Body image is defined as “an individual’s concept of his own body”. It is highlighted on a daily basis in the media, and the increase in cosmetic surgery referrals, unhealthy eating and the use of drugs to lose weight or become more muscular is ever on the rise.

So where did this begin?

The nephew of Sigmund Freud, Edward Bernays, combined ideas regarding crowd psychology and the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle to present the world with the PR techniques we see today, using propaganda to literally change the opinion of crowds of people regarding the difference between necessity and desire.

Crowds of people flooded to buy clothes for fashion rather than for practicality, and one of his most famous campaigns was helping the cigarette industry overcome the taboo subject of women smoking in public- he highlighted them as “torches of freedom”, encouraging women to embrace their independence and equality to males. Perhaps more relevant was his campaign which persuaded people that bacon and eggs was the “All American Breakfast”. Why am I telling you this? I will explain.

Everything you do today and the decisions that you make are the result of a thought or mental program that you are running in your mind. This can be a difficult concept to grasp – is it really possible to program your subconscious? Well, from my own experience, YES, it is. Just to bring it back to myself for a moment.

When I was in secondary school, our sports activities were excellent. We had great facilities, and a lot of variety between strength training, indoor and outdoor activity. All my life, I had been congratulated tremendously on my academic ability. I believed it with ALL of my mind, and I was a very high achiever even with very little effort.

That was the program I was running from, because I was using my entire mind (conscious- 5%, and sub-conscious- 95%). I had a distinct belief that I had to be top of the class and the very best at everything. When it came to sports, I wasn’t the fastest runner – and so I stopped, just like that, I gave up. I believed that if I wasn’t my image of “perfect”, then why should I bother? I focused on what I was good at and let the rest fall away into a negative thought program that I couldn’t do it.

My body image became deep rooted and LIMITED – I was an academic, I was not a sports person. I made a decision that I had to look a certain way, be a certain way, and behave a certain way.

And so, I went forward into life, taking on all the other thought programs along the way, absorbing it like a sponge and giving it my full attention. I had no concept of the fact that I was in complete control of my thoughts – I absorbed and absorbed until I was bursting full of negative self body image, distorted beliefs and very low self esteem. My weight varied between 12 stone (+) and 8 stone and I can honestly say I never, ever saw a difference in myself. Although consciously, I could see and feel that my clothes were bigger or smaller, my individual concept of my body was that I had a bad shape, I was running from a negative program which genuinely saw no difference.

So, how did I make a change? I took responsibility. I learned how to use my mind. I am still a work in progress- going through a process of acceptance of ME, of who I am, of my body image, of where I stand in this very moment- only through this acceptance am I embracing the changes I am also making. I know, that if I make a change but I do not truly believe with 100% of my mind that I am there, that my subconscious (95%) will eventually over-rule my conscious decision to be a figure competitor (a decision made using 5% of my mind). If I do not embrace who I am, admire my body type and have self love then I may achieve my goals, but I will not hold them because my sub conscious will eventually kick in.

Looking at myself is the biggest challenge I face – but it is a slow and steady road and not a race, and I know and I truly believe that I am going to achieve my goal, with no doubt. I have days where my conscious takes over and the doubt starts to niggle away at me, the “what if?” and the avoidance of the mirror; but these are the days of growth for me because this is when I feel the fear and sit with it, and then take action steps to face it and overcome it. And with that, my friends, comes a great feeling of contentment and total acceptance.

So in closing, do you know more about your television than you do about your mind? Are your thought patterns a reflection of past experiences? Or are you in control of your life?

You will flick through your thought programs in your head now to come up with an answer. Make a decision and enrol your entire mind into that decision. See yourself there, feel yourself there, hear the sounds, taste the air, use all of your senses to bring that dream to the forefront of your mind and coincidentally to imprint it onto your subconscious. Go to the gym, take control of your diet, purchase those healthy supplements which will help you reach your goal or Body Image.

Whatever you see, make it a reality to your mind, and the rest will follow.

Good Luck to you all, and you are all Beautiful People!

Elle Mac

Joe Cramond posing

Joe Cramond checking his progress in the mirror.