Do you really know what your body looks like

Sometimes my body image doesn’t match the image of my body I see in the mirror. It’s startling. I think I look one way, but the reflection of me I see in the mirror looks very different. It’s mostly a matter of age. I feel young and strong and forget that time and gravity have changed the appearance of my body as much as my face.

When I’m shopping, those well-lit dressing rooms and 3-view mirrors show a different body. It doesn’t look 30-years-old anymore. Heck, it doesn’t even look 45 or 50. That’s because it’s 63-years-old and had four babies (two were 9+ pounds). Time and babies make changes that only surgery could erase. I hate the idea of surgery a lot more than normal changes that come with getting older.

For 63, though, it looks pretty good and I have to say I’m particularly happy with my arms. Rowing my boat and swimming are things I enjoy, but it’s also resulted in firm upper arms with very little of that “old lady swing.”

Instead of looking for ways to negatively assess my body, I look for what is positive. My body reflects the good care I’ve given it, and I especially appreciate my strong arms.

I am positive that if I hadn’t been monitoring my food for the last 25 years my body image would suffer both in my mind in the mirror. I’m not sure where it would suffer the most, but I’d guess in my mind. Sometimes I feel fat, I feel much fatter than I actually am. Years later when I come across a photo of myself when I thought I was so fat, I see I wasn’t so fat after all. If only I could be “that fat” again.

I’m one of the people who when I feel fat, think I look and actually am, a lot fatter than I really am. When I feel fat, and my mental image of my body is 50 pounds heavier than it really is, I go into default fat behavior.

I eat more, pay less attention to my food choices, and become sedentary. I don’t like how I look and that turns into not liking my body, and that in turn causes me to give my body indifferent care. It’s common. Lots of people, women in particular, have poor body images and unhealthy habits because of it.

I pay attention to my thoughts and when they get negative about my body, I turn them around by reflecting on all that’s positive.

You may not know what your body looks like because you’re too busy looking at other bodies. Instead of seeing your own body and appreciating it, you’re looking at unreal bodies in media to compare how your own falls short. 

How to maintain your positive body image

See your body with a loving eye. It’s the only body you’ll ever have and without it you will have no place to live.

 

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.