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Lori Hanson: Five easy steps to build a better body image


Posted: March 4, 2010 10:39 p.m.
Updated: March 5, 2010 4:55 a.m.
What do you believe ... about yourself? Do you believe you're handsome, pretty? Or do you think your nose is too big, your skin is horrible and you're too fat, or skinny?

Your beliefs play a huge part in what happens in your life. What you believe about yourself is a self-fulfilling prophecy. As long as you believe it, it's not going to change.

Every time you look in the mirror with the belief that you aren't pretty or good-looking, you'll continue to see something you don't like.

If you open your mind, change your perspective and accept your individuality you'll begin to see a person you like smiling back at you. Henry Ford defined this succinctly when he said, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right."

In order to be happy in life it's important to be confident and comfortable with yourself.

So what do you do if you have self-limiting beliefs? Here are five easy steps to help you build a better body image:
Step 1: Identify one thing about your body that you like.

You can always find at least one thing! Is it your eyes? Do you have really cool hair? Are you strong and a great competitor? Do you have an incredible smile that lights up the room? Are you petite (remember good things come in small packages)?

Find one thing, acknowledge and appreciate this as your best quality. You can appreciate things about your body without being arrogant or annoying.

Step 2: Identify one thing about your body that you would like to improve.

If there is something you don't like about your body and you can change - do it!
Would you like to be healthier and get in better shape so you can enjoy more activities? Hate being a redhead or having curly hair?

Change it!
If this is really important to you, will find the determination to set goals and achieve them. If you need help to set or reach your goals ask for it. Find a mentor or coach who has already accomplished what you want to do.

Nothing will change unless you take action. Focus your attention on how you want to look, not on how much you hate the way your nose, butt or hair look.

Step 3: Appreciate your individuality.

Just like dogs come in many sizes and builds, humans come in many shapes and sizes too.

We are all unique, but unfortunately the pressure to look "perfect" comes from many angles. You don't see dogs greeting each other and appearing self-conscious about their looks! We can learn a lot from animals because they are always ready to adapt.
Spending hours, days and weeks wishing you were taller, smaller or have different color eyes isn't going to change them. We each came in our own special wrapper that is our body.

What is your strongest asset physically? Identify and appreciate what your body does for you on a daily basis. Just think how boring it would be if we all looked like Barbie and Ken. It's important to ignore the pressure of the media and society and appreciate the package you came in.

After all, it's what's inside and who you are that really counts.

Step 4: Don't be traumatized by what you can't change.

Learn to appreciate your perceived "flaws." If you can laugh about things you may not like about yourself it will eliminate the trauma we sometimes attach to them.

As a kid I was told I had a pug/ski jump nose. I just adopted the ski jump title. It always makes people laugh and usually they respond with, "Aw it's not that bad."

Soon it wasn't an issue any more.

Step 5: Appreciation, not envy.

If there is someone you admire because of how they look? Don't waste your energy on jealousy or making fun of them to make yourself feel better. It will only pull you down.

Instead, share compliments generously. If a frien
d has gorgeous hair, tell her. If a guy you know has a great set of guns or a nice six pack, commend him on his hard work to develop it.

Find three opportunities every day to share a genuine compliment with someone else and make them smile. By sharing genuine compliments with others you'll make them feel good and that feel good energy will be returned to you threefold.

Soon you'll be feeling great about the package you're in.

Lori Hanson is an eating disorder coach, speaker and award-winning author of "It Started With Pop-Tarts...An Alternative Approach to Winning the Battle of Bulimia." Visit to learn more.


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