Today at the gym there was someone new. Since I work out at 5 a.m. and see the same people every day, it is easy to spot a new person. This girl definitely stood out because she was ripped. Her muscle definition was awesome. Boy, I wish I looked like that.
We’ve all done it: checked out the girl next to us on the treadmill, at the grocery store, at the park, and compared our bodies to theirs. (I wish I had those arms, or why doesn’t my butt look like that?) It is human nature to compare and even obsess a little.
As I continued to check this new girl out, I started to notice that her body type was completely different from mine. Even though she had an amazing body that I wish I had, my body could never look like that – ever. Not because of lack of trying, but because of genetics.
I started to appreciate my own physique as well as hers, and my feelings of inadequacy went away.
It is really important to recognize your own ‘genetic deck of cards’. Once you realize what you can and can’t change about your body, it will become easier embrace your physical potential.
First, know your body type.
You’ve probably heard this before: There are three body types:
Ectomorphs are thin.
Mesomorphs are more muscular.
Endomorphs tend to have more body fat.
Most people straddle two categories, such as a meso-endomorph, or meso-ectomorph.
Another factor that affects your figure is bone size. Get a quick general assessment of your bone structure by wrapping your hand around your wrist.
If your fingers don’t touch, you’re probably big-boned.
If they just touch, you’re medium-boned.
If they overlap, you’re likely small-boned.
Obviously, you can’t change the size of the bones you were born with, but you can let your bone size be a guide to your body weight. In general, if you’re smaller-boned, you should be at the lighter end of the weight range for your height; bigger-boned people may fall at the top weight range for their height… and this is okay.
BEWARE: Do not use bone structure as an excuse to be heavier than you should be.
Now that you know what you’re dealing with physiologically, here two ways to boost your mental body image:
1. Pick appropriate body role models. If a woman were big-boned, she’d be setting herself up for disappointment by aspiring to look like Kelly Ripa. Instead, she might want to aim for a body more like Tyra Banks, whose body type may be more similar to hers.
2. Determine your body image by the positive body behaviors you engage in each day. Recognize the things you do to take care of yourself and that make you feel good about yourself. That might be eating a healthy lunch instead of opting for junk food, exercising instead of watching TV, moisturizing your skin faithfully, taking some time for yourself, reading great articles on ModernMom, anything that makes you feel good about yourself.
Know your body. Know your mind. Know your potential.