Body Love Tips
The Tips so far:
Body Love Tip #1 – Think of your body as a friend
Love Your Body Month has finally arrived, and before we get to the first tip I want to let all of our Atlanta readers know about some great body love resources available locally. EDIN (Eating Disorders Information Network) is sponsoring an entire month of body positive events. Check out their schedule and see if any of their events resonate with you. I’ll be giving you updates throughout the month on specific EDIN events.
So, with that being said, here’s Tip #1:
Think of your body as a friend.
We often think and speak of our bodies in ways we would never use toward others, especially not with our friends. Throughout the day notice how you speak and act toward your body. If you find that you are less than kind in your body talk, take a moment and say (either silently or aloud):
“My body is my friend.”
You may not believe it yet, but practice saying it, and you’ll take an important step toward honoring your body.
Body Love Tip #2 – Your body is the vehicle to your dreams
Tip #2 is inspired by NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association):
Your body is the vehicle to your dreams.
It is easy to look at the body as the sum of its parts: I hate my thighs, I like my eyes, I hate my chin, I like my hair. However, all the parts of the body (parts seen and unseen) function together in complex, extraordinary ways. Today, rather than mentally dividing your body into pieces, think of your body in its entirety. As you end your day express your gratitude to the wholeness of your body. Begin with the following:
“Thank you for carrying me through the day.”
You might find that other gratitudes to your body come to mind. Express as many as you can.
Body Love Tip #3 – Do something nice for your body
Body love Tip #3:
Do something nice for your body.
Get a massage, take a bubble bath, do your hair, get a mani-pedi, or do your own. Simply take your favorite lotion and give yourself a hand massage. Whatever activity you choose, focus your attention on the physical sensation and say:
“I do this [activity] because I love my body.”
Connect the pleasant feeling of treating your body well with love for your body. Your body will thank you.
Body Love Tip #4: Fat is not a feeling
Tip #4 comes from curvy activist Jessica Weiner:
“Fat is not a feeling.”
Pain, anger, joy, sadness–those are feelings, as in emotions. Yet, as women, we often comment, “Boy, I really feel fat today.” In her book, Do I Look Fat in This?, Jessica calls this the “The Language of Fat.” We use “feel fat” to describe uncomfortable feelings–insecurity, anger, disappointment, frustration–basically any negative emotion.
Next time you catch yourself saying, “I feel fat,” pause and ask:
“What exactly is the emotion that am I feeling?”
Name it honestly and you will feel a shift. This will allow you to determine what you really need in the moment, rather than simply bashing your body.
For more on “The Language of Fat,” including a guide to an “Extreme Language Makeover,”treat yourself to Jessica Weiner’s book Do I Look Fat in This: Life Doesn’t Begin Five Pounds from Now (look to the right for a link to Amazon). Also check out her website: www.jessicaweiner.com.
Body Love Tip #5: Celebrate your fat
Today is Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday.” So in honor of Fat Tuesday, Tip #5 is:
Celebrate your fat.
We’re so busy hating fat that we don’t even realize when we are celebrating it. Think you don’t celebrate fat? Well, do you wish you had Salma Hayek’s breasts? Beyonce’s booty? Angelina Jolie’s lips? Breast, booty, lips–all are shaped by fat. So, if we can celebrate the fat of others, then why not celebrate our own?
New Orleans Mardi Gras has a reputation as a wild, “anything goes” party. Let’s all get a little wild today and celebrate our luscious, voluptuous, yes, fat-filled curves.
(And, if you get a chance to wear an awesome outfit like Mardi Gras Gal’s, even better.)
Body Love Tip #6 – Find yourself in art
Body Love Tip#6:
Find yourself in art.
Standards of beauty change with time and place. When we are constantly exposed to just one standard of beauty, especially a standard which is becoming more homogenized every day, it is easy to forget that, in another time and place, today’s supermodels would be considered unexceptional.
One way to see the beauty standards of the past is through art. So jump in your way-back machine and visit the time and place where you would be a goddess. The picture above is Ruben’s “The Toilet of Venus” (Venus was the Roman goddess of love and beauty). Or, maybe you’re a Grace from Botticelli’s Primavera, one of Renoir’s Bathers series, Manet’s Olympia, Titian’s Venus Anadyomene.
Body Love Tip #7 – Dance
We’re a week into Love Your Body Month, so Tip #7 is easy and fun:
Find a place where you can put on your favorite music and just move. Don’t worry about what you look like, or if what you are doing is even dancing. Check your mind at the door and let your body take over. Jump, sway, twirl, kick, swivel, shake, even spin until you fall down.
