Ditch the Negative Body Image, Summer Isn’t Spelled Skinny
It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means that summer’s almost here. Time for fun in the sun! But not all of us are rejoicing. Many women I know and work with are experiencing bathing suit anxiety. They feel incredibly self-conscious about their bodies regardless of their size or shape. A survey of over 4,000 O readers, The Oprah Magazine found: 43% of women missed out on going to the pool or beach because they didn’t like their appearance! If you’re part of that 43%, or if you just want to boost your body confidence (and who doesn’t?) so you can feel beautiful in that bikini don’t worry. You still have time to get yourself in shape for summer, and you don’t have to go on a juice cleanse or grapefruit diet, pop dangerous “fat-busting” supplements or beat your body into submission with the latest get ripped fitness routine.
Here’s the secret to feeling great this summer: Stop focusing on changing your body, and start focusing on changing your body image (how you perceive your appearance). Swap the body shame for body confidence.
Follow my 9 easy body confidence tips starting right now and by summer you’ll feel better about your body, your self and the beach.
1. Smash Your Scale: Don’t let some number determine how you see, feel about and value yourself.
2. Practice radical self-care: The better you care for yourself the better you feel about yourself. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies, drink loads of fresh water, sleep 7-8 hours per night, be grateful, smile, get a massage, take a nap, practice yoga or mediate, read, engage in enjoyable activities that make you smile.
3. Bike. Besides the numerous physical and psychological benefits, research shows even a little exercise improves body image. Why? When you’re physically active you focus on what you’re body can do rather then what it looks like. Plus, your body generates endorphins natural chemicals that make you feel good.
4. Don’t diet: Dieting doesn’t work, stresses you out and is an attack on your body. Self-improvement efforts like dieting that are motivated by disgust and self-rejection reinforce the idea that there’s something wrong with your body. Instead eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full and nourish your body by consuming healthy foods.
5. Ditch the self-deprecation: Trade your negative self-talk — “I’m fat,” “I hate my body,” “My stomach is flabby” — for positive self-talk — “My body is perfect the way it is,” “I love my body,” Make a list of five positive words or short phrases, that describe YOU, not your body. Write them down on post-it notes and place the notes where you’ll see them — on your front door, your car steering wheel, the bathroom mirror or your refrigerator.
6. Stop complaining and start complementing. Carping about your body makes you feel crappy and doesn’t change a thing. It reinforces the idea that you and your body aren’t good enough. So instead of complaining, complement your body.
7. Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself the way you would a good friend, with compassion. Research shows that listening to Self-Compassion meditation podcasts, significantly improves body image.
8. Do mirror work: One of the best ways to be truly comfortable wearing a bathing suit is to be comfortable with what you see in the mirror. Every morning look yourself in the eye and say: “Hello Gorgeous, life loves you.”
9. Stop the comparison game. Rather than comparing yourself and your body to other women focus on you. Live your life! Set an intention to enjoy your summer, because you’re worth it. Stop caring about the opinions of others. (Most people are actually so self-absorbed that they are focused on themselves, not you.) Don’t allow societal standards of impossible thinness to impact your life.
Start working now, so when June comes you’ll be able to trigger positive, emotions, thoughts and sensations that allow you to enjoy summer, and yourself, in all its warm, wonderful glory. You deserve a day at the beach… take it!
Bio: Dr. Ellen, The Grow and Glow Coach is a Psychologist, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Personal Fitness Trainer and Certified WellCoach® with over 20 years experience helping women optimize their health and happiness. She empowers women to get unstuck and create balanced, vibrant, meaningful lives. To contact Dr. Ellen or schedule a complimentary wellness consult click – http://drellenalbertson.com/contact
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