Body Image

The immediate impression of the kind of person you are is made by the way you look. Instant visual, more potent than thousand words rightly or wrongly, people will you accordingly. If your appearance is trim and pleasing, you begin with an advantage in dozens of situations interviews, job interviews, standing for office in club There’s some justice in this superficial appraisal, the care you take of yourself is an authentic indication of your self-esteem, an appreciation of your own Don’t it with vanity, for they are very different.

What do you really know about yourself? If you have ever listened in wide-eyed wonder to a recording of your own voice, you know how difficult it can be to recognize the way you sound to the outside world. The same difficulty exists in recognizing way you look to other people. You never see yourself from the back or in motion unless you have been taught to observe yourself as a singer, actress, dancer or fashion model does. Women tend to concentrate on their faces in a mirror as though their heads were disembodied. A sudden accidental glimpse of the whole figure reflected in passing a shop window or caught in a candid snapshot can sometimes be rather a shock.

Given that the time has come to take stock of your assets and of those things which can and should be improved, where do you start? At home, with time to spare, aim to make a cool appraisal that is neither rose-tinted nor deprecating. Do it wearing undies in front of a full-length mirror in a good strong light and make notes. Examine your figure front and Check the posture of your normal stance when at ease. Note all your good points, the things that need work and those problems which you simply cannot change.

No matter how grim your final list looks you ought to feel encouraged – you have actually begun to do something about it. Forget what you can’t change – like your bone structure, the of your neck or legs. Make up your mind to work on the ‘improvables’ and approach the task realistically. The degree of effort involved depends on the scope of the problems you want to For instance, losing a lot of weight or correcting serious figure problems requires an energetic long-term programme and patience, whereas adjusting posture can be accomplished in


Step out on a straight leg. Point your foot directly ahead and come down on your heel, then shift weight to the ball of your foot. Keep head arms swinging your step springy and alive.


Stand one foot turned out a the other a bit ahead. Keep back straight, knees relaxed, hands at your sides. Your tummy and buttocks should be tucked in, your chest up, chin parallel to the floor


Like the expression of your eyes or mouth, your carriage is

key to character. Standing and moving well signals confidence as well as grace. Are you upstanding, with straight shoulders, pulled-up rib cage, tucked-in tummy, a trim bottom and naturally flexed knees? When you sit down, can you fit both hands – flat, one above the other – between your bosom and your waist? If you can’t, you’re too crumpled up. Now stand with your back against wall, feet about cm (3 inches) from it. If your posture is close to perfect, your head, shoulders and buttocks will be touching the wall: the small of back won’t be more than hand’s thickness Check your profile in a full-length mirror and drop pretend plumb line straight down from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. Does it bisect you at the shoulder, the the knee and the ankle bone? It should. Still not convinced? Try this test: stand normally and measure your waist. Now pull up your rib cage and measure again. Slimmer? Does it seem like magic? It’s more like muscles. And muscles must be maintained to make sure you’re always standing and moving prettily moments throughout the play games, as it were.

Try to make yourself think about your posture at odd Pretend

Sit against wall with legr crossed, arms against wall, bent upseard in right angles, all vertebrae touching wall Slide arms up until strength above wur head. Do 10 times

Lie on the floor tooth arms over head, knees bent, feet flat on floor. Pull in abdomen so small of back pressed against floor; hold, then relax. Do 10 times.

Lie on floor with knees bent, feet flat, arms bent at elbows Pull in abdomen while you straighten legs and arms. Count to 10, then relax Do 10 times.

you’re a puppet on strings being pulled up, up, up. Try to

touch an imaginary ceiling with the top of your head. Make believe your tummy and back are book-ends and squeeze them tightly together. Think of your body as a set of child’s building bricks – stack them straight or they’ll fall down. Think about being a jack-in-the-box. Place your hands opposite each other at the back and front of your waist. Tuck

down your tail, lift your stomach up and in and you’ll find that your hands are no longer parallel. Applaud. as if at the theatre: clap your hands in front, above the head and behind you. Then demand an encore – just think what it’s doing for those sagging shoulders – but this time with the hands back to back.

With more time to spare, do a few specific posture exercises. The three shown above are all designed to strengthen back muscles and straighten slumped shoulders and swaybacks (the two most common posture faults). Whether you choose to do one or all three, the secret is daily repetition. Work slowly and rhythmically, stretching until you feel a ‘pull”. Remember that every effort you make to improve your

posture and give your movements grace, every 10 minutes you spend exercising for a trim lithe body will bring dividends – in the way your clothes fit and move, in the way you feel about yourself, in the way others see you.

