After interviewing 3,200 women in 10 countries, a 2004 study found that only 2% considered themselves beautiful, and nearly 50% believed they were too fat.

Every summer I hear moans and groans as men and women alike consider putting on that swim suit. But, can how you feel about yourself actually affect your health?

There’s an obvious link between how you see yourself and how you feel about yourself, but your body image can actually have a powerful effect on your health, too. Eating disorders, for example, can be complex issues with many causes and many symptoms, but one constant between them is body image. In a recent German study of 56 people with eating disorders, every person with anorexia and bulimia overestimated their actual body mass.

While there is uncertainty as to what exactly precipitates the development of a distorted body image, it is clearly related to insecurity and self-worth. Our view of ourselves comes primarily from the outside world, including media, role models, peers, and family. In my private practice with clients, I’ve found that body image gets distorted over time through a process of frequent comparisons. My method for treating eating disorders and body image distortion using NLP and hypnosis works on this principle.

The seven steps below use basic NLP principles to normalize your body image and create positive feelings about your body and yourself.

1. Elicit the current self-image. Imagine your self in your mind’s eye. What is the image’s size, shape, location, and color quality?
2. Regress to cause of the image distortion. Use hypnosis or just track backwards in time to the earliest memory you have of feeling self-conscious.
3. Elicit and anchor resource states of safety, acceptance, love, and “good enough.” Remember times in your life when you’ve felt loved and secure. Hold those good feelings in the palm of your hand.
4. Link resource states to imprint memory & add supportive suggestions. Attach those good feelings in your hands to the image you have of yourself (from step 1). Make it so that every time you imagine yourself, those good feelings are present in your memory.
5. Progress into the future and conduct an “As-If” frame. Pretend you’ve become very secure in yourself and your body. Ask yourself how you overcame your insecurities.
6. In the present time, create an accurate picture of yourself in your mind’s eye. Make sure it is the same size, has the same colors, and is in the same location as the old image from step 1.
7. Fire off resource anchors again as you view this new picture. Attach the good feelings in your hands to this new, more accurate image. Remember, it isn’t about how you look, but how you feel about how you look!

After completing these processes over a period of time, additional clean-up may be necessary. Be sure to address behaviors, such as binging and food choices, utilizing anchoring and hypnosis. You may also consider creating a new identity that involves healthy eating and emotions. And remember, it is always helpful to have a coach or practitioner to act as a guide. Support works!

Author's Bio: 

Janis Ericson, founder and director of Lightwork Seminars, Intl. and HybridNLP, is Master Hypnotherapist, NLP Trainer, and author. She lives in San Francisco, CA and teaches classes around the world.