By Linda Folken, RDN, CDN, CSOWM, CHC-ACE
In the constantly changing world we live in we are being bombarded with all kinds of stimuli – e-mails, social media and texts to name a few. It’s so easy to get caught up in chasing tomorrow or worrying about yesterday. The result of some of these new societal pressures is that they have caused us to tune ourselves out to our bodies, thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness practices are a way to get back to your inner self. A positive body image is an understanding that there is a sense of self-worth that does not depend on your appearance. Developing a mindful practice and positive body image has been shown to help increase motivation and weight loss results.
Mindfulness is being fully aware of what is happening in the present moment both inside and around us. Mindfulness also involves acceptance of our thoughts and feelings without judgement. Practicing mindfulness involves returning to this awareness again and again when our attention drifts or gets caught up in conditioned mental habits and behaviors. Recent research has started to look at the benefits of mediation and mindfulness practices as techniques to help free your mind of intrusive thoughts, increase calmness and improve your willpower. These are all things that have been associated with improving weight loss results.
Body image is how you value your physical appearance. This includes how we talk and think about ourselves and about our bodies. It’s also how we believe others view us and our level of connectedness to our bodies. Having a positive body image is important to stay healthy and motivated. If you are harboring a negative or low opinion of yourself, it’s more difficult to make your weight loss goals a success. One body image scenario that has recently attracted some attention is the use of small cellular devices and body posture and the effect it has had on body image and self-confidence. Sitting hunched over and reading something on your cellphone (also called the “ihunch”) has been associated with low power poses that have been shown to decrease self-confidence and self-esteem. We tend to take better care of ourselves when we feel better about ourselves.
Being in the present moment is a powerful and simple way of helping with body image and weight loss success. What are some of the things you can do to get started? While meditation, yoga and deep breathing are the most popular ways and very effective, taking small steps in power posing for the present may be a quick easy way to get started.
Here are a few tips for posing for the present:
- Pick a high-power pose to do for two minutes after sitting and looking at your cellphone. For example: Wonder Woman pose or Victory pose.
- Stand up tall with your chin up and chest out and then breath in through your nose and out thought your mouth a few times once or twice during the day.
- Sitting up straight in your chair and hold your cellphone up by resting your elbow on the armrest of the chair while you read or take a call.
Whether you are looking for weight loss or overall improvement in self- confidence and self-esteem, small changes in your posture may prove to be helpful.
Casselberry Cuddy, A. J. (2015). Presence: Bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
Linda Folken, RDN, CDN, CSOWM, CHC-ACE has practiced in the health care field as a registered dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN) for more than 30 years. She specializes in bariatric and medical weight management