Monday, October 18, 2010

Love Your Body Day

     Wednesday, October 20 is National Love Your Body Day.  With more and more people becoming obese, more and more people are flocking to the latest fad diet attempting to correct a plethora of flaws – many of them only self-perceived – but actually missing the point completely.  Diets set you up for weight gain:  the strongest indicator as to whether or not someone will gain weight over the next year is whether or not they’ve been on a diet in the past few months!  A TRULY healthy body comes from focusing on GETTING HEALTHY, not on getting skinny.
     Rather than gazing at ourselves with distain and punishing ourselves by withholding our caloric “allowance”, sending ourselves to the “naughty chair” of isolation at our computers or couches because we don't "deserve" to be out around friends, or insisting that we take x-number of servings of diet food each day so that we can consider ourselves "good", we need to take a long, loving and honest look at ourselves and make a promise to nurture, feed and better appreciate the bodies we’ve been blessed with.  Improving our health does not come with punishment and deprivation, but with tender care, acceptance and understanding of how our body works and the needs that it has.
     In honor of National Love Your Body Day, I am passing on my take of some suggestions from a recent article in USA Today:

1.     1.   Face the mirror and rather than focusing on what you DON’T like, focus on what IS special about you.  Choose an attribute like strong powerful legs or a non-visible one like a great sense of humor or empathy, and appreciate that about yourself.

2.     Tip the scales in your favor.  Instead of relying on a number to define you each and every morning, cover the number section of your scale with a note of encouragement like “I’m worth MORE than this number!”  Why rely on a fluctuation of a number to determine whether you have been “good” or “bad”?

3.     Practice random acts of woman-to-woman kindness.  Rather than perpetuate competition common among women, or even the camaraderie created by seeing who is best at self-deprecation, look for opportunities to encourage other women by simply being kind.  See someone with a nice smile?  Tell them.  Is there someone who always seems to be positive and kind?  Compliment them on that.  Also, purpose to graciously accept all compliments sent your way.

4.     Get rid of some excess pounds – in your closet.  Stop waiting for the “someday” that you might actually wear those jeans you haven’t fit in since high school.  If you are keeping clothing around as a way to remind yourself all of your short-comings in terms of weight and size, get rid of them TODAY!  It’s not to say that eating healthy and exercising are not important.  They are.  BUT if you are doing them to achieve a particular clothing size, rather than for the purpose of properly caring for your body, you should reevaluate your priorities.  Living in clutter also creates stress, causing us to be more out of touch with our true feelings.

5.     Throw an indulgence party.  For an hour, or for an evening, invite your friends over for a time to enjoy the best quality of your favorite indulgences – chocolate, red wine, cheese fondue.  During the party, make it a point to compliment one another on characteristics that you admire in each other that have nothing to do with appearance.  When these types of things are done in the open, the ‘sneakiness’ of it takes away some of its thrill, leaving it less appealing to do on the sly.  OR, if there IS still the appeal, having the best quality of it will most likely bring you satisfaction with a smaller quantity.  Also, giving your self permission to enjoy an indulgence from time to time keeps the “failure” feelings at bay, which mainly perpetuates the “all or nothing” mentality so common with on-again-off-again dieting.  Give it a try!   

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