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I am Louise O'Driscoll, founder of Natural Balance. I am a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, helping people find their way to a healthy and happy relationship with food and body.

Change One Thing - How You look at Yourself

By louiseodriscoll, Dec 9 2014 04:51PM

This week's change is to do with how we look at bodies. It was prompted by the publication of a series of un-photoshopped pictures of Lara Stone, a year after giving birth to her child.

The coverage of this intrigued me, she has been called 'brave' and even 'heroic' for releasing the photos and is quoted talking about how she has dealt with her concerns about 'arm flab'. Well, I don't know about you, but I see no arm flab on those pictures! Sure she doesn't look quite like she does on those Calvin Klein ads, but she probably never did, thanks to photoshop! But, whether pre or post baby, she has a beautiful body (and a badly fitting bra but we'll brush over that).

What fascinated me was my own approach to the pictures. Because of the 'brave', 'post-baby', 'un photoshopped' build up, when I clicked on the link I was actively looking for 'imperfections', for fat, cellulite, wrinkles or stretch marks. This is not the way I am accustomed to observing images of faces and bodies that are sold to us as beautiful, whereby I note the flat tummies, pert bottoms and taut thighs and compare them oh so favourably to my own body. And I felt slightly guilty, like I was being mean. It also dawned on me that the way I was looking at Lara was much more akin to how I instinctively look at myself in the mirror. I know too, that I am not the only woman to always home in on the reflection of the bits of my body I hate the other words, to be mean to myself. It reminded me of a quote - 'if we talked to our friends the way we talk to our bodies, we'd have no friends left'!

I have done lots of work in trying to change this and this week it is my suggestion for you. Instead of looking for the flaws in the mirror, look for the beautiful; instead of being mean, be kind. Soft skin, gorgeous eyes, great boobs (yes, that'll be you Lara), perfect toes, a curvy waist, shiny hair....find your best assets rather than cursing the parts you don't believe measure up. This is a habit that can feel uncomfortable at first, because to find the things we like we first have to look - really look - at our bodies in a way we typically avoid if we have a less than great body image. Sometimes you have to start with a neutral observation, because a positive one can feel so unnatural. So if necessary, start with that, just facts, but definitely no criticisms. Then find things to like gradually, the more you just observe, the less imperfect they will seem. It can be a transformative process when it comes to body image and self esteem and confidence.

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