About seven years ago I bought a beautiful grey blazer. At the time, it just barely fit. I could do it up, but it was snug and tight around my biceps. It was on the pricey side and I figured I could always wear it open since it fit in the shoulders, so I never bothered to donate it.
The other day I was going through my closet and on a whim I decided to try it on. I was shocked to find that it fit perfectly, like it was made for me. Cue happy dance. Here's the crazy thing: I don't weigh less now than I did then.
(Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill via Getty Images)
What has changed, clearly, is that the shape of my body. Some of this might be because I was starting, unbeknownst to me at the time, to have an underactive thyroid, which is now thankfully under control. But a lot of it has to do with the way I now look at my body and with how I treat it.
I'm part of several fitness groups on Facebook. One thing they all have in common is that they are all groups of women who are trying to be healthy (which is great). Unfortunately, I often see them falling off the wagon, freaking themselves out and putting themselves down.
Let's just quit this constant negative talk and once and for all.
Much of what I focus on is helping people feel good about themselves. I'm never above saying that doing something small like putting on a new lipstick will make you feel great, but when we strip away all the layers, feeling good about yourself really comes down to your state of mind.
I believe that if you are constantly putting yourself down and trying to achieve unattainable results, then you probably won't succeed (or at least not the way you want to) at keeping a consistent beauty routine, having a wardrobe you love or sticking with a fitness routine.
How to love your body
Don't blame your body.
It's really easy to say that you didn't get asked out on a date because you are too fat or because you don't look a certain way. Instead, try consciously changing your mindset every single time you start being negative. This will be an effort and it won't be easy, but do it anyway.
Don't let other people put you down.
This includes you and especially when you are around your friends. There's one thing you will never ever see me do and that's putting myself down in front of my friends, especially when they are doing it to themselves. I've created a protective barrier around myself and if I'm in a group that's sitting around saying they hate their bodies, I will never join in.
The minute you fall into that trap it's like you are all giving each other permission to be mean. While I don't always love my body and I don't always feel great, I don't want anyone's permission to say bad things about myself.
I'm not against having a scale and I do think that it's a necessary tool, but measuring yourself can be so much more productive because it tells a much bigger story. Muscle takes up less space than fat, but if you start building more muscle then you might find your weight actually increasing. Also, consider water weight or temporary monthly weight fluctuations. Measure your body once a month and see if those numbers start getting smaller.
Celebrate your accomplishments.
It's really easy to fall into the trap of enumerating all the things that went wrong, but how about focusing only on the good stuff? For me, this might be that no matter how much I try, my double pirouettes still aren't great, but my jumps are getting really good again, as is my stamina and my overall strength.
Understand the meaning of a goal.
All too often I hear someone saying that they want to lose five, 10 or even 15 pounds, and that's great, but what does that actually mean? It rarely means that you're suddenly going to be happy with your body and that you are going to look exactly like you want to look. A real goal is something along the lines of, "I'm going to run that 10k" or "I'm going to lift 50 pounds." Those are measurable and concrete goals. "Five pounds" doesn't mean anything. Stop hanging onto those numbers.
Care for you body.
Not only does that mean moving as much as possible, but it also means feeding yourself healthy foods. The better you eat, the better you will feel. Now this doesn't give you a license to feel bad if you eat some junk food. What it means is that you need to be mindful of what you are eating.
Let's just quit this constant negative talk and once and for all understand that what we see in magazines is a fantasy and not reality. Focus on all the positives because it's only then that we will truly be able to make a change in our lives.
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