How you view your body is important because it becomes the foundation of how you treat it. If, for example, your body is simply a measuring stick or a means by which to compare yourself against others then the goals and values placed on your body are very different than they would be if you considered your body more of a vessel that carried your spirit and enabled it to interact in this world.
Body image talk brings with it many issues and challenges that revolve around the impact that societal pressures have in how your body appears to fit within the society that you inhabit. And there is no question that throughout human history the body has been used as a tool for people to communicate - or at least to make assumptions. There are numerous ways that humans discern who is like them and who is not and many of these are not conscious. They are sometimes subtle differences in mannerisms and movements. These "like" movement patterns are so powerful that there are programs for sales people that are built around teaching how to recognize and mimic them because when used appropriately they are effective at creating trust - a necessary first step to making the sale.
Let's take a moment and ponder that. If there are non-obvious, non verbal actions that a person can make that can make you more likely to like them and believe them, then there must be signals that you are sending out to others in a similar way. If you aren't consciously modifying those signals then it would seem that they must be based subconsciously and, perhaps, based on the foundation of how you view your body and your self. If we know that is happening externally, imagine how much is internally affecting us without our knowledge.
In my career I have had the opportunity to work with people of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels and can tell you that - as surprising as it may seem - having a body that fits the societal ideal is not the path to loving your body. Loving your body comes from shifting how you view it. Changing your paradigm to one of appreciation is not only the way to reducing the inner conflict it is also the basis for creating change.
I realize that this can be a hard concept to grasp, 'if I like it as it is, why would I want to change?' is far more understandable. For me, the answer lies in the difference between 'happy' and 'satiated'. Wanting to do better or achieve greater is not at odds with being happy with your current level.
This idea is not outside of our thinking for many areas; a competitive athlete can be very happy with a finish but still want to do better, a researcher can be happy with the work and search for ways to do it better, an actor can appreciate the level of performance and still strive for becoming better. In fact, this striving to do better is a desirable passionate driving force yet when it comes to our bodies this model is tossed aside for the all-too-often one of battling the enemy.
Your body is going to be with you your entire life. If it is not supporting you in the way that you want, think about how you can do a better job being happy with it for all that it does. Start with appreciation then, if there are things you would like to be different, use the body building technique of focusing on what you want it to be like. That's right, I said body building, because they spend so much time looking at their bodies and imagining what they want it to look like. They know that focusing your attention on what you don't want, or on what is, will only hinder your ability to create what you want. The goal is to reduce the inner conflict and focus all of your power toward one direction.
Whether that direction is fat loss, muscle gain or even more serious health issues, your best results will come through getting your entire self working as a unified team. After all, you are in this together.
As always, let me know how I can help.