Learning to love our bodies by Carol Hanson

The sad truth is that most of us do not even recognize that we have an amazing body.   We are too busy criticizing ourselves and filling our heads with negative thoughts to appreciate the amazing body we have.
 
The truth about our relationship with our bodies
• 97% of women will say something negative about their bodies today!
• On average a woman will have 13 negative thoughts about their bodies every day.
• 90% of women aged 15 to 64 want to change at least one aspect of their appearance.
These are frankly frightening statistics and do nothing to help us love ourselves and appreciate our amazing body. 
But we can change this relationship.  It does take tough love and a real desire to change your mindset.  But isn’t it better to have a positive relationship than a negative one?
Let’s look at how we can start to adjust our mindset and build a positive relationship.
1. Food – think of the nutritional benefits of food and consider how different food types are helping us to thrive and provide us with energy.

2. People can be overweight but healthy if they're exercising and eating well. They can also be thin but unhealthy through a poor diet and sitting down all day. So when sizing up your health, consider how happy you are. Why?  "Being overweight reduces your life expectancy by three years, but being unhappy reduces it by nine years," Tara Diversi author. 

3. Some people magnify criticism and don't hear compliments. "A lot of women in our clinics say things out loud and in their heads that they would never say to their worst enemy," Diversi says. A powerful way to turn that habit around is to write a list of 10 nice things about yourself and say them out loud.
 
What We Wear Affects Our Performance
We do feel and act differently according to the way we dress and feel about ourselves.   This has been tested by several different experiments.
A study carried out by Barbara Fredrickson discovered that a woman’s ability depended on her clothing. A number of people taking a math’s test were divided into two groups.  50% were asked to wear a swimsuit and the others a sweater to take the test.
The women who were wearing the swimsuits performed to a lower standard yet the Men’s results were not affected. 
Scientists concluded that the women wearing the swimsuits were occupying their brains with feelings of anxiety about being judged by others and their image. This impacted their ability to think clearly and perform the math’s test.
Equally scientific research has shown that when 50% of students taking cognitive tests were asked to wear lab coats whilst 50% weren’t, those that did wear the coats performed better.
Finally and I love this one – have you ever heard of the Red Hat Society?   Started in 1997 by a woman called Sue Cooper.  Sue turned 50 and bought herself a red fedora on a whim!
Sue noticed that she felt much freer and ready to have fun when she wore her fedora.  She wanted to share this feeling with her friends and started to buy them a red fedora for their 50th birthday! 
The red hat society was borne and now has over 1M members! From her simple statement Sue empowered women and created a fabulous community that supports each other and has fun! Clothes really can affect the way you feel and act. 
 
How Others See Our Amazing Body
You have less than 7 seconds to make that vital first impression on someone when you  meet.  The majority of that first impression is formed from non-verbal communication:
If you are giving yourself a hard time and having negative thoughts about your body, what effect will this have on the way you appear to someone you’ve not met before?
You may think that it’s just a private conversation between you and your body, but think again.  
Contrast that with the person who walks in the room knowing that they look good and feel confident about their amazing body.
If we’re feeling more confident other people gravitate towards us and want to be part of our tribe. How often do you get a new client or make a sale if you’re having a bit of an off day versus when you’re on top of your game?
When you look at your body in the mirror do you automatically find yourself drawn to the ‘trouble spots’? If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Most of us really don’t believe others who say we look good. 
We allow negative thoughts about our appearances to dictate how we act. We choose to dress certain ways, behave certain ways, and pursue certain careers and relationships, all based on how we think we look.  
This behavior is so common we hardly even recognize how messed up it is. 
We need to learn to love our amazing body and celebrate the bits of them that we really love!
 
My Top Tips For Learning To Love Your Amazing Body
Body confidence isn’t something you magically acquire you have to work at it. It’s physical and emotional.  You need to feel it and experience it.
One of the easiest ways I’ve found is to keep a gratitude journal.  But this is a gratitude journal focuses on you and your body. The things you will be taking note of on a daily basis are:
1. What Was I Wearing – remember how your clothes made you feel.  Are there some pieces that are your ‘go to outfits’, in which you feel really confident?
2. Do some items in your wardrobe attract complements when you wear them?  They might not be clothes but could be accessories. Note these down too. 
3. Are there some colours that you wear that attract more complements or make you feel happier when you wear them?
Do this exercise for at least a couple of weeks.  See what patterns emerge. 
 
Colour is the most obvious thing that people notice. They won’t necessarily know you are wearing the right or wrong colours but they will notice:
1. When you wear the right colours you have a healthy glow and people are drawn to look directly into your eyes. 
2. If you wear the wrong colours you look tired and drawn. This may be when people start to ask if you’re feeling okay, up to which point you’d been feeling fine!
3. The wrong colours can overwhelm you.  People may be distracted by what you are wearing and subconsciously will focus on your clothes and not on you.

There’s a whole journey to discovering your style and understanding what image you want to share with the world.   
You need to be ready to take that trip and recognizing the relationship you have with your body is one of the first key steps to take. 

About Carol Hanson
 
My own passion for helping women to learn to love their amazing bodies is driven from my own battle with an eating disorder.    For over 20 years I suffered from anorexia.   
Thankfully now I’m fully recovered.  I have a healthy relationship with my body, food and exercise.   
It was only after I’d recovered that I realized just how prevalent negative body image was in our Society.    I could go on for hours about the steps we should take within the media, fashion industry and social media to change perceptions! 
But what could I do to help women?  I was determined to use my experience to help others discover that they really did have an amazing body. I trained as a personal stylist and now work with women on a 1:2:1 basis or on workshops and at retreats.  I blog regularly and talk at events. 
If you would like to find out more about how you can discover your sense of style head on over to Want Her Outfit for inspiration and advice.
You can also contact me via email Carol@wantherdress.com
Or find me on social media
FB https://www.facebook.com/wantheroutfit/
Twitter https://twitter.com/WantHerOutfit
Linked in https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolahanson/

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