Anybody who watches a music video or opens a fitness magazine notices the obvious: fit and lean is what’s supposed to turn heads. Six-packs, tight guns, and flawless skin is hot, hot, hot. But chances are good you’re not about to audition as a back-up dancer for Nicki Minaj. It might even be possible you’re not quite at the top of your game. And it can be way too easy to see how far there is to go and just give up.
Easy for someone else. Not for you. You’re gonna learn to love the body you have.
People tend to find their flaws then focus their energy on those “flaws” instead of finding their strengths. As a result they get in the habit of taking their bodies for granted and not taking care of themselves the way they should.
So how can we flip this around? First, start a list of all your personal strengths. Go crazy. Don’t be modest! If you’re fly on the dance floor, if you’re a whiz on the computer, if you’re a baller on the court, put that on your list. Feel good about how far you’ve come in your life. You earned it!
Creating your own personal list keeps you on track and helps you connect with your body. It takes a conscious effort to make it happen, but acknowledgment is the first step to success.
Maybe you’re thinking, “How do I love my body if I’m not happy with it?” The answer is simple: you gotta give yourself a little credit for what you body can do well. Then get started on this 7-step process to help you connect with your body and keep it running for a long time.
1. Focus on the good: What do you love about yourself? Maybe you have great shoulders, or shapely calves, or a chest that puts 50 Cent to shame. Whatever you’ve got that you love, start with that. Look for exercises that show off what you can do well. Once you get the confidence of seeing what you do well, you’ll be motivated to start working on he rest of your body.
2. Step off the scale: Don’t focus on your weight. Focus on how you feel. The numbers on a scale should be an indicator that you’re headed in the right direction, but they shouldn’t be the goal. If you feel healthy, you’re probably on the right path.
3. Don’t compare your body: Once you start comparing yourself to other people, you’re on a path to total destruction. It’s too easy to find someone with a tighter chest, bigger guns, or a flatter stomach. But you’re not those people, so get over it. You’re you. This is your body, the only one you will every have. Accept it and take care of it. Own it.
4. Find what works for you: Everybody is different and needs different things from diet, exercise to clothing. If doing yoga makes you feel like a clown, skip it. Try something that makes you feel good instead, like kickboxing, running, or crossfit. Do things that work for your body and wear things that flatter your body. (Ladies, that means all y’all trying to fit into t-shirts two sizes too small? It’s time to go shopping.) All these things will help strengthen your body, mind, and soul.
5. Diet: Diet is not a four-letter word! A diet doesn’t mean you only get to eat cardboard or you’ll never get to drink pop again. Think of a diet as fuel for your body; you are what you eat, and what you eat will determine your mood, health, and energy level. Out of your three daily meals, breakfast is the most important. It gives your body energy, gets your metabolism flowing and feeds your brain. Feed yourself smart.
Pay attention to what you’re eating and how it makes your body feel. When you finish a meal do you feel awake and energized or tired and sick? Food determines your energy level, and not every food works with everyone. Every person’s body is different, meaning every person’s diet will be different as well.
6. Exercise: This is the big daddy right here. Exercise is the number one health supporter. Doing some sort of physical activity daily, it doesn’t matter what it is, will improve your heart, mind, energy levels, mood, and your physical appearance (which is always a plus!)
7. Do things that make you smile: Whether it’s listening to music, dancing, reading your favorite book or magazine, walking outside, going on an adventure…anything that puts a smile on your face, do it daily! Happy people are healthy people.