It’s not always easy to look in the mirror, feel great, and love your body. Sometimes, the only thing that
comes naturally is looking in the mirror and feeling, “meh.”
This is only magnified when we look around and see images plastered everywhere of women of a specific size, shape or color who we are “supposed” to strive to become. We beat ourselves up to achieve an unachievable goal, but every time we have a piece of
chocolate and punish ourselves for failure to comply, we become further away from who
we are at our core.
No. More! Say it with me!!! NO. MORE!
It’s important to take care of our physical and mental wellbeing, but obtaining a healthy lifestyle and sense-of-self does NOT include constantly stressing out to become someone that we aren’t.
“I know from experience, dude, if ya know what I mean.” -Chris Farley in Billy Madison… I don’t know.
Here are five crucial tips that can help you become your own best friend, change the way you look at yourself in the mirror, and love your body.
1. My Body Is My Body Is My Body
While it’s perfectly healthy to set realistic goals for yourself, it’s exactly the opposite to look at other people’s body-type and strive to look like them.
We all have unique curves, and true as it is that a great diet and workout routine can help you with strength and definition, for the most part, that “thing” you’ve been trying to change since the beginning of time (for instance, for me, it’s my love handles) isn’t going to magically disappear.
No matter if I’m in tip top shape, or totally slacking off, I still have the same general frame I was born with.
Rather than getting down on yourself for that, accept and embrace your unique, signature curves. Look back on childhood photo’s, when your body was beginning to take its shape and remind that little girl that she’s beautiful.
Once you can accept that, you’ll find it’s easier to love your body and appreciate the more subtle changes that result from your hard work.
2. If My Mindset Doesn’t Change, Neither Does My Body
You know that mindfulness is good, and you know that body-positivity is good, but did you know that mindfulness could help enhance body-positivity?
It’s not as if we walk around hating our appearance 100% of the time. One minute, we’re fine, focusing on other things. The next minute, whether it’s because we see a picture of ourselves or someone else, our minds shift focus on why we look (or don’t look) a certain way.
Becoming mindful of your trigger(s) is a huge step towards feeling great in your own skin. If you can learn to recognize when you’re suddenly entering a negative loop and why, then you’re also gaining the power to stop it in its tracks.
For instance, once I realized that taking a bad selfie is actually the reason for my sudden bad mood, I can remind myself that my iPhone does not do a good job of capturing the 3-dimensional being I am- or my true essence, and I can bring myself back to a more positive place.
3. The More I Workout, The More I WANT To Workout
It’s no question that having a regular workout routine has some huge health benefits, even beyond physical appearance. However, implementing that regular routine can be super challenging for some. I am one of those people.
With working out, everybody has his or her preference. Some people enjoy frequenting the gym and utilizing the equipment. Some people prefer classes, and some enjoy an at home workout or going on a run.
Depending on your budget and preference, it’s not impossible to create regularity in your workouts.
The one thing I want to stress if you’re new to creating a workout regiment is that you should choose something that’s easily accessible for you on an everyday basis. Don’t take a class if you can only afford to do so a few times per month, and don’t go to a gym that is out of the way.
Working out on a daily basis might seem a bit overwhelming, but when you consider that working out for 20 minutes per day is actually better than working out for an hour once per week, then it feels much more achievable.
Besides, similar to going to work, the more I do it, the more I want to do it. For example, if I have a nice vacation, I tend to dread going back to work on Monday, more so than when I’ve been working consistently.
Working out is the same way.
4. Conscious Eating Is Better Than Dieting
Dieting. The word alone makes me cringe. The overflow of information is a lot to digest (pun intended) and often, the diet that works for one person is not the diet that works for another. With all the conflicting schools of thought, it’s easy to throw your hands up and give up before you begin.
The other thing that annoys the crap-o-la out of me is that, even if they work for a time, you’re bound to plateau at some point and start gaining back any weight you’ve lost. Not to mention, I simply don’t believe in depriving yourself from the foods you love the most, and getting down on yourself every time you want a sweet or a bowl of pasta. After all, pasta is an easy, delicious and cheap option for dinner! ALL HAIL PASTA!
On the contrary, this doesn’t mean that you should gorge yourself on McDonalds every week, either. Becoming aware of your eating habits, including what prompts you to eat (are you actually hungry, or just bored?) can do wonders in helping you love your body.
Eating mindfully means if you have, say, a carb-heavy morning, then you try to go lite with carbs for lunch. If you had a sugary coffee in the morning, skip dessert that night.
Keeping a food journal is a great way to keep track, and be honest with yourself about what your habits actually are, as long as you’re looking at it like an exercise and not a chore.
As long as you’re staying aware of your habits, you’ll naturally begin to make better choices, and rather than your weight fluctuating for a short period of time, you’ll see and feel results slowly over time.
5. The Way You Use Social Media Matters
I definitely don’t consider myself to be super savvy when it comes to social media, which is exactly why my feed can get away from me sometimes, so that suddenly I’m getting bombarded with skinny influencer bitches in bikinis.
Once I started unfollowing or hiding posts from people who simply made me feel bad, I was less inclined to downward spiral when scrolling through my feed.
To take it one step further, there are tons of body-positive influencers that let their curves fly free when they model, like @bodyposipanda who is always posting super sexy photos that make me do a double take.
Feeling good and learning to love your body takes time and effort, especially because you have to work hard to undo the negative narrative that you’ve created for yourself, probably at least since puberty.
It requires patience and kindness towards yourself. And no matter how much of an uphill battle it seems, don’t give up because there’s a lot to learn on the journey, and the feeling of being unchained from the shackles of self doubt are profoundly beautiful.