After, you’ll find yourself much more comfortable in your skin. And if you are really feeling confident, do a little dance to the Muzak in the grocery store. Not only will you bring a smile to your own face, you might just make someone else smile, as well.
Body Love Tip #8 – You are not the victim of your body
Love Your Body Tip – #8 is inspired by a quote by Dr. Christiane Northrup:
You are not the victim of your body.
She made this comment, not in connection with body image, but rather concerning physical illness. Whatever the condition of our bodies, the physical body itself is trying as hard as it can to maintain life. Illness is not our body attacking or abusing us–our body is our biggest most loyal defender. Imbalance may cause the systems of our bodies to behave in ways that are counter to our well-being, that in fact, may end our life; however, from the point of view of the body, it thinks that it is doing the best that it can.
So, when we feel the victim of our bodies, due to illness or to body composition, we are really feeling victimized by our one true life partner. And it becomes easy to return what seems to be abuse with abuse.
You are not the victim of your body.
You and your body are in this thing together, and you both deserve as much compassion as you can muster.
Body Love Tip #9 – Look at real women
Love Your Body Month Tip #9:
Look at images of real women.
Not only are the majority of the images that we see in the media photoshopped beyond recognition, the women in these images represent a very rare body type. Our eye becomes accustomed to just one look–tall, skinny, smooth, and shiny. And if that is not your body type, it is easy to become convinced that your body is flawed and unappealing.
So, where do we find images of “real” women? A great place to start is the Lifetime Television show “How to Look Good Naked” (Fridays 9 & 9:30pm, Saturdays 11 & 11:30 pm, or watch full episodes online). Women of all shapes and sizes strip down to bra and panties, and look awesome while doing it. Never before on television have I seen such a wide variety of female body types placed side-by-side and treated in such a positive manner. (Of course, they feature a commercial at the beginning of this clip with a tall, skinny, smooth, and please note, shiny woman.)
Plus Model Magazine (online) and Figure Magazine (print) feature women anywhere from size 10-18 (Yes, Virginia, size 10 is plus-size in the fantastical world of modeling). For some curvier models, check out the girls on B&Lu.com. There are other sources as well; check our links for many more.
It is a slow process, but we can re-train our eye to accept a broader, more inclusive definition of a beautiful body.
Body Love Tip #10 – Be gentle with yourself
Tip #10 comes from NEDA’s (National Eating Disorder Association) “Twenty Ways to Love Your Body!” If you’re feeling ambitious, check out the entire list; however, for a Sunday, this one is probably plenty :
Eat when you are hungry. Rest when you are tired. Surround yourself with people who remind you of your inner strength and beauty.
Be mindful of your body and and your environment. Feeling physically and emotionally at peace go a long way to making us more comfortable with our bodies.
Body Love Tip # 11 – Make friends with the mirror
Love Your Body Tip #11:
Make friends with the mirror.
You can use the mirror to train your brain and your eye at the same time. Put a note on your mirror with a body love message, such as “I accept myself unconditionally right now,” or “I am beautiful inside and out.” Whenever you look in the mirror, look yourself directly in the eye and say your message. You’ll be amazed at how powerful the experience may be.
Well, we’re 11 days into Love Your Body Month. How are you doing? Do you have any tips of your own? Feel free to post a comment on your experience with Love Your Body Month so far.
Body Love Tip #12 – Make a personal beauties list
Love Your Body Month Tip #12:
Make a personal beauties list.
Most of us have no problem listing our blemishes, but how many of us keep a list of our beauties? Sit down with pen and paper and give yourself a compliment: I have beautiful brown eyes, I have pretty hands. If you struggle to compliment yourself physically, start with your inner beauties: I am kind and loving, I’m a good listener. Try to come up with at least 5 compliments. Then, every day for the rest of the month, read your list and add at least one more compliment.
Let’s see if we can make our beauties list longer than our blemishes list.
Body Love Tip #13 – Respect your extraordinary body
Love Your Body Tip #13 comes from Dr. Margo Maine:
Your body is extraordinary–begin to respect and appreciate it.
The human body is amazing. Consider some of these facts:
- Your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months.
- The heart circulates your blood through your body 1000 times a day.
- Your bones are 4 times stronger than concrete.
- Your eyes can distinguish over 1 million colors.
- You exercise at least 30 muscles when you smile.
When negative thoughts about your body enter your mind, meditate on the amazing nature of the skin your in. (For many more facts about the human body, click here.)
Body Love Tip #14 – Be your own Valentine
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Tip #14 is:
Be your own Valentine.
