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Well-Being

Collin McShirley: 10 Strategies for Radiating Body Positivity

I love it when my work expands my world. When I first started my mission to help the families of our beautiful community raise children who grew up to have high self esteem and a positive body image, I knew I couldn't do it alone.

I found myself searching for like-minded people I knew who could help me make this message mainstream.

In the last six months there has been a change in how the media has been talking about body image, and there has been pressure for change in what the ideal model body looks like. I am elated with these shifts as the body of statistics on eating disorders grows.

» 0.9 percent of women will struggle with anorexia in their lifetime

» 1.5 percent of women will struggle with bulimia in their lifetime

» 3.5 percent of women will struggle with binge eating in their lifetime

After receiving my masters in clinical psychology, becoming certified from the centre of dieting and eating disorders and completing most of my clinical hours treating eating disorders, I knew that I wanted to help the next generation and their families have all of the resources they needed to make positive changes in their life and not grow up developing an eating disorder.

KEYT’s Meredith Garofalo and LFMT’s Collin McShirley team up to help Santa Barbarans improve their body image. Click to view larger
KEYT’s Meredith Garofalo and LFMT’s Collin McShirley team up to help Santa Barbarans improve their body image. (Collin McShirley / Noozhawk photo)

I was so happy when I turned on the news one morning and saw Meredith Garofalo and her sweet smile talking about what she does to stay positive and healthy.

I was drawn right away to her authenticity, confidence and empasis on the importance of feeling good about yourself both inside and out before this way of thinking became trendy.

When Meredith and I met we had an instant connection, two hard-working women who have a common goal for our city... to help others and provide resources and education for families.

During our meeting of the minds we went over what we thought was important in building and maintaining a positive body image. We wanted to share them with you today.

1. Speak kindly to yourself. As soon as you’re about to criticize yourself, stop and think, “would I say that to a friend?” The answer is probably no. You are your own friend, so be kinder to yourself.”

2. Don’t put down anyone else’s body either.

3. When you look in the mirror, point out all the things you like about yourself — even if they seem small.

4. Realize that your weight is just one very small detail.

5. If the scale gives you anxiety or makes you feel bad, throw it out.

6. Appreciate all of the epically incredible things your body can do.

7. Don’t let yourself be defined by any bodily issue or limitation. Your strength and self worth are not dependent on that.

8. Exercise for the sake of feeling better — not looking better. Meredith loves working out at Barre 3 here in Santa Barbara, and I love working out with my dear friend and personal trainer Natasha Freutel of Fit Mama Santa Barbara.

9. Set goals that have zero to do with your appearance.

10. Surround yourself with positive vibes.

One thing for sure is for sure: it’s important to have positive, like-minded people around you who support you and help you grow.

I am so happy to have met someone who shares these interests and cares about our community. The two of us hope you enjoy these tips on how to have a better body image and hope to see you out this summer feeling proud on the inside and out.

Collin McShirley, MA, IMF, is certified and specializes in mindful eating, emotional eating, body image and self esteem; she provides coaching services in Santa Barbara, Montecito and Goleta; and she developed the program, “Break Free From Emotional Eating and Learn to Love Your Body.” She grew up in Santa Barbara​, graduated from UC Santa Barbara and received her masters in clinical psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara. Click here for more information, contact her at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter: @CollinMFTI. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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