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I tell my clients (and myself) that it’s important to be happy with our bodies but we don’t necessarily have to be satisfied. We can love how our legs are shaping up but still want to tone them up a bit. We can be happy that we can do 5 pushups on the ground but still have a goal of 10. We can celebrate that we ate more veggies today than usual but still aim for more tomorrow.
The hard part though, is finding things to celebrate or thankful for to begin with. We’re so freaking hard on ourselves that if we don’t do everything perfectly, well then we’re failures. Our bodies do SO much for us it’s sad how we talk about them and treat them. Our bodies get punished because we don’t like something about them, but guess what? Our bodies simply respond to what they’re given. If we don’t feed them well, they won’t look or function well. If we over exercise and under nourish them, they won’t hold out for us. On the flip side, if we eat nutritious foods most of the time and move our bodies in a way that feels good, we’ll have more energy, less aches and pains and can develop a deeper appreciation for what our body can do.
You only get one body to carry you through life. Just one. Why not show it some love? I’m giving you six ways to do just that and you can start today. It’s time to stop knocking yourself down instead of building yourself up.
1. Eat a healthy breakfast and drink some water.
Start your day on the right foot. Fuel your body with good foods and give your body the high quality energy it needs and deserves to start the day. Beginning with a good breakfast will satisfy your appetite, increase your energy and could even set you up for eating healthier throughout the entire day. I suggest starting with a glass of water first thing in the morning then whip up some quality protein, fat and carbs. Something like scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast and some veggies are a great option, or if you’re grabbing and going, Greek yogurt with nuts and fruit is another great go-to. Set yourself up for success by fueling your body right from the get go.
2. Go for a walk
You don’t have to go to Zumba, hot yoga or spin classes to show your body some TLC. Start slow. Keep it simple. Walking allows you to do something kind for your body without any pressure. Plus, walking is free, it reduces your stress levels and keeps things easy and low impact. It’s a great way to get some movement into your day and show your body some love. You can walk for 10, 20, 30, 90 minutes a day. Fit in what you can then feel and watch your body reap the benefits of some added activity.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Nothing drains empowerment faster than comparing ourselves to others. We’ve gotten so good at comparing our financial status, jobs, bodies and relationships to those of other people that we forget to stop and appreciate what we already have. When we compare, we play into the story that we’re given and build our assumptions around that. What we’re comparing ourselves to might not even be what’s true. If you’re going to compare anything, compare yourself to yourself. Did you eat more veggies today than yesterday? Lift heavier than you did last week? Lose a few pounds? All wins. Keep your eyes on your own paper.
4. Put action before appearance.
Think about action steps to get you moving toward where you want to be. If you want to lose weight, what are you actively doing to make that a reality? If you want to get stronger, are you exercising in a way that will get you to your goals? Talking without action gets you nowhere. You have to be willing to make the changes. I’ll tell you, nothing feels better than taking action when you’re feeling stuck. Just the act of doing something can lift the weight off your shoulders. Write down your actions steps and keep that list handy. Hold yourself accountable to moving in the right direction.
5. Get rid of magazines, television or social media that trigger negative thoughts.
I’m a big fan of this one. I haven’t subscribed to a magazine in years because I kind of got sick of the “get abs fast!” and “your 7 day weight loss plan!” headlines because believe me, I tried them and they didn’t deliver! I also found myself comparing what I looked like to what the models (photoshopped models!) looked like and that was sending my self-esteem down the drain. If you find yourself comparing your body to the models in the magazines, the bodies on social media or the women on TV, cancel your subscription, unfollow them and shut the TV off.
6. Flip the script.
Change negative self-talk into positive self-talk. This one takes some practice but it’s absolutely essential if you want to start appreciating your body instead of hating it. Instead of focusing on how much you hate your thighs, start appreciating them for getting you through spin class. Instead of hating your arms, be thankful that they allowed you to carry your babies all those years. Love gets us much further than hate. You have to be persistent with this one and also be compassionate. Your thoughts won’t change overnight. You won’t go from hating your thighs to loving them by flipping the script one time. But with some intention, practice and a real desire to change you can change the way you think about your body.