HAPPY NEW YEAR! As I snuggled up in bed this morning and watching the snow fall, a smile stuck to my face as I scrolled through photos from 2015. The memories brought back the resolutions I made throughout the year…when I wanted to clear my mind in Bali, visit the new hometowns of both of my daughters, take a hike during every month of the year (snow or shine!) and connect with friends such as Dr. Fabrizio Mancini (author of The Power of Self Healing) and Dave Nemeth (from Fox TV’s The Place).
2015 was truly a year of inspiration. But as I ponder on my resolutions for 2016, I wonder…If we are all motivated to have our best bodies ever this year, why is it so hard for us to look in the mirror and accept our body throughout the transformation?
There’s no denying that this debate about Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and how she’s aged has sparked an important conversation about body image, and how women view themselves. Every morning, that reflection the mirror can be a deeply emotional experience for many of us. Since most of my newsletters focus on food and fitness, this year, I want to focus on this deeper topic of body image. Why? Because if you don’t have a positive relationship with your body, no diet or exercise plan is going to be enough.
There’s no denying that we all have little areas we’d like to shape up, or trade in. But with the media constantly barraging us with an unrealistic (and often unhealthy) idea of the so-called perfect body, it’s important to “turn down the volume” on that racket and gain some perspective. Our obsession with being “thin” is actually a pet peeve of mine – I often joke that I’m a “fitness expert,” not a “skinny expert.”
If body image issues are plaguing you, it’s time to gain some perspective and take action. Treat it like any other addiction: The first step is to identify the problem at its root. That starts with the language you use, or the images that come to mind, when you think about your body. For example, if you often tell yourself that you have a “fat, ugly stomach,” you can stop right there. The problem isn’t your stomach – even if it is an area you’d like to change or improve. The problem lies in the way you “talk” to yourself. So try being your own best friend. In other words, you would never say to a friend, “You have a fat, ugly stomach.” That rule goes for your own self-talk, too. Instead, start with the facts (and nothing but the facts). Perhaps the true statement in this case would be, “I have a 36-inch waist and I want to tone my midsection.” Now you’re talking.
Every time I work with someone on an exercise program, I emphasize the importance of positive body image. Not only for your mental and emotional health, but because you can’t underestimate the “little voice” that drives you out the door in the morning for a walk, or a workout, or a yoga class. If that voice is a negative one, chances are good that you’ll do whatever you can to avoid it – which often leads to giving up completely. However, if you can teach that voice to sing a different tune, you’ll begin to love the skin you’re in. And best of all? You’ll feel great naked, no matter what.
Like any skill, learning to appreciate and love your body simply takes practice. We all know the first step is to shift your mindset so that you view yourself through a positive, softer “lens.” But how does that process really happen? Here are some doable tips to help change the way you view your body:
1- Zoom Out!
Don’t waste time breaking down every flaw you see in the mirror. Instead, “zoom out” to take in the big picture – almost like a work of art. And avoid those extremely magnifying mirrors that create a “funhouse” effect. They distort your image and encourage too much self-scrutinizing – and there’s nothing fun about that.
2 – Lose The Fat Fear
Even though you may want to lose 10 pounds of belly fat, approach your eating plan as if you’re on a mission to boost your endurance, lower your heart rate, and gain more energy. By shifting your focus from the fear of fat to the benefits of being fit, you’ll find the motivation to keep going.
3 – Remember The Magic Of Movement
A surefire way to get more comfortable with your body is to simply get moving. Daily exercise can really shake off those thoughts of self-doubt, whether through indoor/outdoor walking, barre, or even some Latin dancing. Check out the NEW 30-Day New You Kickoff which includes daily workouts and step-by-step tools so you can feel comfortable in your own skin.
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• Think about these emails as delivering a message that you can absorb TODAY. It’s not about counting the days—or the changes you make, but about making changes that count.