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Ep. 131 Cultivating a Confident Body Image

by Claudine Sweeney
June 2nd 2022
Summer is just about here and you may be feeling all kinds of things about that. Maybe you didn't meet your weight loss goal or didn't stick to your health plan you made back in January. That's okay! ... More
This is episode 1 31 body image. You're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise up and Shine podcast. Mhm Mhm Hello everyone. This is Ashley here. So Claudine and I got to record over zoom for this episode. So I personally had a sick child at home. So that was the way we had to record this week. So there might be some audio issues, but we are so appreciative of your patients as you know, recording over zoom as we all know after the pandemic can cause a little bit of technical difficulties and maybe not the sharpest audio.

So without further ado again, thank you for tuning in and thank you for your patience and understanding and let's dive right in. Here we go. All right, Ashley welcome back listeners. It's good to be here. It is june summer is upon us And today we're talking about an issue that I think affects so many of us women. And I'll start by asking a question, how do you feel when you look in the mirror? What kind of thoughts and feelings happen when you look in the mirror at yourself And I'm telling you with some are coming. A lot of us have struggles with this, and that's why today we are going to talk about body image and body image is the way that we look at our image, right? It's the feelings and thoughts how we feel about our bodies and it's different for everyone, it's different from what cultural background you come from, from the way you were raised from, all kinds of things, from what society you're raised in.

This was something that I really struggled with for years and years and years. I was raised in southern California, I was a beach bunny, I started going to beach as a teenager, I was in a bathing suit all the time, I was a gymnast, so I was in a leotard all the time, so being constantly in small or very limited clothing, there was a lot of, a lot of eyes on my body, right, a lot of attention to my body, and um and of course at that age I didn't realize it or wasn't conscious of it, but I did figure out pretty quickly that since I was thin and muscular, that I got a lot of good attention, so it didn't take me long to figure out how thin this equals self worth, which of course is now an adult, mature woman, I realized do not connect, they do not go hand in hand, but certainly as a teenager and young woman, my self worth was very much tied to my size and the shape of my body. So I can easily say I did not have a healthy body image and it's something I've had to struggle with my entire adulthood even though I've never really gotten large by society standards, it's still an issue that I've had to struggle with.

And so with summer upon us, we thought this would be a great time to talk about healthy body image. I feel like I can say most of us, if not all of us have struggled with this in some form or another. No, no, you're not another. I also grew up in southern California and I was much more modest as well. Like I, you know, I never, I think the only time I wore a two piece bathing suit was on my honeymoon and my mom tried to put me in one when I was four and I was screaming crying like I knew from the very get go that I just dropped, my body is very uncomfortable for me. Um, but I know all women of different sizes and shapes have struggled with this in their own way, You know, I mean there's so much that is taught out there just in culture on billboards and movies. Um, you know, celebrities of how we should look right what we should look like and it, it does not go without affecting us for sure. I mean we are very impressionable, especially as we're growing up and younger kids, teenagers.

Um, even in adulthood, we are still impressionable um social media as well? And so a lot of these things are influencing how we see ourselves, how we view ourselves. And I was thinking like, the answer to your question, I'm like, what's my answer to that question is when I look in the mirror, it's yeah, right, right. It's like it's not even a word, it's just and knowing summer's coming and you know, I'm like, I'm gonna stick with my tank top or t shirt and shorts, that's that's my comfort zone. Um But anyways, it's really important to touch on this topic because we all struggle with it, but it's there's so much that is deeper underlying just what we look like and how we feel about ourselves that we need to be more aware of. And we don't, you know, we don't always dig to those deeper layers. Why do I feel this way about myself or um you know, I think these things about my body, is it all about my body, especially now there's so much research and science out there and we're turning I really feel like culture is turning a corner to focus more on health um which is again why we want to talk about this because our health is should be more of the priority over what we look like in our size, but how do we get there?

How do we stop focusing on our size and you know, how do we have a positive um, perception of ourselves and our body image? Yeah. How can we look in the mirror and go all right, instead of right. Yeah, great point. And because how we feel and think about our body image can affect our emotional, mental well being as well. So it's just physical, it's all the way around. And you know, there's a reason the diet industry is a billion dollar industry, you know, they perpetuate this like size matters here. And if you're a certain size then um, you know, you're worthy or you're acceptable or your lovable. I think all those things get tight in which most of us struggle anyway with feelings of being worthy being enough being lovable. And then when we attach being a certain size, it can really do a lot of damage to us emotionally and mentally. And so I'm going to give some practical and really help because this is a huge topic.

