By Dr. Jacqueline Plumez

Adapted from Chapter 3 Beauty and The Bitch: Inner Ugliness, from The Bitch in Your Head: How to Finally Squash Your Inner Critic, Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

The Bitch

Most women (and many men) live with a litany of self-critical statements running through their minds, wearing away their self-esteem, and limiting their aspirations. How could you be so stupid? Nobody wants to hear what you have to say. Don’t even try, it will never work. You look fat.  I’ve labeled this inner critic as “The Bitch in Your Head”. Learning to identify The Bitch is the first step in taking power away from self-defeating statements.

 

Three Ways “The Bitch in Your Head” Makes You Feel Unattractive

1. Acting like a woman when you look in the mirror.

When women look in mirrors, they focus on what they don’t like. Even a beautiful, trim woman will zone in on wrinkles or small amounts of fat. Men do the opposite: it’s a good bet that a guy with a giant beer belly will ignore it, and notice that his eyes still sparkle or he can still pop an arm muscle.

2. Comparing yourself to what you see in magazines or on television.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that what you see is reality. Women on television shows are always professionally made up, and it’s a good bet that anyone over forty has had wrinkles erased with botox or fillers. Magazines are even worse: they can airbrush all they want. Example: the first Vanity Fair cover girl over sixty five was an impossibly beautiful and be-wigged man.

3. Thinking you are helping yourself by insulting and disliking your body.

If you think self-criticism will help you stay on a diet, you are dead wrong. In fact, it is the opposite: the more accepting you are of your body, the more likely you are to lose weight. Why? Insulting yourself is depressing and stressful, causing the brain to demand comforting high calorie food.

What to do?

Focus on what you like about your appearance. Smile at yourself when you look in the mirror and focus on the features you like. You will not only be happier, but true self-acceptance will, paradoxically, help you stick to a healthy eating and exercise weight loss plan.