Have you looked in the mirror at least once today, and told yourself “I hate my body”?
97% of women stand with you.
Are you frequently highly dissatisfied with one of more aspects of your appearance?
44% of women stand with you.
Have you ever avoided or felt uncomfortable having intimate relationships because of the you feel about your body?
88% of women stand with you.
Do you find yourself frequently relying on the feedback of others to let you know if you look okay before heading out for the day/night?
50% of women stand with you.
Do you very often let your body image stop you from participating in activities?
28% of women stand with you.
Do you very frequently use words such as ugly, defective or unattractive to describe the way you look?
38% of women stand with you.
In 2014, when I surveyed over 1,500 women aged 18-44, I was truly shocked at just how many of those women let low self-esteem completely dictate their entire lives.
In the research community, there’s a little concept known as “normative discontent” – this refers to the idea that some dissatisfaction with your body is entirely common. But when we’re talking about figures as large as NINETY FUCKING SEVEN PERCENT of women admitting to hating their body at least once every single day… that’s a whole new kettle of fish.
And that’s just the women who admitted to at least one “I hate my body!” moment every day.
Seeing these numbers only intensified my desire to change the way that women feel about themselves, because if there’s one thing in common that all women have, it’s this:
100% of women deserve to feel confident, comfortable and wonderful in their own skin. 100% of women deserve to be empowered to make positive lifestyle choices for themselves out of self-love, not guilt. 100% of women deserve not to be held down by the crushing burden of negative body image.
Determined to help women improve their self-esteem, I gave the women surveyed a challenge. I asked them to participate in #ProjectPositive, gave them a prompt each day and had them spend 1 minute a day writing down something positive about themselves, their bodies and their lives. I had them do this every day for a month. The prompts, drawing on the theories of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, were accompanied by “quick start” strategies for digging into self-love that day and articles on how these strategies integrated into their life as a whole.
At the end of the 30 days, I gave all of the women the exact same survey questions and asked them to rank how their self-image had changed.
The results were staggering (click the image below to expand):
Although this study was fairly short, sweet and simple, the results revealed that just 30 short sentences had left a profoundly deep impact on the way that participants saw themselves, with many participants completely back-flipping on their previously negative mindsets.
Creating lasting change
When survey participants were followed up again to re-take the survey and describe how they felt about themselves one month after the challenge had ended, not a single result had changed by more than 0.008%; affirming the idea that we can all teach ourselves effective strategies that replace our harmful and unnecessary negative thoughts with healthy and helpful positive thoughts instead, creating lasting change. Through learning positive new strategies for self-esteem, more than 30,000 combined years of the participants’ negative life experiences were combatted.
All that, in just 30 days, with just a few simple exercises… imagine where this can be taken from here!
Where to now?
Seeing this transformation in so many women strengthened my resolve to continue to change women’s body image. I was in the process of writing Inside Out at the time and was deep into developing the set of 14 daily CBT exercises that would go deeper, break down women’s negative body image patterns and equip them with a set of new tools that they could use for life.
Pretty simply, Inside Out is the resource that I can only wish that I’d had access to at the lowest points of my self-esteem and body image. There are a lot of self-help books out there that fill your mind with “fluffy” advice (like “Take a bath and let go of your stresses!”) on one end of the spectrum, and then highly scientific, psychological textbooks that unfortunately are delivered in a totally inaccessible manner at the other end of that spectrum – there’s no middle ground. It was my goal in writing Inside Out to provide that much needed middle ground; scientifically and psychologically proven methods of behavioural change delivered in a way that’s highly relatable for most women.
The 14-day approach is rooted in the techniques of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which relies on ongoing and steadily progressive repetition in order to achieve significant and lasting behavioural change. Readers can take Inside Out at a faster or slower pace if they like, however many users will find that going through a chapter per day will give them plenty of time to digest the information from each chapter; thus avoiding the feeling of overwhelm that many other self-help books give. Throughout the journey, readers are be able to absorb the information and build upon the new habits and techniques that they’re learning, enabling them to continue these habits in their lives long after they’ve put the book back on their shelf.
Does it really work?
Take a look for yourself at what readers are saying!
So today, I want to ask you something…
Are you part of the 97%?
And if you are, will you commit to changing that?