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No shame: Practice body acceptance for better health and habits!

Toni-Ann DiSantis

No shame: Practice body acceptance for better health and habits!

[Daily Dose] Do you plan to criticize your body until your belly shrinks, your thighs stop jiggling, or the scale shows that magic number? Time to bench your inner drill sergeant. Feeling shamed for being overweight can take a huge toll on health, according to new research. Among a group of adults with obesity, those who had strongly internalized cultural “body shaming” and prejudice about being overweight were three times more likely to have metabolic syndrome and six times more likely to have high triglycerides than those who had not internalized negative judgments. Both high triglycerides and metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms including abdominal obesity and high blood pressure, are risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. We know from previous research that shaming is the opposite of motivation: It makes people less likely to exercise and eat well. Talk about a vicious cycle! Break it by spend some time appreciating what your body can do — walk up stairs, breathe deeply, fight a bad cold, dance. Make a practice of noticing the thoughts that pass through your mind about your body and flagging the negative ones. And since physical activity can make you feel better about your body, make time most days of the week to take a walk, go for a bike ride, do some morning stretches, or go dancing with friends. Start small if you’ve been sedentary, but keep at it. And let the positive health spiral begin.