Valentine’s Day, at it’s heart (pun intended), is supposed to be about appreciation. Could your body use some appreciation? If you feel like sending your body flowers or candy, I’m sure it won’t complain; however, how about a nice love note? Here’s mine, feel free to copy:
I know that I don’t always say it enough, but thank you for being my true partner is this world. Thanks for sticking with me thorough thick and thin (or thin and thick, as the case may be). I promise to shower you with love for as long as we are together.
Remember, I’ve got your back, because, baby, I know that you have mine.
Body Love Tip #15 – Buy lingerie
Love Your Body Month Tip #15:
Buy (insert favorite style here) lingerie.
I’m a fan of the lacy, racy stuff, but whatever your flavor–pretty, funky, comfy, silly–treat your body to something that makes you feel your best, most powerful self.
This is a great time of year for lingerie–post-Valentine’s should provide you with selection and sales. Check out our Shopping links for some great resources.
Body Love Tip #16 – Create your own photo therapy
Tip # 16 may require a little rummaging:
Create your own photo therapy.
Find a picture(s) of yourself from some years ago that, at the time, caused you to flinch, but now, you can appreciate as your fresh, youthful self. Remember: you looked fine then, but you couldn’t appreciate it yet.
Then find a photo of yourself that you hate today and imagine how you will feel when you look at the picture 10, 20, 30+ years from now. The same will be true of this picture as is true of the older photo–you look fine now, you just can’t appreciate it yet.
This process may take a while to work–I’ve kept an “ugly” picture file for years, and only in the past few years have I really been able to truly believe in the beauty of current “ugly” pictures. But stick with it, and you can transform your relationship with the camera.
Body Love Tip #17 – Exercise with love
Love Your Body Month Tip #17:
Exercise because you love your body, not because you hate it.
So much of the emphasis around exercise is aimed at what you don’t like about your body–jiggly arms, doughy abs, flabby thighs. Thus, all your emphasis during exercise is focused on hating your body, or parts of it. No wonder people quickly forsake that New Year’s Resolution to be in the gym 5 times a week.
Our bodies need and deserve exercise because exercise makes the body strong and healthy. Approach exercise with the attitude: I walk/run/swim/dance/stretch/lift weights because I love my body and want it to be its best.
Let every footfall on the treadmill, let every crunch come from body love rather than body loathing. It makes a huge difference in how you feel about your body.
Body Love Tip #18 – Find your power anthem
Love Your Body Month Tip # 18:
Find your power anthem.
Every been to a ballgame? Notice how a powerful song can energize an audience. Most teams, professional and amateur, have a theme song, a tune with a pounding beat and a memorable chorus. Music exerts a power that bypasses the logical, over-thinking part of the brain and connects straight to our emotions, and our bodies.
Find a song that resonates with you, that causes you to throw your shoulders back and walk to the beat. Then, whenever you walk into a room, turn on your theme song in your mind, and walk in fully in your power. Your confidence will radiate through the room. And its hard to hate your body when “You’re Unbelievable” or “Beautiful” is running through your mind.
Body Love Tip #19 – Make an entrance
Now that you have your power anthem, add Tip #19 (courtesy of Tyra Banks):
Every hallway is a runway.
Throw your shoulders back, stand up straight, hold your head up high, and walk into every room like your walking down the catwalk. You’ll feel like a star.
Body Love Tip #20 – Wear your superpower garment
The tips so far this week have all involved signatures–a walk, a song. So, Tip #20 involves a signature item:
Wear your superpower piece.
Most of us have one–that item of clothing, that pair of awesome shoes, that breathtaking piece of jewelry–that makes us feel powerful and sexy. When you find yourself feeling bad about your body, pull out your superpower garment and soar.
Here’s me in my superpower coat:
Body Love Tip #21 – Make your own mantra
Continuing with the theme of “signatures,” Body Love Tip #21 is:
Make your own mantra.
We hear about affirmations and intentions all the time, but mantras? The word “mantra” comes from the Sanskrit and refers to a mystical formula of invocation or incantation. This is usually a phrase repeated over and over again.
We all have mantras–words and phrases that we think and/or say over and over again: I’m not good enough, My butt’s too big, I hate my hair. And by repeating these phrases over and over again, we give them power.
So, rather than mindlessly recite negative mantras, create a positive one. When you are feeling insecure about your body, recite that mantra over and over. Run that tape mentally as you go through the day. I like to make mine over the top and ridiculous: I’m the hottest, sexiest woman in the room. I am radiant beyond comparison. Being able to add a laugh to your mantra takes the edge off things.
Make your own mantra and use it. I highly recommend it.
Body Love Tip #22 – Fake it ’til you make it
Now that you have your signature song, walk, piece, and mantra, what do you do if you still don’t love your body?
