How to Love Your Body at Any Size
As women, we are bombarded by media images of picture perfect fit models (literally). We are told how we should look and what we should be doing to try and look exactly like those models our society worships.
Our apps and websites are full of personal trainers and weight loss products screaming for our attention, showing us how to change our shape so we can be happier and healthier by changing our bodies into model status. As a professional celebrity nutritionist, fitness trainer and lifestyle coach, my job is to help people feel good physically and mentally in their body, regardless of shape and size. Feeling good in one’s own body is not an easy task.
It means that your voice of self-acceptance has to be louder than the perfect model images, runway clothing designers and weight loss products screaming at you every time you go to the store — to accept the things that you can’t control (feet size, shape of your body frame, birthmarks, etc.) about your body.
Feeling good in one’s own body means a willingness to work hard for changes that you can control, (nutrition, exercise, positive thinking) and a dedication to choose happiness in being healthy over being labeled skinny or fat.
Feeling good about you begins with developing a positive body image that can be cultivated at any size or shape just by shifting our perspective on a few key ideas. It’s my privilege to share some of my best advice with you on how to be happy in your body, right now — no matter what your dress or pants size is, no matter what society says you should look like and no matter what you’re snacking on as you read this article — so that you can stop trying to change because you feel bad about your body, and start feeling good about who you are, at the size you are.
I’m cutting out all of the excuses for feeling negative about the body you’re in and giving you the straight-up lowdown on getting body positive!
1. Your Body Is Amazing
What could be more amazing than your body? It’s 60 trillion cells function as unique individuals that make up a complete whole, allowing you to breathe air into your lungs, see colors and shapes, taste incredible flavors, feel the sensation of touch, learn to reason, to talk and walk, to run, eat and to feel emotional responses like pleasure and pain, sadness and happiness, fear and peace, and anger and love.
The fact that our bodies, regardless of our size, offer us the vessel to experience life in and even create life in, is a scientific miracle. When we view our body as the carrier of all of our thoughts, memories, experiences, learning, laughter, tears, tender moments and personal growth for our spirit, then our perspective shifts to view our body differently-not as a shape or a size, but as the bridge between living and non-existence. This approach to your body image reflection creates a new window through which you see the true value of your physical body. Our bodies are truly miraculous! If we can focus on all the things our bodies do for us daily, then there will be no room for a negative thought, because we will only see gratitude where there was once negative self-labels.
2. You Choose How You See Yourself
How we see ourselves is a choice. When we fill our head with negative self-talk about all the ways our body is inadequate, we see those things in the mirror staring back at us and we begin to believe that we, as people, independent of our bodies, are inadequate too.
Negatively comparing ourselves to others is the most devastating tool in our “Negative Nelly” tool box. We waste so much valuable energy making comparisons to a co-worker, a friend, fit models, TV personalities or celebrities that we could otherwise invest in valuable positive pep talk time, that builds us up instead of tear us down.
Instead of choosing to utilize your precious time tearing yourself down, choose to see the good in yourself. Recognizing that we have a choice in the way we see ourselves in the mirror is liberating. Choosing to focus on what value we bring to our world of influence enables an automatic positive energy switch to turn on in our lives, and we are better able to smile, to feel happy, to feel loved and to love others.
Choosing to see the value you bring to those who love you will automatically create a happier state of mind which can result in a higher quality of life. The freedom and ability to choose how you look at yourself in the mirror and what you see staring back at you belongs to no size or shape. Why not choose to live unconfined by labels and proportions? In essence, stop feeling like you don't fit into the body you want and start living happily in the body that encompasses your being.
3. Balancing Life Is Not A Chore
Part of building a better body image after gaining a deeper appreciation of your body and choosing positive self-talk over negative tear downs is building balance. A balanced life is a powerful part of feeling empowered and in control of your life. Better body image is truly reliant on feeling good about yourself from the inside out.
A balanced combination of eating healthy, exercising, pursuing hobbies and engaging in productive work you are interested in goes a long way in feeling empowered in life. Again, epowerment in balancing your time, priorities and goals knows no shape, height, weight or body size. In fact, one of the greatest things about living a balanced life is that the mere shift in overall lifestyle changes takes the sole emphasis off of the physical appearance of the body and works to improve the quality of life internally.
When healthy changes are made in small capacities, they have a big impact on how positively we feel about the way we are living our lives. When we are mindful of our overall lifestyle, we are happier overall with ourselves, which includes feeling good about ourselves at a size 0 or size 20. If you are currently trying to live a more centered, mindful life, then you should be proud of yourself and take pride in the changes you are making. You are improving the quality of your life as a whole, which is healthy for a positive body image at whatever size or shape you are-right now.
4. Your Body Works For You, So Work For It
Your body has enabled you to accomplish some amazing things in life. Your body has given you the gift of using it to achieve, to accomplish, to create, to express yourself — to be you. Your body literally houses all of your thoughts, emotions, dreams and aspirations that set you a part from everyone else on the planet.
Without the body that you have right now, no matter the shape, size, weight or height, where would you be? That means, regardless of your current size, you should be celebrating your body because it allows you not only to remember your past achievements, but focus on all those still to come. Sitting around wishing that you could change the body you have, is a complete waste of time when you have a perfectly good body that has served you well already.
Wouldn’t you rather look in the mirror and see the awesome person that is in your body, rather than how many things are wrong with the vessel that carries your life around? Wouldn’t you rather create a mutual partnership with your body that includes working together, so you can continue to create memories in a healthy body for years to come?
Try a quick exercise this evening to jump start your positive body image overhaul:
•Write down three positive things about your body on a sticky note.
•Place the sticky note on your mirror.
•When you wake up in the morning, say each positive thing at least five times before leaving the house and then repeat three more times throughout the day. At the end of the week take stock of how saying those affirmations has made you feel about yourself and write that thought in a journal so you can remember it when you need a pick-me-up.
•Repeat the exercise again every week, choosing different affirmations to focus on and writing in your journal each time. At the end of the year, you will have a record of an entire year’s worth of positive words to uplift you in moments when you feel overwhelmed by inadequacies and self-doubt where your body is concerned.
Next time you begin to hear that negative self-talk pop up, knock that voice out of your head by expressing gratitude for what your body, in its previous and current shape and size, has enabled you to do so far, focus on finding balance in your life, and feel great knowing that your body is unique. Then treasure your body as a true miracle and dedicate yourself to making mindful adjustments to it for greater mental health and physical growth!
If you focus on implementing these four tips, you will soon see a healthier you blossoming from your choices, and you will feel good where it counts the most — inside the skin you’re in!