Philly, bubble fixtures

The end of December is a great time to reflect on this year, and how we’d like the new year to look. That’s why I’m republishing the below post, which focuses on questions to consider about our body image. (I’ve updated it a bit, since it was first published in 2011.)

Maybe these questions will guide your intentions for 2013. Or spark a new perspective on your body image. Or provide a starting place to ponder your self-care practices.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year’s Eve! I’ll be celebrating with Brian, my mom and my family in Queens, NY. New Year’s is actually a big holiday for Russian people. We eat yummy Russian cuisine, dance like it’s our job and exchange gifts at midnight.

How is your body image? Have you checked in lately?

It’s important to regularly consider what really impacts how we feel about our bodies, and what contributes positively – and negatively – to our body image.

Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project features a variety of interviews on happiness on her blog. She asks the same six questions, which I think are very relevant to body image – if you replace “happiness” with “body image.”

These questions can help us assess our body image, past, present and future.

  1. What’s a simple activity that consistently contributes to your positive body image?
  2. What’s something you know now about body image that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?
  3. Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your body image?
  4. Is there a body image mantra or motto (or any kind really) that you’ve found very helpful? (Gretchen uses the motto “Be Gretchen.”)
  5. Have you always felt about the same level of body image, or have you been through a period when you felt exceptionally better about your body and yourself as a whole  – if so, why? If you were unhappy with your body or yourself, how did you become happier?
  6. Have you ever been surprised that something you expected would make you feel better about yourself, didn’t – or vice versa?

Here are my replies, which might spark some ideas for you.

  1. Getting connected to my body is a biggie for me. That means practicing Pilates or yoga. When I do either of these, I feel more in tune with my body. I can feel its power and beauty.
  2. That being thin isn’t magical and it’s more important – and satisfying – to turn my attention inward.
  3. For me, this doesn’t really apply to my body image but more my self-image. I find that I do a lot of comparing and become insecure in my abilities very easily.
  4. You are enough just as you are. Or everyone is unique, don’t try to emulate others.
  5. This is the healthiest my body image has ever, ever been. My positive body image was a combination of factors: letting go of the diet mentality and practicing intuitive eating, finding physical activities that nourish and challenge me and make me feel alive, and truly realizing that life doesn’t happen 10 pounds from now.
  6. Absolutely! I thought being thin would change my life. It didn’t. It just made me more obsessive about my weight. It created this tunnel vision, and I didn’t focus on exploring the important things in life – interests, values and friendships. I also didn’t realize just how liberating it is to be happy in your own skin.

You can check out Gretchen’s happiness interviews here.

How would you answer the above questions? Please share some of your answers in the comments!