Do you struggle with loving your body? Are you guilty of thinking: I'm not toned enough, I wish I was thinner, I want a bigger x, I want a smaller x, I want this, I wish for that, more of this, less of that little, or even fishing for a compliment? If you said yes to any or maybe even all of them, you will need to read this.
May I share a story with you? Yes- keep reading, no- skip this section & just get to what you need. I don't know at what point it happened but I, like most other young kids, struggled with body image. Perhaps mine started a bit younger then others but perhaps not, maybe can you relate. I remember like it was yesterday, my 5'2" size 4 mama looking in the mirror, with her hands on her hips turning side to side and asking me if she looked wide. I don't remember my response to her but I do remember thinking, is she serious? I don't think my mom ever thought these moments with her were going to be so impactful in her little girls life. I literally stopped doing things all the things I loved because I didn't like how I looked and wasn't able to talk about. I was young & healthy, but I felt like I looked fat & unattractive. My family still to this day doesn't know this... So I'm sorry if you're reading this. I stopped dancing, gymnastics & swimming all because of how I felt inside. I felt so bad wearing my speedo & leotard and would make excuses to why I shouldn't participate anymore. I quickly moved from a training bra to a size C to a DD. I was tall with enormous boobs, braces and just awkward. I started wearing big clothes to go with my big boobs and big curly unruly hair. What a disaster I was. Although, my mom will always say I was adorable. No, I was freakin' awkward and sought out attention in a very unhealthy way. Perhaps we'll save that for another blog. My childhood was pretty good otherwise, we had everything we ever needed and wanted except me wanting to look like the other pretty, skinny, girls. When I got to college, man was it game on! While most college kids were packing on their freshman 15, I actual lost 15 and was feeling damn good. I was working out so hard and definitely pushing it to an unhealthy place but I loved hearing, "you're so skinny" and being able to wear anything. How f*cked up is that? I was literally 15 pounds less then what I am today, maybe 20. I was itty bitty & quite unhealthy with bad habits, remember ephedrine? Oh, how I loved that stuff. It was a double edge sword because I knew it wasn't healthy but I did it anyway for quite awhile. As I lost the weight, I became wrapped up in what the scale & what people were saying. I quickly realized, this behavior & this whole scale thing has got to change! And just like that, poof, it was all gone! I registered for the ACE course and started educating myself on health & fitness. Any time I had to get on the scale for a doctor, I would stand on it backwards and ask them not to share unless it was of some concern. I knew the scale was a trigger to a road of bad habits and I wasn't ready to go back down that road. This lasted many many years & one day, I just stopped and started loving myself & this bodacious bod. I hope this helps you if you find you are struggling with loving your body.
Here are my ways to Super Charge Loving that Bod of Yours.
1. Change your thoughts: You are what you think! You think negativity, that is just what you'll attract, create, project and become. You think you're fat and want to lose weight, guess what? The more you put yourself down, the more your body actually holds onto that unhealthy fat. #Truth. That's what stress does. It's time for you to change your thoughts. It's pretty easy once you get into the grove but you have to be consistent, you can do it, I promise! Here's how: when you have a negative thought about someone or yourself, turn it around right away and repeat the positive affirmation. Instead of judging all the things you are unhappy with, focusing on one thing that you feel good about. This might only be your nail polish to start. Let it be what it is, stop the negative judgment & love yourself!
2. Are You Healthy?: What are you putting in your body? Are you on the latest trending diets to try to find a miracle? Stop the yo-yo dieting and start living a healthy lifestyle. Eat colors! Stick to shopping the perimeter of the supermarket where you'll find fresh foods like fruits & vegetables. Avoid the center aisles filled with beige, processed foods. Stick to the real deal! Wouldn't you rather see beautiful colors on your plate or would you rather see beige? Come on, who even likes that color? Don't be boring like beige, be colorful, happy & healthy!
3. It's all in the Angles and Lighting: Oh my, is it ever!!! I mean, this isn't new news, you all know this. What you see in magazines and online are totally edited. For real!!! Let's be honest, most of us are all edited in someway. If it makes you feel good to do it, go for it but be real about it & don't allow someone to distort you into someone you're not.
Same morning.. it's all in the lighting & angles.
Photos are unedited
4. Quit the Jealousy: Jealousy never looked good on anyone so just stop it. You never know their struggle and what they have going on. Be darn grateful for your body and all the things it can do each and everyday. Simple.
5. Shapes | Sizes | Blood type: What is your natural body type? Athletic, Curvaceous, Petite, be who are you and embrace all the beauty that it holds. Ask yourself if you're healthy & are you nourishing your body in a way you can be proud of? If not, make the necessary changes to be proud. Not sure how, ask me & let's get you started.
6. Distorted Body Image | Body Dysmorphia: Did you read my story above? Perhaps my mama and I both struggled with this at some point. I believe most of have or do. I see this frequently in class when I ask students to open their feet hip distance apart and more often then not, they open up much wider then their hips. Of course, this can also be lack of body awareness and not a distorted body image. However, what we deem as being real, becomes our truth.
7. Body Positivity: Empower Yourself! Look down and say, "I love you". Don't be afraid to love yourself. Rub & love that healthy belly, beautiful body, those curves & even that freckle. The more you whole heartedly love yourself, the better. You have to break your negative habits & self sabotage, if you truly want to see and feel things differently in your life. They are just habits & habits are meant to change, break and evolve. Are you ready to break the self sabotage of negativity? Now is the time, right now! Don’t let your negativity define who you are. You are stronger then that. What do you do when life gets challenging, run from it or fight for what you want? Look at yourself and say, "I love you"!
8. Fishing for a compliment: Love yourself so much you don't need others opinions to validate how you feel about yourself.
9. Check your chub! That's right, grab a hold of your love handles and get real with yourself. Are you constantly making excuses and are actually unhealthy & unhappy? Are you sitting around, twiddling your thumbs on a beautiful day waiting for the next BBQ? Do what you want to do, live your life but stop complaining about something you can change. I'm sorry but no one wants to hear it. Get super real with yourself and find a reason why it is important to you to love yourself.
10. Buddy System: One of my faves! This is so important when you are just starting out on your new journey of self love! It's a great way to connect, be social and hold each other accountable to what you claim is important to you. Maybe it's achieving a goal of completing or winning a race, losing 5lbs, climbing an epic mountain or doing a handstand. Find a friend or a co-worker who wants to get healthy too, maybe there is already someone who is living the life you want to see for yourself and ask to tag along! You never know the new friendships you will create. Surround yourself with people who have good self image and positive thoughts, they will rub off on you.
11. Dress to your body: High waisted or low? What makes you feel good? Rock what makes you smile. If you feel good in what you're wearing, you are more likely to do things you enjoy! For instance, if going to a fitness class, yoga, biking, running, life, is a struggle for you because you hate how you look before you even leave the door, seek out some better fitting clothes. Lose the big baggy sweats and get into something that makes you happy. Athleta, Lululemon, Nike, Adidas, even Target & Forever21 are just some of the places you can get some great fitness clothes at all different price points. Invest in yourself! If you feel good in what your wearing, you'll want to move. It's true! When I wear sneakers, instead of flip-flops, I am more likely to go for a quick walk, run or hike because I am already all set to go.
Same pants, same body, same lighting, all within moments of each other.
Bra: Public Myth
Pants: Active Creatures
Photos are unedited
12. NEVER EVER LET SOMEONE DEFINE YOUR WORTH! You are beautiful, strong and can do anything! Love yourself no matter what. You deserve it.