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After the Oscars, how do you feel?

Academy award gold 'Oscar' statue.There’s no escaping it, the Oscars were on last night. 

Hollywood’s image obsession

Aside from Ellen’s selfies the focus was on the ballgowns being displayed. Each year the fuss about who’s wearing what seems more important than the films or awards.

We all know Hollywood is pointedly focused on looks, age and weight, but this year it’s worse than ever. With Matthew McConaughey losing three stone for his part in Dallas Buyers Club it seems no one’s body is off-limits for discussion now.

Blaming ourselves

It’s very easy to get swept up in the focus on appearance and hard not to compare yourself to the beautiful people on screen.

Putting pressure on yourself for not working-out enough or eating too much of whatever you think you shouldn’t can leave you feeling constantly guilty. But it’s not always as straight forward as lacking willpower or being too influenced by the media.

Not simple

Habits and emotions about body image and weight are a very personal issue and often more complex than simply eating too much of the ‘wrong’ food.

Most of us know what’s nutritious and we should be regularly exercising. Lack of knowledge isn’t the issue, rather it’s tapping into our behaviour.

Why we do things habitually or not can be down to a number of reasons including comfort, stress and guilt etc.

Changing behaviour

Often our habits are rooted in a cycle. We want to change them, but find we’re not doing great so slip back into old behaviour and thought patterns.

Rather than focusing on how we wished we looked, it can be more effective to work on gradually changing our behaviour.

A few tips on breaking the cycle:

  • Accept yourself – let go of what you want to change about your body, instead just try and be aware of how you are now, in this moment.
  • Self-talk – we all speak to ourselves, but can choose whether we say nasty or encouraging things. When you notice negative commentary just try and stop, but don’t judge or scold yourself, it was just a thought.
  • Enjoy yourselfexercise shouldn’t be a hardship, unless a challenge is what you like. Do fun things and don’t make a big deal out of it. Even a brisk walk on the spur of the moment can be good.
  • Eat with awareness – whatever it is you’re eating try to be mindful while you do it. Look at the food, smell it, feel it in your mouth and actually taste it. Try to enjoy it too!
  • Let go of guilt – this isn’t easy, but can make a difference. At its best guilt is useless and at its worst guilt is harmful. You can’t change what you ate yesterday, so try to let it go. This does get easier over time.

Improving your own body image has a lot to do with confidence and self-esteem. As much as changing habits can help, altering your attitude might enable you to enjoy being yourself.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good, or enjoying the red carpet ceremony for the Oscars either, as long as it doesn’t impact your own sense of worth.

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