Body dysmorphia is an issue in our society that both genders face. It is defined as “a mental disorder in which you cannot stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance – a flaw that, to others, is either minor or not observable.”
People who suffer from body dysmorphia can feel so ashamed, battle anxiety and depression that they will even avoid social settings. One’s appearance is such a small part of oneself. To allow our view to be clouded over based on perceived appearance we cannot see our beauty and allow oneself to grow to full potential, to cultivate our spirit and share our unique gifts with the world.
Social media allows us to communicate in ways that were never possible before, connecting with others and sharing our lives with the world. On social media platforms, we see a lot of posts about appearances; people taking selfies, some constantly looking for feedback on how they look.
There is nothing wrong with this, in my opinion, as long as one does not allow it to control or obscure their own belief in themselves. When we fixate on our appearance we can have a tendency to feed our spirit in an unhealthy way, manifesting in negative thinking patterns, self deprecation and body dysmorphia.
Strength does not have a one size fits all mentality. It comes in various shapes, colours and sometimes with sacrifice. It means having the guts to try new things and the ability to step into the light of who you truly are.
My attitude towards health and fitness has changed over the years just like my body has with age. I have come to realize that strength is the courage to be happy with who you are and learn what you are capable of.
For me, I love lifting weights and practicing yoga. Both have brought me not just physical strength but mental and emotional strength as well. When I coach others, I try to get them to focus their attention on what they can do and what they have accomplished instead of their appearance or a number on the scale.
If you have the mindset that you want to feel and be strong then you start to feed your body healthy – not only with healthier food choices because you want to live without sickness and not just because you want the number on the scale to change, but also with healthier thoughts of yourself.
Feeling strong within yourself is a powerful feeling and focusing your mind on being stronger is a sure way to happiness and overall wellness both mentally and physically.
(Chemainus resident Nicole Cournoyer is a BCRPA certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and RYT 200 Level Yoga Teacher).