We live in a culture that promotes perfection. Perfection portrayed by a lean, well toned body. The multi-billion $$ weight loss industry is thriving. There are so many new and improved diets and challenges that claim to lead to a new and better you. And yet, eating disorders and obesity are epidemic. We know something isn’t right.
This Valentine's Day, we present you with a new 30-day challenge. Or a 3-day challenge. Or a new lifestyle. You decide. We challenge you to simply love your body. Stop counting calories, points and steps.
Could LOVE be the solution?
Who do you love? Your significant other. Your family, your friends, your pets. Thy neighbor. But do you love yourself? Do you love your body?
Loving your body is easy. Take a deep breath and let’s get started:
Your words are powerful. Use them wisely.
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. We’ve heard the adage so many times, it became a cliche. Still, most of us apply it only to people we love. How do you talk about your body? So often, people talk about what they hate about their bodies. Be mindful of that. Talk about your body as if it were your dear friend. Embrace it, flaws and all, the same way you embrace the people you love.
Listen to your body.
You listen to your best friend. Treat your body the same way. Pay attention. How do you feel after eating sugary treats? How do you feel after taking a walk? You will start making healthier choices if you follow your body’s lead.
If you feel hungry, eat. Eat slowly and pay attention to tastes and textures.
When you feel tired, rest. We know that seems like a luxury not always available. But even closing your eyes for a moment and taking a few deep breaths can make a difference.
Your amazing body deserves only the best fuel. Eat well, but instead of trying to ban yourself from unhealthy foods (or shaming yourself after you do eat them), just try to think about treating yourself to healthy ones. Stay away from ingredients you cannot pronounce. The most important ingredient, however, is your mindset. Drop the guilt and the “I should” attitude (don't "should" yourself). Instead, think about your new friend, your body.
The simplest way to start eating well is to choose real food. You don’t have to start munching on kale while dreaming of donuts. But what if you treated yourself to a handful of berries instead of candy? Read labels. Think about what you eat. Is this the food you would want to give to a dear friend?
Eating real food is simple. People are often intimidated by cooking or feel pressed for time. But you can find many easy recipes or quick snacks. Eat as much as you need. Don’t count calories or points. Just let your body enjoy good and wholesome food.
If the idea of weight lifting or a Zumba class doesn’t excite you, don’t despair. We often feel like we need to use exercise as a punishment for our dietary sins. Here is your challenge: Celebrate your body’s amazing ability to move! Stretch, jump, and dance. It’s a party honoring your body!
Go ahead. Love your body. It will love you back.
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