It’s summertime here in Northern Manitoba- our days are long, the sun is never ending, and we know in a few short months the snow will fly, so we need to take advantage of the heat and sunshine.
But for some of us, this is the worst time of year. It’s hot and uncomfortable, we don’t want to remove layers and come out from the shelter of the winter months that hid our bodies.
Our kids or friends want to go to the beach or to the pool, and we hum and haw on that final decision to go because of how we look in a bathing suit. Women and Men alike. My skin isn’t tan enough” “my thighs have cellulite”, “my love handles spill over my bottoms”. For others it’s acne, back hair, or round bellies. The list is sadly endless on the negative judgment we give ourselves.
I see this locally, and everywhere- women of all ages flocking to the perfect beach body or weight loss program, makeup to hide their “flaws” on their faces, and men trying hard to trim up and build muscle seemingly overnight.
Losing weight and building muscle takes time, patience, and lifestyle changes. If your health is considerably suffering because you are overweight, there are healthy ways to lose fat and build muscle, and more importantly, will therefore improve the health of your internal systems. I am much more concerned on the health of my heart than the definition of my abdominal muscles.
There is no such thing as a perfect body or the perfect beach body. How YOUR body looks at a beach, is a beach body. Have you ever just people watched on a beach or pool in town or on vacation? Chances are you were surprised with the different shapes and sizes of bodies! Bodies housing beautiful and passionate minds and souls, having fun in their activity, not caring at all about how they look. Well guess what? That can be you with a little body confidence exercises.
We need to make the shift in our mentality. How your body FEELS is priority. How your body LOOKS is irrelevant. Completely irrelevant!!
Ask yourself, if you had your “ideal body” how would you feel? Would your life completely be changed for the better? Would you be happy beyond measure? Would your life be complete? No! That satisfaction would be temporary and would soon wear off and you’d be unhappy with something else. The memories you make in your life have to do with spending time with people you love and doing what you love, and loving yourself entirely for who you are. I practice yoga every day. I practice because it makes me FEEL good, and therefore helps me be a better person. Not because of how my body will look after regular practice. I wear makeup when I want to, not because I need to cover something up.
If you’re the type of person that can’t handle seeing themselves in pictures or videos, or how your voice sounds on an answering machine, I have some exercises for you.
If you have a smart phone, camera, or just the voicemail on your telephone, record yourself for one minute talking about someone who you admire or think highly of. This could be a pet, child, spouse, parent, friend, teacher, etc. Pretend you are talking to someone else in the room about all the wonderful things about this special person. Then play it back. Play it over and over and over again. Listen to how you sound. You’ll get used to hearing how your voice sounds. Then record yourself pretending to talk to someone else, except this time saying the same wonderful things about yourself. Play it over and over and pay attention to how you sound. Keep recording yourself and playing It back until the same passion and love in your voice for describing the person you love, comes out when talking about yourself.
This is a small step for body confidence and working on that self love that works for me! I was severely overweight in childhood, I birthed two children. I know how damaging it is to live with body image struggles. So let’s get out of that mentality!
Two other small but effective exercises??
1) When someone compliments you, say “thank you” and that’s it. Nothing else. It’s time to accept the fact that you are a beautiful person inside and out, and someone recognized it.
2) If you’re one that always apologizes for every little thing, that in reality is not your fault, quit saying sorry!!!! It is unnecessary and is damaging to your character.
Remember, we do not choose the bodies we have. We do have to take care of them though. How we look does not ever, define who we are. Remember that when looking at other people as well. Listen to your body, and treat it well, but treat the person inside the body even better. If you don’t, you’re going to miss out on some pretty amazing experiences this life had to offer. You have a purpose in this life to live with passion and intention. You deserve happiness and love, but you need to show yourself that first before expecting others to show it towards you. Love your body entirely, every hair, freckle, dark circle, padding and wrinkle!!
Life is too short!
Here’s to your health!