And you and I, you have one daughter. I have two daughters as moms. This is an important thing. It's something that we have to gain awareness of and make sure that we have a good handle on it in our own lives so that we don't pass it down to our daughter's right. And my girls both are very thin naturally. They're built like their dad who's very slender. He's a tall, slender man. My girls are tall, slender women, but I was very careful when they were younger never to use the word diet, although they would say mom, are you dieting? That they'd realized I'd switch up my food and they figured something was up by the time they were teens, but they never heard me say, oh, I'm going on another diet when they were young or when they were teenagers and I don't even like the word diet. I actually don't call it diet. You know, I feel like the word diet is like budget. I don't like either one of them like to have any plan planned or spending plan, but I don't like diets and I don't like budget. So I try to plan what I eat, um, to make good choices, but diet to me is so restrictive.

And then in my nature, I want to rebel against that right away. I'm like, uh nope. So anyway, it's interesting. I've even exercise sometimes when people say, oh, I need to exercise, its ah have to exercise. It's like I have to exercise, I get to exercise, but there's so many different forms right? Where it's not limited to the gym or running, even the word exercise, I mean if we just change it to movement, we're not limited to the gym or running, right, It doesn't have to be so bland or boring. Absolutely, we don't even need to call it exercise. We can just kind of movement, right? Because exercise to some of us have stories and meanings attached to that I don't, I don't really like to exercise. I like I said, I was a gymnast that never seemed like exercise to me, I got to do what was fun. I was bouncing around the floor and the beam and the bars and it was just fun. I never looked at it as exercise and then as I became an adult and had Children, then I would go to the gym and I just really do not, it's not my favorite thing.

I do go now a couple of times a week, but it's not my favorite thing. I still have this attachment, like Going to the gym hurts my muscles will hurt, right? I will feel a key and sweaty. I don't like to get sweaty. I mean, it's like I have all these negative stories and thoughts about exercise or the gym, although now we belong to a really nice Jim and so I just keep my exercise really short like 25 minutes and then I go to the spot part. I really enjoyed that part. That's my reward. And it's funny because it's rewiring my brain because now I'm like, oh I can't wait to go to the gym this week because I know I'll do 25 minutes and I do heavy weights as heavy as I can and then I go and relax in the ladies lounge part where they have lounge chairs and sauna and steam room and I really enjoyed that. So now I'm looking forward to going the gym. I haven't made it this total painful, you know sweaty, just gotta wash and dry and you know, three hour event so well and that is interesting that you point that out to, because you're making something that is that you don't typically enjoy more enjoyable.

I mean I think about that even with laundry, how can I make laundry more enjoyable? We'll put on a movie. Right, so get creative. I think that's really important with this is just get creative, you know, do you just get active somehow? You know, you don't have to, like you said, be in the gym or if, I mean your luxurious jim, you get to reward yourself with you when you get a martini to later. No, I think, you know what I mean, you're you're getting creative with it, you're making it work right? You're you're creating more of that positive experience um or association with jim and that's so true. I don't think we typically think about that, we just go on default gym, seeing myself in the mirror, you know, but rather than really changing our focus and associating some of those things that just health really, that's what we're wanting to focus on health and our bodies, but um and creating more positive experiences and associating more positive things with it.

Um I think even like with our, with our body image, um especially if we're striving at least to be healthy to really understand your why, you know, why do I want to get active? Why do I want to exercise or work out or whatever you wanna call it, Why do I want to eat healthy? Um because a lot of times we're just, I don't want to do it, it just seems so painful and we want to avoid the pain, we want to avoid the discomfort. You know, I even think about um hunger just have the hunger pains. We don't like to feel hungry, you know, and so a lot of times it's, oh I start to feel a hunger pain, I better eat something and we tend to go to something that's quick or more pleasurable. For me, it's chips, sometimes. It's also another cup of coffee, but you know, we don't always make the healthiest choices and so if we just get a little bit more intentional, then we will have more confidence, right? We'll be making wiser choices that line up with our values and really what are important to us and we won't be so fixated on our, our negative view of ourselves, but we'll be feeling better, we'll be like, hey, I made a good choice today.

Hey, I ate this today. I'm actually feeling better. I'm not feeling as lethargic. Um you know, there's a lot of things that go into it well, and that's a big point of why we're doing this episode because it is about health versus size. Having a healthy body image is so that you can feel good about yourself, but ultimately have a healthy body, right? That's the goal is to have a healthy body, it's not about a certain size. I know social media and television and in advertisements, obviously we'll continue to showcase mostly smaller sizes, although they are becoming far more inclusive. In fact, even the other day, my husband and I were walking in a mall or store something and there were Several large sized mannequins and when you think about the average size in America now is a size 14 or 16, it seems Very different than what it was even 30, 40 years ago. Certainly when I was a teenager, um, I came, you know, right after Twiggy was a big sensation that was still a little bit before me, but very, very thin anorexic almost models.

