image problem.
Which also kept me from having deeper, meaningful relationships with others. At the time, I had no idea I was doing that to myself. I just wanted to feel good! I was looking in all the wrong places. It kept me from having a healthy intimate relationship. Instead, it created relationship drama without me realizing my actions and lack of body confidence were the source of that drama.
Diving Deep Into Self-Discovery
And through the many challenging relationship experiences, by the time I was in my early forties, I committed to a journey of deep self-discovery. Making me and my relationship with my body and my sexuality important. That was when I dove deep into certification programs that transformed my life.
What I found was a new path, a path of honor and reverence for my female body and my sexual expression. I gained Yogic and Tantric tools on how to fully love my body. My limiting belief systems around my body and my sexuality were shed. I experienced spiritual aspects within the physical realm. The relationship I had with my body completely transformed. It was a time of true body image therapy for me.
I want to share the 5 key ways I learned how to create a healthy body image and truly love my body. From first-hand experience, I know what it takes to free yourself from body image issues and unnecessary emotional suffering.
5 Keys for Overcoming
Body Image Issues
1. Get Out of Your Mind and Be in Your Body
“Tuning into” your body is a completely new way of being with your body. Do you know how? Instead of “tuning out” by criticizing it, over-feeding it, focusing only on how it looks or not acknowledging uncomfortable emotions, learn how to BE in your body.
Not tuning into your body is one of the causes of negative body image.
Tuning into and being present with your body is one of the most precious gifts you can give yourself. It won’t cost you a thing; it’s priceless. The problem is that it takes time and discipline. It’s something most of us didn’t learn as we were growing up.
What do I mean by “out of your mind” versus “Be in your body.” A simple example of the difference would be whether you are saying…
“I look good” versus “I feel good.”
If you think you look good, then you have a mental construct of your body.
On the other hand, if you feel good, truly feel it, then you are in your body. You’ll never completely get out of your head, meaning be without thought. But the important point is to become aware of how much you are in your head.
It’s useful to know and be aware of the difference. With practice, you’ll notice when you’re in the insanity of your head and take steps to access the centeredness of being in your body.
What’s the best way to get out of your mind
and into your body?
Your breath! Deep breathing is the best way to calm your mind, experience the joys of being in your body, and feel the joy of being alive.
If you’re not doing some form of deep breathing on a regular basis, then there’s a strong probability you’re living in your head where you’ll experience less pleasure. And pleasure is one of the biggest antidotes to body image issues.
Breathing deeply is effective for those coping with depression and body image, anxiety, and stress-related disorders, including eating disorders and obesity. Body image and mental health is a real issue for people.
Deep breathing gives your heart and lungs a good workout and quickly pumps lots of oxygen into your cells, especially those that may have been operating at a reduced capacity, such as the cells in an area of your body you dislike or even outright despise.
When you’re stressed, your breath is shallow and your body receives decreased oxygen. A good supply of oxygen to your cells is necessary for maintaining optimal health. Deep, rhythmic breathing expands the chest, diaphragm, and lungs, which invokes a relaxation response, and massages the lymphatic system.
When you breathe deeply you are moving energy. Letting go of stuck emotions and bringing new energy. It’s revitalizing to your body and refreshing to your soul. It’s good body image therapy!
Don’t forget to make deep breathing a part of your life. In so doing, you’ll live less in your head and more in the beauty and pleasure of being present in your body.
2. Have a Love Relationship with Food
Did you know there is a big connection between food, your emotions and your sensual/sexual expression as a woman? Food is a sensual experience. Why do you think so many women have issues with food… they aren’t sensually satisfied.
- What type of relationship do you have with food?
- How does food make you feel?
- Are you emotionally attached to food that isn’t healthy for you?
- Do you beat yourself up after eating?
- Do you eat on the run, in the car?
- Do you eat without paying attention to what you’re doing?
What would it take to love yourself enough to have a life-affirming love relationship with food?
