Stop Bashing & Start Loving Your Bodies: A Beginner’s Guide to Feeling Good

It boggles my mind to hear women put themselves down in public. Worse, putting themselves down in front of their teenage daughters. What has our world come to that a perfectly beautiful woman, in her forties, likely a size 6, in athletic garb, repeats over and over “I’m on a diet. I’m so fat.” In truth, it made me want to hurl and I am certain that I rolled my eyes with each muttering of the phrase. When I overcame my nausea, I began to wonder how many negative observations I have made of my own body, features, and character over the years. Was I just as annoying to others as that woman sounded to me?

I set out on a mission. Every time I had a negative thought about how much I weighed, a feature I didn’t agree with, or the way I acted, I would aim to take notice and see how much I resorted to self-bashing. The result didn’t surprise me. Every thought I had when looking in the mirror was astoundingly judgmental and negative. Whether large or small, obvious or not, wedged in my subconscious or front and center, I observed what I saw and wasn’t happy. Why? What on Earth would possess me to do that? And then it dawned on me: ME.

Society’s fascination with super skinny celebrities doesn’t help, but society didn’t tell me to compare myself to those women. I just started doing that on my own at some point during puberty, or perhaps in high school, when I thought I needed to be someone else for people to like me. Even now, at 31, I still catch myself thinking that way. Until very recently, I realized that I became the idea of someone that others want me to be instead of who I actually am. How many of you out there, both men and women, have fallen into the trap that so many others are in? Better yet, how can I, or any of us, think others are crazy for verbalizing their disappointments in themselves, when even I have some of my own.

This body is the only one we have to enjoy this one life in. Whether we are 600 pounds or 105, 6 foot 3 or 4’11” with thinning hair or overly abundant locks we can’t seem to manage, or light, fair skin or deep, rich, dark skin. Whatever our features, whether we like what we see or not, these are our bodies. Our BEAUTIFUL bodies that are loved by our family and friends and significant others. All of these people love us, so why don’t we love us?  I don’t believe in plastic surgery but I do believe in giving your body what it needs to run like a brand new machine. The more we give our bodies what they truly need (not what you think it wants), the more we will become happier with how we look.

For me, running has been an incredible asset to be happy with myself. Just 30 minutes every other day has completely turned around my mindset, not to mention my desire to eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Not everyone likes to run, so find a regimen that you enjoy and stick with it. Don’t think about the looming future of constant exercise. Work hard to stay present, in the moment and think about what you are doing today. If nothing else, walk. Move at a brisk pace and take the time to focus, empower yourself, and get back on the track of being happy and healthy. I can’t think of one diet that will get you the results you are looking for. I guarantee if you start moving regularly, the rest will fall into place. And if you don’t know where to start when it comes to making healthy food at home, leave me a comment below and we’ll come up with a few recipes to get you started.

If you are unhappy about your weight, then as difficult as it may be, it is still an easy fix. If you are unhappy about your character, meditate that nasty trait out of you. If you don’t like a particular feature, well, learn to love it: Surgery is NOT the answer. It may be the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but for the sake of teaching your children to love themselves as they are, start practicing what you preach. If you show them confidence no matter how many a blemish you uncover, then others will see it too. It is your ONE body to live your life in. Start loving it.