By Karen Rose
My body and I have an unhealthy relationship.
By which I mean that if my body was an actual person, I would have broken up with him. And burned his clothes.
I don’t like my hips (too big), or my arms (too squishy), and I’ve noticed that I’m starting to get cellulite.
On my derrière.
Yep, my bum is wobbly. WOBBLY, people.
I’ve realised that I need to fix things between me and my body, because feeling bad about how I look is bringing me down. I want to enjoy my life, not feel so self-conscious that I can’t focus on anything else. And I’m fairly sure my husband is getting sick of me biting his head off every time he touches my tummy (“NO! HANDS OFF! GO AWAY!”).
So in the name of better body image I’ve resolved to stop getting depressed over pictures of skinny celebrities. I’m trying to be healthy because you are what you eat, and right now I’m a carb. I’m learning to enjoy exercise, because it should be fun, not be powered by self-hatred after I’ve comfort-eaten an entire bag of chips. Finally, I’m trying to stop putting myself down, which is actually the hardest task of all.
It’s a process (often a slow, painful one), but I’m getting there. And here’s how…
Here are 5 ways to start loving your body:
1. Positive Self Talk. We all have that little voice in our heads – you know, the one who’s mean to us when we look in the mirror. But if your default setting has become “LOOK AT THE FLAWS”, you need to make a conscious effort to alter your mindset. How would it feel if instead of saying to yourself “I’m so fat”, you said “My arms look way more toned today!” Yes, it’s difficult to change the way you “talk” to yourself. It also feels strange at first (and kind of silly). But positive self talk helps (a lot!).
2. Stop Comparing Yourself. There are quite literally zillions (yes, zillions) of pictures of beautiful women out there. So it’s natural to start comparing (ahem – obsessing over) bits and pieces. But often when we start making comparisons, we also start putting ourselves down. Try not to use the images to zero in on what you perceive as your flaws. It’s (really) hard, but instead of thinking “I’ll never look like that skinny model with the un-dimpled bottom”, try looking for the positives, like “she’s got curves like me– woo hoo!” Yep, it’s all about taming that little voice again.
3. Start Healthy Eating, Not Comfort Eating. You know that saying, “you are what you eat”? Yeah, I hate it too. Mostly because it’s true. When you indulge in my comfort foods it feels GREAT. For a while. Until the lethargy from the chips and chocolate sets in (and your skin breaks out). Making an effort to eat “clean” will make you feel better about your body. Not just because of the weight loss benefits (okay, those too), but because you’re taking care of yourself.
4. Learn to Enjoy Exercise (yes, you read that right). Some of us prefer dancing it out in our apartments to jogging. Some would much rather do a spin class than go to yoga (okay, I doubt these people actually exist, but you get my drift). Doing something you hate less enjoy is the first step to motivating yourself to get active. In a nutshell, exercise = being healthy = feeling good!
5. R.E.S.P.E.C.T (Yourself). Good self-esteem also means having self-respect. Eat well, exercise and take care of yourself – and do it for you. Treating yourself with respect isn’t about getting the skinniest arms or losing the most weight. It’s about learning to love yourself at the size you’re at, whatever that is. Take care of yourself, and you’ll begin to view your body as a friend, not the enemy.