 General Fitness,

Literally everyone – fat, thin or just right- needs exercise. Not just the muscles you use to climb stairs, load the washing machine, do the shopping, but all the muscles need their share of activity to stay firm, strong and flexible. Even if you are an active sports fan, only a few sports – swimming, volleyball or fencing – give you muscle tone all over. Ballet and modern dance also do a good job. But if you don’t go in for one of these every week of the year, the best guarantee of a complete work-out is daily exercise at home. All the authorities on the subject agree that a 10-minute daily routine is more effective than a sporadic hour-long dose when the mood moves you though even that is better than nothing. Choose exercises you enjoy. The range is so wide you can assemble a group of exercises that perfectly suit your figure and temperament needs – fast, slow, more vigorous or less.

However unfit you are, the great joy is that even after long under-use or disuse, the muscles will still increase in girth and power if they’re exercised properly again. The most important thing is to build up gradually. It’s a mistake – and may even be dangerous complete inactivity to strenuous exercise all at once.

Attitudes to exercise:

Choose time place for you. There’s no ideal time of the day to exercise, although last thing at night, directly after meals and directly after getting Choose a private place unless you’re making this group project. There’s something to be for exercising in the company of a few friends, but any time the others fail to appear

up should be might be tempted to skip the Group exercising works best for weekly workouts.

The ideal is well-ventilated, heated room your bedroom is probably the best Rearrange furniture necessary; the area you need for freedom of movement ideally your height circumference. A full-length mirror enables you to check that your shoulders and face do not tense cool or warm shower beforehand helps to loosen you up. Never exercise after hot bath: this only increase blood pressure but really relaxed muscles can become strained through overdoing things. If you feel any stiffness the day after your first attempt exercise, add handful of relaxing bath salts to your bath water and steep in for while. Exercise clothing which does not restrict you at all. The ideal flooring an exercise mat, rug or folded blanket, which helps prevent bruising and skin irritations.

Make an exercise mat:

If your exercise area does not have rug, make an exercise mat in colour keyed your leotard. You’ll need pair of beach towels, length of thin foam rubber 2.5 cm (1 inch) smaller than the towel all round allow for the seams) and 3 giant stud Sew the towels together on sides to enclose the foam rubber and use the stud fasteners to close the open end.

Eating Habits

A good well-balanced diet a basic essential for top-to-toe health and the best way to achieve it is to keep to regular pattern. Three meals day breakfast, one main meal and one light meal should be sufficient to provide healthy balanced diet. How can you be sure that you are getting all the vitamins and minerals that you need? Most easily by eating wide variety of foods. There is nothing so potentially damaging both physically and mentally than rigid and unbalanced diet adhered to for more than few days.

Foods can be allocated to different groups based on the nutrients they contain. Two average portions of food from each of the following groups every day should provide you with enough of all these

Group 1: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs

Group 2: Milk, cheese, yogurt

Group 3: Fruit and vegetables

Group 4: Bread, pasta, cereals

Group 5: Butter, margarine, oils

Vegetarians, particularly those who do not eat food in groups

or should include a wide variety of vegetable protein foods instead: pulses – lentils, kidney beans, haricot beans, chick peas, etc nuts and cereals are particularly good sources. They also contain useful vitamins and minerals.

Of course, every person’s needs are slightly especially as far as calorie intake is concerned. It is also important to realize that most foods in groups and 2 are sources of fats (Group 5) to – weight-watchers take If you find dieting difficult, make just one or two diet changes. Have a fruit breakfast, use a sweetener instead of have one starch-free meal a Season foods with spices or herbs or tart fruit juices – all add variety. overlook psychological aids either. Eat slowly, chew well and eat from a smaller plate. Take the edge off your hunger before a meal with a snack of bouillon, a heart of lettuce or a spoonful of yogurt. When tempted to between meals, sip a glass of iced

water or eat a bit of cheese with a stick of celery or

Excess weight often means faulty elimination. Check this One cause is a high starch, low vitamin diet. As far as avoid white bread, white sugar, white polished rice, sweets, buns and biscuits and have plenty of protein lightly cooked vegetables, salads and fruit. Another cause is not enough bulk or roughage in the diet One of the best ways of overcoming this is to take a bran cereal for breakfast. Make sure that you are also taking enough Vitamin B foods. A daily dose of wheat germ will often cure constipation. Make sure that you drink enough if you are not try drinking 5 glasses a day between meals. Although it is true that many people gain a few pounds in weight during the winter, there is no need to regard an increase as inevitable. It’s important to keep up the of Vitamins

A and D during the winter: fresh fruits and vegetables are just as important to winter good looks as they are in summer. Weight is closely related to metabolism, which governs how fast you burn up the calories you take in when you eat. The metabolic rate is faster in some people in others, which may partly explain why every chocolate you swallow seems to show while your best friend can live on pasta without seeming to gain an ounce! She may also be much more active and/or tense than you are. Slow metabolism is a favourite excuse for excess pounds, in fact most people have normal meta bolism. The rate does change at different ages however Growth helps raise the body’s basic energy expenditure. Adults use less energy per pound than teenagers.

