Loving yourself is hard. There are so many outside influences telling us why we're not good enough and what we need to do to make ourselves better. Dr. Gail Dines once realized,
"If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business." She was exactly right. Beauty and body image is a money making industry and this is why women are preyed on by our society to keep striving to be better; money. So let's acknowledge this fact and move on! Find a way to love ourselves and our bodies no matter what anyone says.
Here are 6 actionable ways to do just that:
1. Do something adventurous: When you are engaged in a physical activity that you love you are fully focused on the task at hand and you aren't worried about how you look doing it. Next week I am starting a trapeze arts class that I expect will have me so excited (and a little scared) that I'll be loving the way my body can catch me from falling. When you're grateful for what your body can do it makes it much more difficult to dislike it!
2. Eat a nutritious meal: There are days when we get so busy that we never have time to take a second to realize how the food we are eating is making us feel. There are foods that, when I eat them, make me feel sluggish, bloated and unhappy but when our lives are so busy we often ignore these feelings and grab whatever is easiest. When you aren't feeling the love towards your body, treat it to a very healthy meal, such as a smoothie, a huge salad or some beans and rice. When you feel physically better in your body your mind will often follow.
3. Dry brush your skin: Dry brushing is where you use a loofah type bristle brush on your skin to increase circulation, reduce cellulite and to remove dead skin. Start from the bottom of your body and brush up towards your heart, doing clockwise circles on your stomach and going up your arms. Click here to watch a tutorial on how to dry brush. Dry brushing connects you with each cell of your skin and it reconnects the brain and body in an enjoyable massage.
4. Take a break: If you've run yourself ragged and your body is feeling like its weighing you down, give yourself a break. Whether this means taking a 20 minute nap, taking a vacation or taking a couple days off from the gym is up to you. If you overextend your body it will let you know through fatigue, injury, illness or worse. When you feel this coming on, take that break, it will serve you a lot more than pushing yourself into harms way ever will. People who are crazy busy wear it like a badge of honour; it's not honourable it's just irresponsible.
5. Do something for someone else: It's pretty amazing how serving others takes you out of your body and into the bigger picture. You quickly realize, that extra 5 pounds on your stomach really doesn't matter when you are fundraising for a worthy cause or even just volunteering at your child's school. Doing good puts your value in your actions instead of in your looks.
6. Smash the Scale: Scales infuriate me! I had a client that said she was doing great the previous week but then she went out with friends and the next day she gained all the weight back. Let me tell you, this is physically impossible. Your weight will fluctuate all the time because of what you eat, water retention and even if you went to the bathroom recently. Scales are pointless. Even on Extreme Weight Loss with Chris Powell, the contestants only weight themselves once every three month. Once!! Not three times a day, not every day, not even every week. If you can, put that scale away for a while. Better yet, smash it, video it and send it to me. I am starting a campaign called Smash the Scale and will accept any videos of people creatively destroying their scales to send the message of how damaging weighing ourselves constantly can be. You are not a number! Use how your jeans fit as a more accurate and forgiving measure of if you are gaining or losing weight.
Try a few of these this week and you will find a greater connection and a deeper appreciation for your body. Stop fighting against yourself, you are perfect just the way you are! I promise.