"My mission is to empower people of all ages, races, and body sizes to embrace the body they have been given and learn to love themselves so they can live their dreams."
-Sarah Maria

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"Working with Sarah Maria has helped me to see that I am inherently loveable, beautiful, and valuable, no matter what. She has given me tools and techniques to break free from self-hatred and put love in its place. I am incredibly grateful for her and her incredible program. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to love her body and lover her life."

-Gabrielle Forleo, age twenty-six

Program Consultant,

Chopra Center for Wellbeing

 

"Sarah Maria's teachings are an amazing gift. It's an outstanding program that has changed my life! I highly recommend Sarah Maria's program to anyone who wants to experience living their most successful, beautiful life."

-Mary Schmidt, age forty-five

 

"Sarah Maria has shared many tools with me. But much more important to me, and what has been most meaningful, has been her quality of compassion. It is a gift and is like a gentle, deep awakening. Sarah Maria is a remarkable individual who works with the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual person. I cannot thank her in a way that seems adequate"

-Leigh Ann Jones, age fifty-four

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Body Image & You

Body Image in Men

In today's media-saturated society, it is common knowledge that most women suffer from negative body image. Less well-known are the issues facing men. While women generally seek to decrease their body weight to unrealistic levels, men usually want to bulk up to create a muscular appearance. Both the men and women discover that these unrealistic body types are all but impossible to attain.

Fueled by images of rippling muscles and six-pack abs, some men become obsessed with obtaining this unrealistic standard. The obsession with dieting and working out can be dangerous, creating a new disorder called muscle dysmorphia or bigorexia. Just as anorexia distorts the mind to make a woman feel as if she is fat when she is actually critically underweight, muscle dysmorphia distorts a man's mind into believing he's frail and inadequate, with small, underdeveloped muscles.

Since most eating disorders - anorexia, bulimia and binge eating - are considered women's issues, there is a level of shame that compounds the issue. Men believe they should be invincible, in control and able to obtain perfection, if only they worked harder. These beliefs lead to dissatisfaction. Even if isn't taken to the extreme with an eating disorder, men can still suffer from low self esteem and negative body image. On the other end of the spectrum are men who are dissatisfied with their bodies because of obesity and weight issues. With all of these issues affecting men today, what can be done to improve your body image?

  • Reprogram Your Inner Dialogue- When your daily diet of media presents unrealistic and airbrushed false images of the "perfect" body, it is a struggle to remain grounded and realistic. Rather than beat yourself up over the failure of reaching these unobtainable goals, shift your focus towards your inner dialogue. Do an internal inventory to determine what you like about yourself: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Use positive self-talk to reprogram the way you feel about yourself and your body.
  • Ditch the Scale- You are not your weight. Judge yourself and others by other standards other than weight. Remember that ideal body weights are standardized. Each person is unique with their own background, genes, age, muscle and bone structures. Instead of being a slave to the scale, strive to eat healthy, exercise regularly, drink water and get plenty of sleep.
  • Take Your Time- When is the last time you enjoyed life? Enjoying life is a decision. Decide to live in the moment and enjoy the people and things around you, instead of fixating on your unhappiness with your body. Be mindful of your food and the pleasure it brings. Feel the full impact of a vigorous work out. Learn to meditate and just be still. Take time to unwind and do those things that you truly enjoy, whether it's taking a hike, joining a sports team or treating yourself to a massage.
  • Buddy Up- Don't go it alone. Find a work out buddy or accountability partner who can keep you on task. Just knowing you're not alone in your concerns can be a significant help.

It is also wise to seek a physician's assistance before starting any sort of exercise or weight-loss program. Your physician can help tailor a program to meet your needs, while keeping the goals realistic.

When contemplating body image, remember that the key word is "image." What you look like on the outside is only part of the story. The whole package includes your thoughts, feelings and actions?all of which you can control. A positive mind set is the first step towards developing a positive body image.

References:

WebMD, Men have body image problems too
http://men.webmd.com/news/20021001/men-have-body-image-problems-too

WebMD, Depression Health Center, Buff Male Models May Hurt Men's Self-Esteem
http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20040507/male-self-esteem

Menstuff.org, The National Men's Resource
http://www.menstuff.org/issues/byissue/eatingdisorders.html#media

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