If you’re using food to numb out and repress your emotions it’s a form of self-loathing. It’s a way of saying to yourself, “I don’t matter.” In order to love your body and overcome body image issues you need to know how to process your emotions.
Your body is where your emotions reside. How often do you ignore your emotions? Maybe saying to yourself…
- “I shouldn’t feel that way.”
- “It doesn’t really matter.”
- “I’ll get over it.”
Your emotions are a powerful source of energy. They are energy in motion. If you ignore or push them down they’ll just come out sideway in what I call the 3D’s, Disease, Drama and Disfunction. Learning how to process your emotions is an important life skill for overcoming body image issues. Dealing with your emotions in a compassionate way will teach you how to deeply love your body.
You Are What You Eat
Food, just like emotions, can be a powerful source of energy. What’s important is to choose the right foods.
A disconnect from “real” food directly relates to a disconnect from your body. Your food choices affect you. Eat foods that are closer to the source. This means fresh, organic, “real”, whole foods.
The fastest way to change your consciousness is to change your food. Artificial, packaged, and processed foods leads to that same consciousness. Wholesome eating leads to wholesome thoughts. Eat a pear instead of canned pears. Eat cooked rice from bulk with fresh sautéed vegetables instead of a frozen rice and veggie dinner that proclaims “healthy” and “natural” on its packaging (even if it is from the health food store!).
Because it’s “normal” to eat fast food, packaged, and processed foods, we have lost our concept of what normal is. Your body can tell the difference! Your body longs for “real” food. Start giving your body more “real” food, and your relationship with your body will transform.
And don’t do it only because you want your body to look good. Do it because you want to have a loving relationship with your body so it can feel good.
Realize that your food choices can contribute to the causes of negative body image.
3. Have a Love Affair with Your Body
This may sound kind of odd however it’s the best thing you can do if you want to know how to love your body and free yourself from poor body image. Create a love affair with your body. Fall in love with it. Create a deeply sensual and honoring relationship with it.
Sensuality is a big part of your nature as a woman.
It’s important to satisfy your innate sensuality through wholesome, life-enhancing sensual experiences as opposed to life-robbing behaviors.
Were you programmed to believe that touching your body was a sin? If you want to love your body and overcome body image issues you need overcome the limiting belief that your body is a place of sin.
You may not have that problem. But many do. And it often comes from religious conditioning or being caught touching yourself as a child and feeling the shame. That shame is still inside you and keeps you from loving your body.
Most importantly, having a love affair with your body changes this abusive existence into a life that is nurturing, loving, and supportive. I mentioned earlier that pleasure is the antidote to food and body image issues. You accomplish this by establishing a more sensual, instead of mental, relationship with your body.
The problem is that our culture hasn’t given women a safe place to be sensual.
Our sensuality has been bottled up with a price tag on it. It’s often only expressed in less than nurturing places for women, such as strip clubs where female objectification is the norm.
We live in an anti-ecstatic world. You, as sensual being, have had to wall off or compartmentalize that part of you to survive. And with that comes negative symptoms such as body armor, repressed emotions, self-hatred, people-pleasing, not living in your truth, manipulation, disconnect etc. All in the effort of trying to live up to a standard that isn’t even possible.
Not Loving Your Body Disconnects You
What parts of your body do you wish were different? Energetically, when you dislike a body part, you cut off energy in that area. You disempower a part of yourself. You create a battle between your mind and that part of your body.
That part of your body then lives in a contracted state. In turn, that part of your body is cut off from your aliveness, sensuality, and ability to feel pleasure. The benefit of stopping such an internal battle with yourself is you’ll start feeling more sensually alive and receptive.
You’ll start feeling more joy in your body. Your femininity, and your sexuality will blossom. In order to experience this you need to have positive regard for every part of your body, especially those parts of your body that you “think” are not so perfect.
Accept Your Perceived Imperfections
Accepting your perceived imperfections is a major step towards learning how to love your body. And with that also overcome body image issues. Start paying attention to the words you say about your body or body parts. Are they kind and loving? Or are they critical?
