Psychologists use the term ‘body image’ to describe our internalized feelings about how we look. It can be thought of as a mental representation or map of our body, by which we judge our outward appearance. For most of us, there’s a somewhat good match between how we think we are (subjective appearance) and how we appear to others (objective appearance). Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a Manhattan neuropsychologist. He says that, “To some extent our body image is idealized (based on how we want to look). It is also based on a mirror image of our actual appearance. Other people see animated or moving images, while we see our own images, especially through photographs or mirrors where our expressions are still. Body image also changes with age.” As a lady, Dr. Hafeez understands the hazards women face in our Instagram, Facebook and Photoshop society.
Here are some tips from Dr. Hafeez on how to love yourself more
Forget the diet hype.
People who are continually dieting have a higher risk of eating disorders, are more likely to overeat and cause a domino effect of physical and mental health problems which include depression, irritability, anxiety, digestive problems, and metabolic syndrome. Looking and feeling good is common sense. Eating right, exercising regularly and sleeping are the keys to your successful weight control!
Put body image in perspective.
Instead of spending so much time obsessing over your outer self – consider focusing your attention on your education, hobbies and socializing with your friends. Keeping your mind engaged will help you pay attention to other people with similar interests. Working to get fit and healthy is an admirable goal but it should not cost you your life.
Get to know your body and accept it.
Perhaps you inherited your mother’s larger hips or your father’s broad shoulders and height. Our genetics is a weird cocktail that’s unique to each person and learning to love your body is the first step to dealing with your size and shape. Having a size and weight goal equal to someone six inches shorter or taller than you is unrealistic and setting yourself up for failure. You may be the same height as a friend who is a perfect size six but may have a much larger build. Don’t diet to fit other people’s expectations. It is YOUR body, YOUR health and you’re the only one who has the right to determine what is “right” for you.
Celebrities aren’t “ordinary” people!
Remember that almost all celebrities are paid based on how they appear on camera. They have a complete team ensuring they eat right, exercise and take care of their skin and hair. When they get pregnant or are going through a rough time, they’ve a team to help them lose weight quickly and get back to “camera weight” without the distractions that the average person has. Many celebrities discuss years of suffering with eating disorders, emotional problems, and drug addictions to maintain their public image.
Focus on what you can change.
Instead of spending your energy wishing you were taller, shift your focus to something you can change, like improving your fitness with a yoga or pilates class, or honing one of your talents. Then celebrate with a new handbag.
Surround yourself with beauty.
Creating a fantastic environment in your home or work space will provide the greater sensual experience we all crave. Keep fresh flowers on your desk or table, add some silk pillows to your sofa, put on your favourite music while cooking dinner, and drink sparkling water from a nice wine glass!!
Ask for help if you need it.
Surround yourself with positive people who lift you up – who contribute to your happiness – and seek them out when you falter in your goals. Do you need help sticking to a healthy eating plan, a friend to exercise, a personal trainer to show you how to do the right exercises for you or someone to discuss emotional issues – ask.
About the Author:
Sanam Hafeez is a Neuropsychologist and School Psychologist based in New York City. He is also the founder and director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, PC He is currently on the faculty at Columbia University. Click Here to see Dr. Hafeez at Dr. Oz.
Dr. Hafeez graduated from Queens College, CUNY with a BA in psychology. He then went on to earn a Master of Science in Psychology at Hofstra University. After that he stayed at Hofstra to receive his Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. He then completed his post-doctoral training in Developmental Neuropsychology and Pediatrics at Coney Island Hospital. Dr. Hafeez provides educational evaluation and neuropsychological development in his practice. She has also worked with kids and adults suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, autism, attention and memory problems, trauma and brain injury, abuse, childhood development and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc. …) In addition, Dr. Hafeez serves as a medical professional and expert witness by providing full evaluations and testimony to law firms and courts.