So you want to know the one be-all, end-all way to a “perfect” physique? Here it is:
Love your body.
Yep. That’s it. That’s the secret. And it really is as simple as that.
Loving your body is not just an attitude, it’s a way of life. Loving your body means respecting it in every sense of the word. Loving your body means celebrating what it can do, and knowing that that is okay — loving your body is okay.
In fact, loving your body is highly encouraged by research done at the Technical University of Lisbon and Bangor University, which found that a positive body image is positively correlated with weight loss.
Fun fact: If you love your body, your body will love you back.
Love every part of yourself, frizzy hair and all. Here’s why.
If you feel self-conscious about your thighs, or weight, or nose, or big feet, or whatever your main insecurity may be, think of it this way: how other people see you is a direct reflection of how you see yourself.
It’s as simple as you deciding to feel confident in yourself. This confidence is tangible to the people around you, and it draws people to you. Once you decide you’re awesome, everyone else will, too. Confidence goes a long way in terms of attractiveness.
Attractiveness is not solely based on appearance. Behavioral investigator Vanessa Van Edwards points out that we are more often attracted to “confidence, passion and personality.”
Of course, this is easier said than done. I know what it feels like to look in the mirror and not like what you see. Trust me, I’ve been there.
It is incredibly difficult to recognize the beauty in your own appearance when we live in the society that we do. We perpetuate a culture where, instead of celebrating each other’s bodies, we tear our own bodies down as a way of bonding with others.
We read magazines and see clothing advertisements in which models and celebrities are Photoshopped to the point of what the media thinks is perfection.
This obsession with “perfection” is evident in pop culture as well. Think of the scene in Mean Girls in which Cady goes to Regina’s house for the first time, and the Plastics take turns identifying what they hate about themselves.
Until we act on this together, like France has started to, generations of women (and men) will continue to grow up believing they are not good enough, not attractive enough, not skinny enough, not toned enough.
The fact that we live in the world that we do makes it that much more essential for each and every one of us to be proactive in loving our bodies. Every day, write down one thing you love about yourself. Think about the amazing things that your body is capable of. Focus on the positive, not the negative.
There’s a lot of hate in the world right now. Let’s take self-hate off of that list.
Do things that make you feel good — focus on how your body feels, not on how it looks. The types of physical activity that you enjoy the most tend to be the ones that make you feel strong. And, not so coincidentally, these activities are the ones that will make you a healthier person without you even consciously trying.
Try group exercise, like SoulCycle or yoga classes. Make a habit of participating in the activities or classes that you genuinely love. Of course, the health benefits are obvious, but don’t let them be your motivation.
Actually, it is absolutely okay for your motivation to be purely selfish (and, dare I say, lazy) — i.e., making yourself feel good. You should come out of a cycling class (or hot yoga session, or whatever your preference may be) feeling unstoppable. It’s a high you’ve just got to love.
The biggest way we fight our bodies is by dieting, or resorting to more extreme measures, which often result in eating disorders. Cutting carbs or calories will only ultimately hurt you, according to Joan Salge Blake, a professor of nutrition at Boston University.
Unless you have a food allergy, depriving your body of anything at all counts as fighting your body. So ditch those diet rules.
Eat pasta. Yes, I am telling you to eat pasta. Have a bowl of ice cream after dinner tonight. Walk your dog. Sleep in. Make yourself addicted to water by carrying your S’well bottle everywhere you go. Take a hot shower. Take a hike. Climb a mountain. Go out with your friends. Live your life.
We could all do a little less worrying and obsessing over eating kale salads for every meal. Stop feeling guilty. Stop stressing, and just live.
Most of all, never be afraid to eat. It’s okay to love food. We as living things are supposed to love food — it is literally the reason we stay alive. I love food and I love eating and I’m not afraid to say it. If you’re a fan of Spoon, you most likely feel similarly.
Your body needs carbs. Your body needs healthy AND unhealthy fats. Your body needs salt. Your body needs sugar. Let’s all stop being so afraid of all of these things.
Love food, and love yourself. Everything you see as imperfect is what makes you perfect (cheesy, but true). Love your pale skin, your cellulite, your stretch marks, your complete and total lack of abs. It’s all a part of who you are, and it’s all a part of your amazing body.
You have the power to choose to love everything about yourself. Strive for a healthy mind, because a healthy body will come naturally from this. When you see yourself as beautiful, the rest of the world does, too.
Learn to love your body, starting today. The rest will follow.