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How to Start a Weight-Loss Program

How to Assess Your Body Image

Close your eyes and picture yourself as you look today -- from head to toe. Pay particular attention to the size and shape of your body. That picture, what we sometimes refer to as our "body image," has a powerful influence over our weight-control efforts.

With the mental image of your body firmly in place, answer the questions that follow:

  • If your best friend were to be totally honest with you, would they concur with the image you've made?

  • What body image would you most like to look like?

  • What would your body weight be if you looked like the image you'd prefer?

  • Have you ever been at this weight before?
Sometimes, you may perceive your body as appearing much heavier than others perceive it. Many women experience this phenomenon. If so, it's possible that you may continue to see yourself as heavy even after losing weight. You may also have difficulty noticing changes and giving yourself credit for the progress you've made.

On the other hand, you may still hold your high-school yearbook picture in your mind as your current body shape. If a realistic assessment moves you several silhouettes larger, you may not realize how much excess weight you have to lose. Procrastination may delay you from beginning your weight-loss efforts.

It's very important to begin any weight-loss process with a realistic body image. To promote change, you must clearly visualize yourself becoming more and more like your ideal image. Get in touch with your body as you embark on your weight-loss journey with these few simple tips for helping you make the mind-body connection:

Mirrors: Spend time looking in full-length or three-way mirrors, preferably without clothes on. Be fully aware of how your body currently looks, and congratulate yourself on all progress as it occurs.

Clothing: Alter large or loose-fitting clothes to stay connected to your body. Try clothes that are more form-fitting to help you adjust to your changing image. Don't save your "fat clothes" -- it's like making a commitment to fail. Save one item of larger clothing to remind you of your progress.

Photographs: Take several photographs of yourself every four to eight weeks. Create a photo journal of your progress toward your weight-loss goals.

Assessing your body image is only part of the problem. Next you have to decide if you are happy with your current weight or if you would like to lose a few pounds. We'll help you make this decision in the next section.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.