Rethinking our image

The new year has begun, which often is accompanied with the advertising for the ‘new you’. It seems the old you is so last year, it’s time to change everything about yourself.
It’s odd to me that the new year apparently means feeling bad about who you are. Instead of focusing on the successes of the year before we are pushed to look at our present failings, usually in regards to our looks. What if 2014 had nothing to do with changing our appearance? Wouldn’t it be great to look in the mirror and accept what you see?
There are steps you can take to feel happy in yourself without having to spend a fortune in gym fees.
The way we feel about our body, our body image, is very important. How attractive we feel often ties into the respect we have for ourselves, our self-esteem. When you have a low opinion of your body image your self-esteem will follow. Therefore, the better our body image the better our self-esteem. This is why genuinely confident people come in all shapes and sizes. At their core they believe in their worth and know that it has nothing to do with a clothing size.
Both body image and self-esteem have to do with the way you think and feel about yourself. How do you feel when you look at your reflection? The majority of us, when looking in the mirror, will pick something that we feel needs to be changed even if it can’t be. It is often rare for people to look in the mirror and think something positive. If you have spent many years thinking negative things to and about yourself, you need to retrain your brain. What if starting today you no longer allowed yourself to say negative things to that reflection of yours? I doubt you let anyone else in your life talk to you like that. 
Since weight and clothing size often gets wrapped up in our body image what, how and why we eat can often challenge us. Many of us view food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and often punish ourselves when we have the latter. Simple shifts in perspective can effect our self image. If we change those categories then you may bully yourself less. Rather than judging whether food is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ it can be helpful to think in terms of healthy foods and less healthy foods. An apple is healthy, chips are less healthy. The more you choose from the healthy column the better. If you choose not healthy, it is not bad and does not make you bad. Perhaps chips are not the most balanced of meals, but the goal of aiming  towards eating healthier while trying to reduce the amount of self-criticism you generate can be much better than the goal of a perfect diet.
When it comes to how we eat the problem is often with pacing, many of us eat far too quickly. The slower we eat the better we can monitor when we’re full. It can take up to twenty minutes for your brain to catch up so feel full. If you are thinking about that second round of food, give it some time. 
The key is paying attention and listening to your body. In most cases it can tell you when you’re full. Ways of pay attention to eating habits that nutritionists recommend is putting the utensils down between bites to prevent eating too quickly. And not having meals in front of the television or computer so the concentrating is on what and how you eat.
The bottom line is that we need to remember is that perfection, the ideal we are sold and coerced into chasing, it is not reality. No one is perfect. All you have to ever be is enough. Start telling yourself that everything about you is enough. You are a good enough Mother, Father, Sister, Brother and friend. No amount of muscle tone will change that. When you are giving time to friends, family and co-workers value that in yourself. These are things that you are choosing to do because you are a good person. You are enough and more so, no scale can tell you otherwise.
About the author: 
Angela Amirault is a counsellor/psychotherapist working in Dublin city center. If you would like more information feel free to contact her through her website. If you enjoyed the article and would like to read more of the same, check out her blog.