Fake it ’til you make it.
All tips aside, changing your attitude toward your body does not happen overnight (or over-month). Creating a positive and healthy relationship with your body is an ongoing process, one that has to be maintained in the same way we maintain other aspects of our physical health.
So, during the process, if you’re not feeling it, just act as if you feel it. Put on the positive attitude like you put on an outfit. Again, it may take a while to become second nature, but even if you’re faking it, a positive way of thinking about your body is seeping into your psyche every time you “work it.”
Body Love Tip #23 – See what your body can do
Tip #23 is purely physical:
Unleash your inner athlete.
Sometimes we don’t fully participate in life because we feel that we don’t have the “right” body for an activity. As a result, we don’t get to experience the satisfaction that comes from stretching ourselves physically and learning something new. What physical activity have you been avoiding? Have you tried ice skating, rock climbing, running, or dancing? Pick an activity that you’ve resisted and give it a try. You’ll be impressed at how your body responds.
Body Love Tip #24 – Embrace your genes
Today marks the beginning of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and NEDA’s theme this year is our tip for the day:
Embrace your genes.
The goal of the campaign is to encourage all of us to work with the size and shape determined by our genes. Check out www.embraceyourgenes.com for info on finding jeans that really fit or on donating to NEDA.
Body Love Tip #25 – Clean out your closet
Only wear clothes that you love, that fit you well, and that make you feel your best.
If you are keeping clothes in your closet that don’t fit well or no longer fit at all then you are creating negative energy around your body image that will hit you every time you open the closet door. Better to have a few fabulous garments than a closet full of clothes that make you feel bad.
And by donating the clothes that don’t fit you anymore you are helping someone in need. That’s making two happy people with one pair of jeans (or one shirt, one dress, etc.)
Body Love Tip #26 – Unleash your inner artist
Today’s tip comes from the “Love Your Body Day” campaign:
Develop a creative outlet. Everyone needs a medium to express daily stress and frustrations constructively. Maybe you’re a photographer, writer, poet or all three. Maybe you can knit, make shapes out of clay or finger paint. Loving your body is also about loving your mind.
Find your art and let your body create.
Body Love Tip #27 – Declutter Body Image
All of the tips this month have really had Tip #27 as their aim:
Eliminate body image clutter.
We start collecting body image clutter as children. Then we are constantly bombarded by negative messages about our bodies. Make it your goal to sort through the mental static and keep only those thoughts about your body (and yourself) that support and empower you.
And, of course, keep checking back here for more on decluttering body image–our theme for March.
Body Love Tip #28 – Don’t tolerate negative body talk from others
Now that we’ve spent a month thinking about loving our bodies, Tip #28 is about spreading the love:
Don’t tolerate negative body talk from others.
In her book “Do I Look Fat in This,” Jessica Weiner describes a scenario where the women of the world simply great each other with:
I feel fat.
Yeah, me too, I feel so fat.
Negative body talk has become the common language of women, and it’s time we put a stop to it. When your friends start dissing their bodies, speak up. Call them on it. Let’s use peer pressure to our advantage and start communicating with one another in ways that foster genuine connection and support.
Body Love Tip #29 – Sign the Body Peace Treaty
We’ve reached the end of February, and with this being a leap year, we have an extra day. So Tip #29 is special:
Sign a peace treaty with your body.
Seventeen Magazine is promoting a Body Peace Project. Though aimed at teens, it is appropriate for women and men of all ages. So, what better way to conclude Love Your Body Month that to add your signature to the Body Peace Treaty. Click here for a link to the site.
And, my wish to you:
May you embrace your beauty and fill every day with body love.
- Remember that the sun will still rise tomorrow even if I had one too many slices of pizza or an extra scoop of ice cream tonight.
- Never blame my body for the bad day I’m having.
- Stop joining in when my friends compare and trash their own bodies.
- Never allow a dirty look from someone else to influence how I feel about my appearance.
- Quit judging a person solely by how his or her body looks — even if it seems harmless — because I’d never want anyone to do that to me.
- Notice all the amazing things my body is doing for me every moment I walk, talk, think, breathe…
- Quiet that negative little voice in my head when it starts to say mean things about my body that I’d never tolerate anyone else saying about me.
- Remind myself that what you see isn’t always what you get on TV and in ads — it takes a lot of airbrushing, dieting, money, and work to look like that.
- Remember that even the girl who I’d swap bodies with in a minute has something about her looks that she hates.
- Respect my body by feeding it well, working up a sweat when it needs it, and knowing when to give it a break.
- Realize that the mirror can reflect only what’s on the surface of me, not who I am inside.
- Know that I’m already beautiful just the way I am.