So, my to do list this morning started with “Blog Naked” which, fortunately since it is cold in our little cottage this morning, does not mean that I am blogging in the buff. Instead, it means that I needed to post my thoughts on How To Look Good Naked, the new Lifetimetv show that features Carson Keeley as a cognitive behavior therapist– in theory– helping women who have poor body image learn to love their bodies. Episode 1 was last week and featured Layla, a 32 year old who had been on a diet for 20 years. There are many different ways that one can go about boosting her self-confidence, and Keeley’s method with Naked is to have women face the mirror in a perception revolution. His goal is to get women to accept, embrace, and accentuate their bodies– helping them to feel good in their skin. And he does it with his trademark good humor and a wonderful sensitivity.
Case in point: Layla. When she sits down with Carson, she admits that there were so many other things she could have been doing for the last 20 years rather than concentrating on dieting and hating her body. He agrees and then has her stand in front of a mirror and undress down to her skivvies (“Learning to love yourself begins with seeing yourself”). She then goes part by part, critiquing herself. When she is done, he tells her what he sees, ending with “My goal is to get you to love what you see in the mirror.” Next, six models enter in their underwear, and Carson asks Layla to assess their hips (a body part Layla has admitted to hating) and place herself in the line up of models (who are standing in a row by hip size) based on the size of her hips. She places herself between models 4 and 5. Turns out, her hip size was actually between models 1 and 2. ”You added six inches to your hips,” Carson tells her, noting that her perception is not reality. Next, Layla is shown footage of people on the street reacting to a photo of her in her underwear projected on the side of a building (her face wasn’t shown in the photo). People praise her legs, her curves, her breasts. In the room with Carson, Layla is shocked– equally from being on display and from the positive assessments. Cut to Carson who says “What YOU see in the mirror is not real. Are you ready to love your body?” And they are off to fit Layla for a bra, take her shopping so she can learn how to accentuate her body rather than hide it and thus project a lack of confidence, and to get spa treaments and a haircut. Thinking she is heading into a photo shoot with her new clothes, Carson surprises her by asking her to pose nude which she ultimately does, loving the shots. Then, she’s on the streets of Santa Monica with Carson, asking strangers if they think she looks good naked. They do, and she does, too: “I feel really beautiful and every second was worth it.”
The show makes you feel good. Carson is at his best, really, and it helps to bring these woman to realize their best. In fact, it made me want to go change out of my workout clothes, a leftover from the morning workout, and sweaty ponty tail and do something more deliberate with myself. There are certainly times I hide behind busy-ness and deadlines because I am not sure that I will love what looks back at me in the mirror so why put in the effort– my hair is wild and unpredictable, my skin has lost some luster, one of my favorite little girls– who is 3– recently asked me what was on my forehead and it turns out she was pointing out my wrinkles. While there will still be days that are so packed, I can’t get out of my workout clothes, I want to make the effort to not use that as a crutch. Because once you start using something as a crutch, you lose the power of perceiving yourself accurately.
One last thing. One segment showed Carson hitting the streets and asking people what they loved most about their bodies. My answer is my legs– they’ve powered me through a lot of great moments like swimming through the Amazon and biking up mountains. Now, it is your turn. What do you love most about your body?