So that's what I was seeing all the time. So I do feel like now things have really shifted two more mainstream body size out, realistic, realistic in the mannequin, so that is healthy because then it helps us not to feel like, oh, I've got to be a size two or four. And when we become obsessed over sized and over health, that is not healthy, right, That is very damaging. Yeah. Or wait, I got rid of the number on the scale. I have not had a scale in my house for at least 10-15 years. It may have been since 2009 when we came back from Nashville, I just, I got rid of my skin. It's been great and I can I can manage my health and my weight by just my clothes. I'm like, oh, it's getting a little tight. And one thing you, I think you mentioned, but you know, why are we eating? Are we eating out of hunger? Are we eating out of numbing some pain that we're feeling? Because I think a lot of times I eat a lot out of boredom and restlessness. So when I see them, like those are getting tighter.

It's not because, oh, you know, I need to lose weight or oh, it helps me to self reflect like, okay, I've been more clearly right, I've been eating what's going on? How am I feeling? Am I feeling some anxiety, my feelings from depression and my feeling restlessness? What am I feeling? So I can direct my attention to that as opposed to just numbing out by continually eating, which I can find myself doing? Sometimes I'm just standing in my pantry eating after the other. I'm like, wait a second, I'm actually not even hungry. Like, what am I doing? Like, why am I in here? I'm not actually even hungry And it's gotten to the point where I've eaten and eaten so often. It took me a while to reset my hunger system because God has given us each a hunger system. We have a little internal gPS that tells us when it's time to refuel, right, We're never going to go hungry because we have an actual hunger mechanism that will allow us to know that. But I think I've used mine so much, I forgot what it felt like to even have hunger pains. It was like, oh, so I had to work on that, but health versus size is crucial.

Yeah, and I was thinking about what you said, um something that popped up was our habits, right? So when you start noticing that, oh, my clothes are getting a little snug, Maybe I'm, you know, snacking a little more than I should or a little more than usual and discovering why, why am I doing this and my board. Am I um, am I sad? Like I remember quick little story, I, and I'm not saying this is good or bad, it was just, it just was what it was and it was a habit. I realized this is my habit if I went to get a cyst removed from my toe not to gross you all out, but and it was so painful. I passed out luckily I asked my husband to go with me because it's, you know, I heard, oh, it's just a simple procedure. I'm like something I'm feeling, I'm not feeling good about it. So has, has been come with me, um passed out, totally shaken up. Right? Then I'm, I dropped him back off at work because it was the middle of the day, I get in my car and heading home.

I was so shaken up, I went to go get a Starbucks and Chipotle, like I needed comfort food because I was so shaken up and I didn't, that was eye opening for me because I realized I do that I have a habit of when something upsets me or I'm feeling sad or I'm feeling depressed or I'm just gonna numb away by snacking on something that I enjoy because it's comforting or I would have coffee after coffee or you know, a glass of wine after a glass of wine, whatever it was, that was comforting to me to numb it out, you know, and that was a whole other reason, that was the whole health issue and not addressing what I was really feeling and allowing myself to feel what I was feeling. And what's interesting is when we do that, then we feel guilty or shameful about overeating when we weren't even hungry or outside of our eating plan, Which does not help our body image at all. And it's funny because we always think if I just lost £10 then I would be happy if I just had muscle tone, then I would feel confident and that's where the problem lies, that we think we can't be happy.

We think we can't be confident. We think that we don't have any self worth until we reach a certain size or our body looks a certain way and that's the damage that having an unhealthy body image will do. So, um Ashley, why don't we share a couple of practical for our listeners to help us develop and maintain a healthy body image? Okay, The 1st 1, we are not our bodies. This is so important to remember um your, like you said, our self worth is not um it's not dictated by how we look, it has nothing to do about our worth, our value as a human being. Um I think a lot of times intellectually we say we know that, but we don't believe it in our heart in our core, you know, because it still is a struggle for most of us. And so just reminding yourself, coaching yourself in those thoughts that I am not my body, how I look, does not mean who I am as a person, you know, or my self worth or my value and what I bring to the world.

