May 28, 2016

Interview with Dr. Sylva Dvorak: How To Overcome Body Image Issues

Interview with Dr. Sylva Dvorak How To Overcome Body Image Issues

Interview Transcript

Mike Hennessy: This is Mike Hennessy and on behalf of the team at, I would like to welcome you to today’s interview with Dr. Sylva Dvorak. Sylva Dvorak is a licensed doctor of psychoneurology and integrative healing and is a co-author of Your Hidden Riches: Unleashing the Power of Ritual to Create a Life of Meaning and Purpose. To learn more about Dr. Sylva Dvorak, visit her website at or Dr. Sylva Dvorak, thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Sylva Dvorak: Thank you. It’s great to be here.

Mike Hennessy: Some of our subscribers tell us they have body image issues and we hear this often from women in their late 30s, 40s and above and they feel insecure, unworthy and stressed out because they feel that they have to compete with the younger and more physically attractive women. What are some ways for women to stop being so harsh on their bodies and start loving their bodies?

Dr. Sylva Dvorak: Well, that’s really a great question and the first thing I have to say about that is that I think if a woman thinks she has to compete with other women, then she really has to take a close look at herself and how she’s thinking about herself because in reality, there’s an abundance of men out there. There’s enough for every woman and when we compete, we’re coming from a place of lack as if there’s not enough or maybe they’re not enough in some way.

A man who wants to be with a 20-year-old woman will be with her regardless of how you look or who you are. So what women need to realize is that the most attractive woman to a man is a woman who has confidence in who she is. She knows who she is no matter her dress size and she lives that fully. Then she will attract the right man for her.

Now most women in reality have I believe some sort of body image issue regardless of their age. The media is so powerful these days in our society and the images of this perfect woman body which is really not something that’s attainable for most women. It’s not even the reality of what most women look like.

What I mean by that is that the images that are portrayed like on the cover of magazines are actually like teenage girls’ bodies. They’re not really fully developed women bodies or they’ve been so Photoshopped that not even the “perfect woman’s body” can attain that kind of perfection.

So women really need to realize this, that the image of what is perceived as the perfection out there is not even for most something that is really attainable. So that’s – those are those two things. Then women need to also know that they’re much more critical of their bodies than men are. Yes, men make physical attraction more important when first getting to know a woman. However, what we as women think men will see about our bodies, men for the most part don’t even really register in their mind.

They’re attracted or not. They’re not looking at like your thighs to see what cellulite they can find somewhere and then thinking to themselves, well, that’s a deal breaker. That’s not a woman I will want or that wouldn’t be a woman that I would marry.

As a matter of fact, if a woman tells a man or her man just how harsh she is on her own body, the things that she’s thinking about her own body and then points out the flaws, he’s probably going to be totally mystified. So the message is ladies, never point out your flaws to him because he probably has not even registered in his mind that there’s a flaw at all. He’s attracted to you because he’s attracted to you.

If you point out your flaws to a man, he may then start to notice them as much as you do and before he even realized that there were any – ever any flaws. So just make sure of that, that you’re aware that men are attracted or not and that they’re not looking for those little things that we so often see when we look in the mirror.

So what can a woman do? Where does it really begin that we can then shift the way that we look at our body? Well, as a psychoneurologist, I really believe it has to shift within our own mind and our thinking. So if you’re looking at your body and you judge it and you notice what’s wrong with it every time you look in the mirror, then that’s all that you’re really going to begin to see.

So the other part of that is if you’re doing that, then you’re also probably looking at other women and comparing yourself to them and either judging yourself because you’re not like them or you’re noticing also their flaws. So that creates a spiral of an even tighter I guess negative association around your own body image.

So here’s what I suggest you do. OK? So that you can really start to look at your body differently. First of all, get a large paper bag, the kind that they have at grocery stores and then cut out two small circles where your eyes would go. If you were like looking through that bag when you put it over your head, cut out two circles, so that you can see through the bag when you put the bag over your head.