Calories are energy units and it is not until we are either over-weight or under-weight that we need to worry about them. Cutting down on calories does not mean starving but choosing low calorie foods. For example, lean lamb cutlet provides 100 calories, so does a chocolate cream!

It takes time to break old eating to plan healthy meals or appetizing low-calorie ones. Ideally, let all the family cooperate with you in planning meals two or three days If you’re one of a large family this helps with the shopping and keeps you organized. There is little chance of error if you add up the calories before instead of after you A slim, firm figure is not the only bonus. Add to that clear skin, bright shiny eyes and swinging vibrant hair.


Stress means different things to different people. Most of us would bracket it with some sort of distress: the distress of sitting up night after night studying, fearful of doing badly in an exam; the distress of running a home on a tight budget, having to shop around, getting tired; the distress of being burdened with elderly parents, having to cope with their problems as well as your own. Stress becomes bottled up inside you. Things like traffic jams, long delays in queues, waiting endlessly for the phone to ring all contribute to a feeling of being wound up internally. For most of us these are isolated examples, but when an anxiety endures and develops into prolonged stress then the body simply wears down.

Signs of stress you can quickly recognize include poor sleep, over-eating or drinking, hunched tense posture and repetitive mannerisms like teeth-clenching, nail-biting or pencil-tapping.


Stress can be alleviated by mental discipline. conscious relaxation and the right kind of food. Let’s start with those often vague feelings of worry, rather than actual problems, which often make us tense. Before going to bed, aim to empty your mind of worries Take paper and pencil and drag them out into the open,

 writing down every mild nag in your mind. Having written them down, study them carefully. Can you do anything about this one. for example? No? Then take your pencil and strike it out. The very act of putting your pencil through it will get it off your mind. This worry now. You can do something about that! Well, write down just what you can do and resolve to do it on such and such a date. Do this every night, clearing your mind of worried feelings and watch your stress symptoms disappear Watch for points of tension and strain. These are usually the shoulders, hands, feet and face. Check the position of the

shoulders frequently. We tend to hold them tensely, sometimes pulling them up almost to the cars. Relax them. Do a few shoulder circling movements Flap the hands loosely from the wrists to relax them. Make sure that when you are sitting, your legs are not wound round each other or the ankles round the legs of the chair. To relieve neck and shoulder tension, try these spot-relaxers: 1. Shrug your shoulders to your ears-one shoulder at a time and circle forward 6 times, now backwards 6 times. 2. Relax shoulders and gently roll the head to a full circle, first round to the right, then to the left. Repeat 3 times each side. 3. Not an exercise, but sleeping with a Chinese pillow will help alleviate any unusual sleeping angles which contribute to tension in the neck


A course of body massage is a very good antidote to stress and the gentle stroking and manipulating of the spine is ideal for relaxing a tense body. A warm bath, containing some pleasant-smelling herb or perfumed bath essence, is another way of relaxing. So is scalp massage – you can massage your own scalp quite easily, working with gentle circular move ments from hairline to crown. Hair-brushing with rubber based bristles is a very relaxing bedtime exercise. A few minutes face massage every night at bedtime is helpful to relax tense muscles, particularly from the area above the nose up to the hairline of the forehead, along the eyebrows, the temples and the area about the eyes. Increasing your intake of thiamin (Vitamin B,) may help

Thiamin is found in whole grains, sunflower seeds, chicken, fish roe, sardines, cod, lean beef, liver, pork and kidney. Relaxing beverages and sleep inducing!) include the follow ing: peppermint tea, sweetened with a teaspoonful of honey; a glass of hot milk with 9 drops of oil of cloves added; a cup of lime tisane; orange flower water (an old French cure for sleeplessness) 1 tablespoon orange flower water in a wine glassful of warm water with a lump of sugar; 1 tablespoon honey Taken in hot water, with or without the juice of half a lemon.