Body image. A colossal topic with which the developed world is overly preoccupied and always has been. This holds true whether we consider the days when the Rubenesque figure was de rigueur or the modern day obsession with being a size zero.
It's a challenge staying sane when confronted by the media onslaught of photo shopped images of models and celebrities with the inherent implication that we should all be aiming for this unrealistic standard. Let's remind ourselves, many images are doctored so the standard is not in itself real.
What should our goal be then, do we think?
Personally, I believe each person is unique. No surprises there. Each individual should therefore identify their own body image and priorities and be comfortable in their own skin. My top recommendation, therefore, would be to listen to yourself not society. How do you want to look? How do you want to feel?
My own personal goals are to feel comfortable in my own skin and to be healthy; the latter being the most important.
I was asked recently if NLP could help with weight maintenance and as with all goals, of course it can.
Using the timeline to visualise your goal achievement
Visualisation is a great technique for getting your mind to believe that a challenge can absolutely be achieved. The use of the timeline helps to really embed not only the end goal image but practices the steps in getting there.
To begin, understand your goal. Within that goal, define 2 or 3 milestones/challenges required to get there. Once you have these in your mind, my own preference is to write them down to make them more solid and real.
In a relaxed and open state, imagine your future timeline is straight in front of you and walk yourself forward, into the future, until you are within the first milestone. I do this in my head but it can be powerful to physically take a step forward for each time period you're thinking about.
Feel, see and hear what it's like to have achieved that milestone. Understand the lessons learned and the challenges overcome to get there. Stay at this point until you feel really good about this milestone. Take your time, there are no prizes for rushing!
Now, walk yourself back to the present time and consider what you have learned. Repeat the above for the second milestone, ensuring you pass through the first and when ready, return to the present. This time you will have reinforced the lessons, feelings and images when the first milestone and added those from the second.
Repeat for the third milestone, once again taking the time to absorb the first and second. Finally, walk through the entire process and take yourself forward to the achievement of the final goal. Does it feel good? Keep going until you feel great! Remember those sights, sounds and feelings. Walk them back to the present with you and draw on all those images, thoughts and feelings whenever you feel you will benefit. I do this daily or weekly for several of the goals on which I'm currently working. It's invigorating and adds strength to your belief that you can do this!
Useful States and Beliefs
I believe that these two techniques are the most fundamental to our daily lives and every situation can be improved by their use.
Consider the most useful states required for this scenario. Personally, I would employ the following, amongst others: determined, healthy, controlled, active, fun, joyful.
Which useful states would you add?
As for beliefs, review yours and identify any which might be constraining your effectiveness to have the health and body image you desire. Those thoughts which pop into our head and seem trivial can be most damaging for our goal attainment.
Have you ever just thought “I can't exercise” or “I don't like exercise”. How about “I just can't seem to lose weight”?
I challenge myself and you to flip these beliefs into more helpful ones: Walking is easy, fun and healthy and I will walk 3 times a week for at least 20 minutes.
The trick is to ensure the new belief, in its infancy, is truly simple and believed by you. Once embedded as reality, this belief can be played with and stretched to help progress the milestones and end goal.
Which limiting belief about your health and body image would you change and how?
The Holistic Life Coach
Holistic & Natural Solutions for Health and Wellbeing