By Dana DeMercurio
It’s not always easy to look in the mirror and smile back at your reflection, especially when 10, 20 or even 30 pounds have (re)introduced themselves to your hips, thighs, breasts and butt. And thanks to celebrities and models on social media, television and fashion magazines, feeling inadequate can be a daily struggle for even the most in-shape women. Finding reasons to love your body is a real and constant struggle for millions of women worldwide, and it’s not always a topic that’s easy to talk about. Don’t let outward appearance rob you of all the good inside of you, ladies. There’s more to life than perky boobs, a round butt and flat stomach with a six-pack of abs.
Because we know what you’re going through, here’s a few helpful tips to keep your mind focused on the positives, regardless of what’s got you down in the dumps. Stay open-minded and open to change, and these are sure to help in your journey to emotional (and even physical) bliss.
1. Life is Short – Don’t Waste Time Hating Your Body
“You only live once” (or YOLO, as the kids say these days) – it’s not a bad phrase to live by. Imagine all the time you’ve already wasted worrying about your physical appearance instead of going out and enjoying your life! Try not to let your current appearance dictate your happiness.
2. Limit Your Social Media Presence
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat. Depending on who you follow, it’s like watching a highlights reel of other women’s lives, without all that drama (screaming kids, adult acne, unshaved legs, etc.) that “normal people” have to endure. Newsflash, ladies – it’s fake. No one’s life is perfect, and certainly not as glamorous as others make it out to be. Inundating your brain with images of women with unrealistic body types and lifestyles isn’t going to help you love yourself, so perhaps it’s time to walk away from all the social media apps for a while. You don’t need “friends” or “followers” that make you think less of yourself, right?
3. Count Your Body’s Blessings, Not Blemishes
Your body is an amazing work of art, a precious vessel and a limitless instrument. Respect your body for what it is – imperfect, beautiful, unique and all your own. While it may never be what you want or expect it to be on the outside, remember to count your blessings for all the working parts on the inside. We’ve found that starting your day with a quick “thank you” to your body for all it does can help jumpstart a lasting positive attitude.
4. Dress for Success
Squeezing into a size seven when you’re really a nine isn’t going to help you feel better about your current body size. This can only cause fat-shaming and self-punishment. Instead, dress for the body you have, wear clothes that are comfortable to you and your body, and ditch old clothes that no longer fit. Keeping those skeletons in the closet will only be a constant reminder of your “better self,” and that negativity isn’t going to help at all. Focus less on the size and more on the satisfaction you get from a form-fitting pair of jeans or bra.
5. Step Off the Scale
Starting every morning by stepping on the scale can be an instant mood crusher. Don’t let the scale steal your happiness! Instead, find joy and gratitude in the sheer fact that another day has been given to you. Don’t squander it with self-loathing. This will give new meaning to the motto “rise and shine.” Allow every day to be a new beginning towards your physical and emotional goals.
6. Take Time to Listen to Your Body
Your body is your friend. I repeat – your body is your friend. Don’t be the enemy in this situation. Take the time to listen to your body’s needs and provide it with everything it needs to be happy and healthy, both inside and out. When you find yourself standing in the mirror objectifying yourself, close your eyes, find your heartbeat and listen closely. “If people are able to stand inside their bodies and feel their body, they have a good sense of what’s happening inside themselves, and they’re less likely to objectify themselves,” says Vivien Ainley, a doctoral candidate in neuroscience at Royal Holloway, University of London. Ainley co-authored a study that found people who hear their hearts are less likely to view themselves as objects. It might sound simplistic, but sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make the most sense.