Body Image

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Body Image and Baby-Boomers

One’s body image and their feelings about their bodies are not done in isolation. For the most part how Baby-Boomers feel about ourselves is based on our experiences in the world. We receive messages about how we should look, feel and act, what we should eat, – or not – and what we should wear, who we should marry, from family, friends, society and the media.

Body image is what we ‘think’ about ourselves – generally in comparison to others.

Thriving-Baby-Boomers - Body Image - Kitten looking in mirror and seeing a lion as its reflection - What Matters Most is How You See Yourself

What Matters Most is How You See Yourself

I have been struggling with a weight problem since I was a child. I believe there was one ‘triggering’ incident that started me on a downward spiral of emotional eating, with several more traumatic incidences to follow over the next twenty years. This emotional eating, of course, led to obesity that I’m still trying to overcome today.

I’ve been on and off of diets since I was about eight or nine years old with very limited success, yet the message from society and the media is that this diet holds the key. Other messages I’ve heard, read and absorbed have been that, ‘you aren’t lovable or attractive if you’re overweight,’ and ‘if you’re overweight you’re not intellectually smart enough to get a better education or better job.’

I’ve had a lot of self-loathing about my size and figure. From some of my earliest traumatic experiences of being fondled by male baby sitters between the ages of five and nine, I have blamed my body for ‘betraying’ me. As if my child-like mind and body could have protected me from these abusers.

Do Baby Boomers’ feelings about their body change/improve as they age and become and senior citizens?

I know several women in their seventies, and most of them have something that they’re not happy with: one of my friends works out in order to minimize ‘bat wings,’ as she calls them; several of them still work out at the gym or are active by doing lots of walking. A few of them fear the loss of ability, or mobility and their independence; they are finding it takes them longer to do things than before.

At the same time, these women are all very positive and have a belief in something greater than themselves – some kind of Source or Power that is far more meaningful than how their body looks and functions.

Thriving-Baby-Boomers - Body Image - Charlie Chaplain quote - As I Began to Love Myself

Charlie Chaplain quote – As I Began to Love Myself…

The best way to overcome or accept one’s body image is to turn off the TV and all the propaganda about how one ‘should’ look and feel if only they used whatever advertiser’s products are being pitched to them.

It’s time to recognize that we are Spiritual Beings having a human experience and not the other way around. Yes, we need our bodies that house our Spirit and we should treat it with love and respect, and provide it with healthful nourishment, movement, sunshine and adequate rest.

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