How the Fall helps Fight Negative Body Image
When the weather gets cold I tend to want to eat warm, salty foods and on some especially cold and sunless days it makes it REALLY difficult for me to get the motivation to go to the gym or even do some yoga. I tend to get seasonal depression and begin to feel less comfortable in my body. Suddenly Netflix and internet binges followed by warm coffees and a box of oatmeal raisin cookies feels like the only thing I want to do.
While it is certainly normal and important to have a mellow, quiet afternoon from time to time, I notice that if I dwell too long this type of behavior can get me into a rut and leave me feeling in low spirits. I tend to feel uncomfortable and bad about my body and can start up with the negative chatter. Before I know it I feel guilty about my food choices and lack of exercising.
Here comes the Body Bashing.
Recently, I came across an article in Women’s Health which encourages us when we are feeling blah about our bodies and the cold weather begins to cultivate general apathy about our body image to go outside and experience nature. And while this may be the last thing we want to do, research has shown that spending time in natural environments can help increase a positive body image.
While seasonal affective disorder is estimated to affect 10 million Americans, the fall can actually help combat this body battle. You just gotta get out there. Being outside takes you away “appearance-focused” influences. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram oogling photoshoped models or glued to the internet with a thousand advertisements of the latest fat blasting cardio workout, you can gain perspective about your body and all of the amazing and wonderful things it can do rather than what it looks like.
Having this intrinsic motivation, deep internal appreciation–is much richer and much cheaper than therapy or medication and will help you to respect your body. Often times when we compare our weight with others we lose sight of our original goal: improved health and well-being.
I’ve found that this is the perfect time of year to start running again. The weather isn’t too hot or too cold. Even better, look into joining a running group or meet up. Running is always better while a friend to keep you company! Nothing makes me feel more accomplished and in awe of my body like a good run.
Women are four times more likely to suffer from depression this time of year than our counter parts. If you are like me and know that this time of the year can get you to your sanity…. Get outside. Don’t let the colder weather get you down. Move your body and appreciate the beauty of fall.