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Tips for breaking bad habits

Body image

Many of the women I worked with in therapy had negative feelings about their body image. One client thought her ears were ugly and had them pulled closer to her head. She was surprised that she didn’t feel any different after the plastic surgery. Change comes from inside us, not the outside.

Over the years I worked with women to help them know they were so much more than just their physical body.

Sandy had a kind, gentle personality. She was a good mother, gave service in her community, and loved her neighbors. However, Sandy thought she was ugly and fat. It didn’t matter how much others praised her. The words they said were like water running off a duck’s back.

No one in Sandy’s family of origin had a good body image. Her mother weighed over 300 pounds. Her father beat her. Her brothers teased Sandy and were critical of her. Sandy released many of her feelings through her journal and in therapy, but she still couldn’t change her thinking about her looks.

The only way Sandy was able to motivate herself to change was to see that her thoughts and actions were teaching her daughter negative feelings about body image. She wanted her daughter to feel good about herself, so she began carrying out some positive assignments she set up for herself.

“It’s pretty hard to start a child out in the way he should go if that isn’t the way you are going.”


Sandy could hardly stand to touch her body, let alone put lotion on herself. So her first assignment was to nurture herself by rubbing her hands and her feet with cream once a day. Her body image was so negative that it took several weeks for her to accomplish this task.

Each week she included another part of her body. It was a slow process of change for Sandy, but she was happy with her progress. Soon she felt able to get a manicure and a pedicure.

It is difficult to alter life-long habits of thinking and behaving. Sandy created mantras she said daily and soon she began to believe the things she told herself.

How did Mandy initially motivate herself to make changes?

1.      She released many of her childhood feelings through journaling.

2.      She created mantras that she repeated daily.

3.      She started with small steps that she could accomplish.

4.      As she changed her thinking, her feelings and actions changed.

5.      She began to mentor herself more, letting feelings of love and beauty into her life.

Let go of your negative body image. Become the best you can be. Find answers to this and other question with this step-by-step guide: Becoming Free, A Woman’s Guide to Internal Strength.


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Christy Monson established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her books, Love, Hugs, and Hope: When Scary Things Happen, and Becoming Free: A Woman’s Guide To Internal Strength are publ… Read More


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