OK? Then stand in front of a full length mirror so that you could actually see your whole body and then put that bag over your face so that you can look out through those holes in the bag and look at yourself fully naked in that mirror. OK?

What you’re going to see and experience is really quite different than what you would see and experience if you just looked at yourself in the mirror fully naked. When you cut out all the peripherals, you can actually see yourself in a very different light and you can see how beautiful you really are. Take some time to really admire your body and notice all the things that are right. This is a powerful thing to do and I think women should do this at least once and then have younger girls who are having challenges with their own body image do this, so that you can really look at yourself much clearer when you have that narrower view of looking at yourself in the mirror that way.

Secondly, I suggest that you do this beauty ritual. So this is really my beauty ritual challenge for you. OK? Every day, perhaps every time you put on your makeup or brush your teeth, look in the mirror and then say 10 things you love about your body and your face because generally what happens most of the time when women look in the mirrors, they’re looking for what’s wrong and that’s a neural pathway that has been deeply grooved to then just continually seeing what’s wrong.

So what you want to do is groove the neural pathway, a powerful neural pathway of finding what’s right, of loving your body. So I challenge you to do this every day for at least 30 days to every time you look in the mirror, say 10 things that is right with your – what you do love about your body and then we would love to hear from you and what this experience does for you after 30 days of doing it.

So the other thing I want to say about this topic is that I believe when a woman takes good care of herself, her health, and she feels healthy and strong mentally, emotionally and physically, she’s much less likely to think negatively about her body and compare herself to others. This is especially important for women because we’re so much oriented towards our emotions and feelings which means that as women, we must take care of our health and well-being and eat well and exercise and take time to nurture that feminine spirit.

So we really need to balance all this doing aspect of our lives, which is really the most – more masculine energy you could say, like that doing, doing, doing energy, with the being aspect, which is really more of that feminine energy. You know, the pressure that women have these days to do it all, be a wife, a mom, work full time, take care of the house, take care of others. It really puts a tremendous demand and it’s really virtually impossible to do all of those things and then take care of ourselves and yet that taking care of ourselves must happen first.

So along with all the doing energy that you’re putting out, it’s vital to make sure that each week you spend time in that being space. So examples of that would be maybe taking a bath, a candle bath. You put candles out. Light the candles. Put bath salts in there, essential oils in the bath and just have a wonderful bathing ritual or make sure that each week you take some girlfriend time and just have time with a good girlfriend or go get a manicure, pedicure or go to the spa once a month. Spend time within nature, touching Mother Earth.

These are all things that nurture the feminine spirit and they help to balance that masculine energy we put out. When we feel more in balance, then you’re much more likely to feel healthier, stronger, and therefore feel better about your body. This is something that I feel is very, very important that we teach young girls, that from a young age, they really take care of their bodies, eat the right foods. You know, get the right exercise, nurture their bodies and balance all that doing energy that’s so much of our world with the being energy because there’s so much forces on what a woman should look like and from the media and young girls particularly.

So women have to really teach the young girls in how to love and adore their bodies and to understand that the body is really a temple to the soul and we can worship it by taking good care of ourselves and our body and then learning to love and appreciate it.

I think nothing is sexier than a woman who’s really taking care of herself and doing the things that bring her joy. It’s not about the body so much. That’s not what is looked at. With people, it’s feel. People feel that from a woman. So that’s hot and sexy to a man as well. When you feel good, you’re taking care of your body, you’re going to be much less likely to compare yourself to others. So my ending note in this is remember to do the exercises I shared with you and to do that daily loving yourself in the mirror exercise and then you will start loving yourself even more and your body even more.

Mike Hennessy: Dr. Sylva Dvorak, thank you for joining us. And this is Mike Hennessy and on behalf of the team at, I would like to thank you for listening to our interview with Dr. Sylva Dvorak and we wish you the very best in your relationships.

For free tips and thoughts on relationship advice for women, from hundreds of experts and authors, please visit our website at



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