In the previous article, we explored the weight loss mindset and questioning the basis of your beliefs, here we will dive deeper into the internal dialogue, or self talk for weight loss, and where that may be coming from.
All cultures hold their idea of ‘the body beautiful’ in high esteem with the various forms that it comes in based on the locally held perceptions of beauty.
Given that our audience here is mainly female, this is where are going to focus, so for the gentlemen out there who may be reading this, we do love you too, so please don’t feel left out. Take from this what value you can and put it into action in your lives also, after all the use of effective self talk for weight loss is not gender specific.
As the products of thousands of years of conditioning, on the part of men mostly, women have seen that they need to be beautiful in order to be chosen for procreation. However beauty was beheld in the time and place, it was those women who were fit, young and beautiful who were chosen by the men in their society as mates.
Experts deduce that this was done for the sake of the species and the gene pool, and as much as this may be a generous and only partial explanation, it is fundamentally correct. The survival of the fittest attitude is not, it hardly needs saying, the sole preserve of human beings, although the roles in the animal kingdom are quite often reversed. The peacock’s beautiful plumage attracts the small, brown, undistinguished peahen. Stags use their magnificent antlers to fight for the favor of the females.
So we cannot blame men alone for the idealization of the female body, and neither should we. Women have equally high expectations of themselves. For women, the body is the clearest expression of self – admittedly we don’t currently have the time or the scope to dig deeper into that, but we will look at it in more detail as this series progresses.
So our society, which can be often harsh and unfair, has established its ideal and exhorts individuals both explicitly and implicitly to emulate it. This is the case all too often as you look around at the advertisements you see, and the very familiar debate about body image and what the glossy magazines portray as the (all too often unattainable) standard that women must aspire to. With all of that noise pollution, it’s no surprise to find that the self talk for weight loss with many women is extremely unhealthy.
Self Talk for Weight Loss Feeding into Self Image and Culture
The instincts surrounding self image and culture run deep and unite humanity, although naturally different cultures have their own standards, or templates. Take for example the Romans, who equates heavier, overweight bodies with wealth. In this society, if you were skinny it was not because you counted calories, or were mindful of your health, but most likely because you were poor, or of a lower class. So in Roman times, a fuller figure was more desirable.
We all know what is meant when a woman’s figure is described as Rubenesque, and it is clear that the voluptuous women that Rubens painted reflected the taste of his period. In Georgian England, the ample bosom was in fashion. The Victorian age demanded tiny waists, and women would go to extraordinary lengths to achieve them, which even included having ribs removed!
However, there are other models also. Some African and Arabic cultures and a number of the Polynesian Islands have always preferred larger women. Today, in African countries, products such as ‘Wate On’ (a weight gaining supplement) can be bought. Could you imagine some of the Western supermodels in one of these countries? They would be laughed at!
In the West, being thin is seen as better. But, West is not necessarily best. It is worth noting another prejudice here, where in western society today, weight problems are more often likely to be attributed to a lack of money, where a poor diet is more financially expedient.
As you contemplate the society you have grown up in, you may begin to question the ideals and standards that have been pressed upon you. You may be wondering if we should perhaps be contemplating a new standard for individuals to achieve; a healthy, trim body shape that is achievable for all. This is possible, and as you may have already guessed, as we continue on in this series, your self talk for weight loss is going to play a very important part.