8 Ways to Truly Love Your Body RIGHT NOW

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October 14th is “Love Your Body Day“.

To be honest, I’m breathing a sigh of relief that summer is in the rear view mirror. While I love the easy-breezy feel and long days, I’d get pangs of anxiety about having to reveal my vampire white, tree trunk-type legs and ‘bat wings’ because of my skimpier wardrobe. Now that fall is here, I can better hide my imperfections under my curvy bootcut jeans and sweaters and not feel so painstakingly self-conscious.

None of my friends would actually know that I worry about this, and truth be told I’d be kind of embarrassed to tell them. Objectively speaking, I probably come across as a relatively confident person who doesn’t seem super-concerned about my appearance (e.g. I’m usually dressed casually without a lot of makeup and my hair thrown up in a bun). And I don’t discuss weight that often, because I don’t like to showcase my insecurities and flaws, but WOW do I secretly get down in the dumps about the way my body looks and feels sometimes.

In the grand scheme of things I know that it doesn’t matter whether you’re a size 2 or 20 as long as you’re healthy, but sometimes I wish that my body type was different. Whenever I see a woman with a long, lean body I get sort of envious about how great she looks in EVERYTHING, and annoyed that I’m naturally kind of short and stocky. There’s only so much you can change with diet and exercise.

Then I snap back to reality, scoff at my vanity and think about the ‘big picture’ of how lucky I am to be healthy. Yet despite this outlook, I still find myself muttering horrible things to myself about my appearance in the mirror.

8 Ways to Love Your Body Right Now

Me and my daughter Anna

I didn’t quite realize how self-critical I was being until my 5-year-old daughter started repeating my comments aloud (and in front of my husband no less!). I was horrified, not just because of the bad example I’ve been setting for my daughter, but because she’ll realize what a hypocrite I am. Since birth, I’ve been telling her how perfect she is and how she should love herself, while I’m busy tossing clothes around my bedroom screaming, “I’m too fat to wear this!”

Do you know just how damaging consistent negative self-talk is to your health? Simply seeing and saying negative words stimulates the release of destructive stress-producing hormones and neurotransmitters, according to Mark Waldman and Andrew Newberg, M.D. authors of Words Can Change Your Brain. These neuro-chemicals immediately interrupt the normal functioning of your brain, impairing logic, reason, language processing and communication.

And the more you focus on these negative words and phrases, the more you can damage key structures that regulate your memory, feelings and emotions. You’ll also disrupt your sleep, your appetite and ability to experience long-term happiness and satisfaction.

8 ways to love your body right now

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