And so really distinguishing that um is really crucial for having a positive body image. That's great. I mean, it would even be a great exercise to just list 20 great qualities about yourself that have nothing to do with your body, right? Like that'd be great, great, a great plan, A great plan. Yes, I am the I love plans, clearly not exercise gear plan, Not exercise, but plans, but making a list of 20 strengths and characteristics about yourself that you really appreciate or that people have commented or complimented you on. That would be a good thing if you ever start looking at your body negatively just to remind yourself I am not my body, This is who I am. You know, I'm kind, I'm thoughtful, I'm hardworking whatever. Find a list of 20 things that you can review when you start to struggle with your body image. Absolutely. And that goes into rewiring your brain when you fixate on more of those positive things that helps rewire those negative thoughts and replace them with those positive, huge Yeah, another one is um going along with that, I'll go to be kind to yourself.

Like that's part of the rewiring process. Be kind yourself have gratitude for your body. I mean, I think sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves and our bodies like I should look a certain way and why I have dimples on my legs and you know, my my friend and I were on a Retreat last week. We're both in our 50s and one thing we started talking about was creepy skin, like No one told us that our skin would get all creepy in our 50s. Like that is new to us. But again, it's natural part of growing and aging and I have almost two decades on you. So my body is in a different place in your body, but I have a lot of gratitude for it because my body has gotten me here right. It sustained me. It's given me the energy and the strength to raise four Children and I can walk and I can do so many things. So when I get down, when I think, oh, you know, my body is changing and shifting when I get that feeling. Like you said in the beginning, right? It is, it's a feeling, it's like you look in the mirror and you just go. But then I turn it to know look at what my body has done for me.

I've been able to do so much and I give gratitude. It, I'm so grateful. I have two eyes to see. I'm so grateful, I have ears to hear. I'm so glad I have arms that I can go grocery shop and pick up bags of grocery shop groceries. We just have to think through all the things that our body is doing for us all the gratitude instead of looking at it like what it's not or or the things we don't like about it. Let's be kind to ourselves and show gratitude, acknowledging that, you know, there's a lot of good. Yeah, a lot of good. The 3rd 1 is, do things you enjoy to be active. We all know it's good to be active, right? And I mentioned earlier, it doesn't have to be limited to the gym or to running, but doing things like walking, you know, consistently doing a walk every day. I see even our neighbors, they walk around a very large blocks twice a day. I know their schedule that could be tennis, that could be paddleboarding, that could be hiking. I've even seen some women around town roller skating through the neighborhoods.

So just get creative. What are things that you like to do to get out of the house to be active? Right? It doesn't, you know, it's some even join an adult league of softball or volleyball or, you know, do something that you actually enjoy it as a positive experience to be active and it doesn't have to be limited to exercise, you know, like sliding loves so much, but or get creative, you know, had spent some time at the gym and then go to lunch with a friend afterwards or you know, get creative with it, but associate positive experience with it. So, so good actually. Yeah, just getting creative. I mean, I do love to walk, I love to bike ride, I like being out in nature. So for me that never feels like exercise and I do track my steps mostly just for my own knowledge. Um, also being careful not to use exercise as punishment or tie it to your eating. Um, that's important too. Like sometimes we get so restrictive with our eating or then over exercise kind of like, well I ate a piece of cake, so I better do, you know two hours of workouts.

And I think that's where some of the negativity can come from two because we use exercise kind of as a punishment instead of as a reward. Like oh I get to bike ride, I get to walk. I get to go dancing. I get to play tennis. Um which ties into the gratitude of what our bodies can do. So, but anyway, there's so much more to life and so much more to spend time on then thinking about your body and working on your body image. And so with a healthy body image, obviously it ties into our emotional and mental well being as well. So, so just remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made my friends as psalm 1 39 14 reminds us you are fearfully and wonderfully made. No matter your size. Mm hmm. I love that one. I love that one. Alright, everybody, well, thank you for tuning in to another episode with us. Please feel free to reach out to us. If you are interested in a free discovery call with either one of us where we can talk with you connect with you um Really discover certain thoughts that might be holding you back and just not feeling great.

And if you are ready to feel better and you're ready to feel confident. You're ready to feel more peace and happiness in your life. Reach out to us. We are here for you. And you can also get more resources as well on our website. Or connect with us at Claudine at Claudine Sweeney dot com. And at Ashley's website Mind over chaos dot com. So again, thank you so much for tuning in. Also please remember to share with a friend, if you feel like this episode or podcast, any one of our previous episodes have really touched you and really resonated with you. Um please share. We want to spread the love and spread the encouragement to as many women as we can. And so yeah, with that we leave you. I hope you have a wonderful day and a wonderful rest of your week. We'll see you next time. Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the rise up and Shine podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode. And while you're at it, share this episode with a friend who you know, it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com.

And Ashley at Mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life mm hmm

Ep. 131 Cultivating a Confident Body Image
Ep. 131 Cultivating a Confident Body Image
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