Pay attention to what you say about and to your body. Your body will respond beautifully to kind, loving, and appreciative words. “She” will also respond to compassion, conscious, loving touch. Which leads me into sexuality.
4. Put More Love Into Your Sexuality
Whether you are in an intimate relationship or not, it’s important to know, honor and love your sexuality. This includes the sexual, sensual relationship you have with yourself.
Don’t ask for intimacy with another if you’re not willing to be intimate with yourself. The intimacy you have with yourself is the foundation for creating a better relationship with your lover. The depth of intimacy you have with yourself will attract a partner who can go equally as deeply and intimately.
Causes of negative body image can often involve a history of sexual abuse.
So women often compartmentalize their sexuality. They don’t really connect to it.
Let me ask you… do you know YOUR sexuality? Or has it been defined for you? Do you love it or shame it?
- What is your sexuality?
- Do you know your sexual needs?
- What have you not discovered yet about your body, your Yoni, and your sexual response system?
- Are you worth exploring?
- Yes, you most certainly are!
Statistically 1 out of 6 American women are victims of attempted or completed rape. If you’ve been sexually abused, you have wounds in your body from those experiences.
Maybe you weren’t sexually abused. However, collectively, we are all sexually wounded. Men, too, have been sexually wounded. If you want to love your body you need to look at your sexuality…heal, awaken, expand, and put more love into it.
Honor your sexuality. Explore your sexuality with yourself.
- Ask for what you need sexually?
- Know your sexual anatomy?
- Like the way your Yoni looks?
- Feel comfortable touching yourself?
Through self-exploration and conscious touch, you can use your sexual energy as a healing force. It’s a powerful path to inner awareness. And it’s actually good for you!
Sexual energy is mysterious and powerful. On a physical level, it ensures our existence as a species. On a spiritual level, it awakens you to your power. It connects you to your eternal essence and allows you to see who you are beyond your body and embrace the brilliance of your soul. Ultimately, it can connect you to spirit.
Awakening the divine feminine within you through conscious touch is a beautiful way to refine your raw, primal, physical sexual energy. It awakens you to the present moment to experience the richness of it on a spiritual level. When you spend most of your time in your head (and especially criticizing your body), it’s a challenge to feel the pleasure of being in your body.
When you are goal-oriented in your sexual expression, you can easily miss the bliss. It’ll always be just outside your reach. Don’t miss the bliss! Conscious touch, with or without a partner, drops you into your body and frees you from the incessant mind chatter that keeps you from truly loving your body.
Find ways to bring more spirituality into your sexuality and you’ll develop a more loving relationship with your body and overcome body image issues once and for all.
5. Commit to You
Peace in your heart and pleasure in your body will free you from body image issues. Now that you have read this article, you know more about how to love your body and the benefits you’ll receive in doing so.
Are you willing to commit to loving your body and finally deal with your body image issues? You grow and evolve through commitment. When you make a commitment, you create inner strength and become more effective in the world. When you are committed to something, you’re less likely to give up or feel defeated when you face a challenge or something you don’t understand.
Commitment helps you to know where you’re going and what you are moving towards.
Nothing slows you down. You live life more passionately, and you become more attractive to others.
You attract good people and experiences into your life. Possibly even a love relationship you’ve been longing for. When you commit to yourself, you feel worthy. You empower yourself through commitment.
Are you ready to commit to loving your body by connecting to your authentic feminine? And not the feminine defined by society? I am challenging you to take action. Now is the time to deeply love and honor your body. What actions are you going to take to create a healthy body image? What coaches, mentors, or education will you seek to know how to love your body and fully embrace the authentic you? Now is the time.
I’m Anna-Thea, an author and Certified Divine Feminine Educator. This article is a summary of the ideas I cover in my book. My book offers you many tools and provides you with the knowledge and know-how to love your body and free yourself from body image problems.