Never Happy With Your Body?

So we’ve noticed a trend with our blogs, when we put “fat loss,”“hormones” or “10 minutes” in the title we get lots of hits, however, when we write about body acceptance and confidence this advice gets the most shares. It made me feel a little sad as it suggests a lot of people are unhappy with their body and searching for ways to lose weight but ultimately just want to like themselves a little more. They also have ten minutes max to do this it seems! I’ve been through a similar journey and thought I would share some tips and advice that have helped me along the way.

Role Of Body Acceptance & Confidence In Health

I discuss this a lot with the awesome life coach Sarah Doyle on our podcast Fit Girls Talk and we’ll be covering it in-depth at the Fitter Food Academy. Body dysmorphia and physical insecurities are a ticking time bomb right now with the explosion of social media and ‘aspirational’ physiques being thrust in our face day in, day out. I used to be crippled by these feelings myself, particularly upon entering the fitness industry. I constantly compared myself to others and never felt my body was good enough, I made some unhealthy efforts to get “shredded” believing people would respect and listen to me more. The more I have come to understand the body and optimal health, the more I’ve been able to let go of these goals because none of them embody health for me any longer. I have developed a true passion for holistic health and that helps me successfully inspire people every single day, more than any six pack. Take yourself through the following steps and you can join me :-

1. Gain Perspective

Holistic health is a big part of your own happiness. Striving for a six pack was the most stressful, angry, miserable existence I could ever describe. It basically involved eating less, exercising more and not much else. I’ve managed to get back to a place where I can head out for a run, go for a walk with Hamish, eat dark chocolate or just sit and breathe deeply for ten minutes because all of them nourish my body in different ways and have a positive impact on me. I no longer have obsessive compulsive lists about the miles I need to clock up, how many training sessions I need to do, calories, macros, blah blah. Exercise and nutrition are just a couple tools in your giant box of health and happiness, they are helpful but if used in the wrong way they can be incredibly destructive. Take a moment to ask yourself this:

If I drop an inch from my troublesome area:

  1. Would my partner or family love me more?
  2. Would my friends like me more?
  3. Would I be more successful in my career?
  4. Would I change lives?
  5. Would I achieve great things without those extra inches?

Hopefully by reflecting on the above you’re realising that little about your life would really change, so ask yourself why you are investing hours, days and years focusing on this? In fact, if you spent as much time doing activities that have been proven to make us happier like helping others, dancing, singing, creative hobbies and being in nature, you would be too busy laughing to even notice the extra wobbly bits. When we’re happy we don’t need to abuse exercise or follow disordered eating habits to try and “control” our emotions.

2. Don’t Fight Your Body

I’m reading a book about dying, sounds morbid I know but I have deep rooted fear of losing loved ones and this book was recommended by my friend CJ who experienced some deep loss in his life. The book is called Enjoy Every Sandwich and it’s the story of a guy diagnosed with terminal cancer. He discusses the end of his life where he chooses not to “fight” cancer or death itself but rather to make the most of his final experiences in life. He uses the attitude of gratitude to reflect upon his time on earth and how amazing it’s been with his wonderful wife, children and the job he loves; a cardiologist who teaches nutrition, yoga and meditation to his patients. His time has been cut short but he adapts to this by knowing he made the most of life and refuses to spend his precious remaining days being miserable and depressed.

If you bring this back to yourself, could you say the same? Are you making the most of life or have you spent the last 24 hours dwelling on the size of your thighs? Maybe you’re not fighting death but you are fighting your body by wasting your one precious life on hating it when you have dreams to achieve, countries to travel to, people to love and laugh with and lives to change. You can do all of these things if you wish to but not if you’re stuck on a crosstrainer all week trying to increase the gap between your thighs. Many of us are fighting our bodies every single day, it’s time consuming, exhausting and quite frankly pointless. We’ve been given this incredible piece of kit that can do awesome things if we just work together in harmony. Your body is your best bud, so treat it like one!

3. Embrace Emotional Freedom

A big part of body acceptance involves developing an emotional freedom and letting go of some of body ideals. One thing the author of Enjoy Every Sandwich mentions is the incredible sense of emotional freedom he gained when he let go and accepted his role as a cancer patient. He could cry, laugh and experience a huge variety of feelings because his mind wasn’t in tightly regulated, stress mode any longer. When we fixate on the perfect figure we become very rigid in our thinking, our stress hormones are dominating our thought patterns, we are being driven by fear and anxiety and an overarching need to maintain control. This leads you to place huge importance on things that really aren’t significant and spend our days sweating the small stuff.

I’ve really taken this on board; we’re working hard on several projects at the moment but I do daily gratitude thoughts (especially when the negative chatter kicks in) and these daily habits have really helped me. I’m able to let go of things that would usually eat me up. Each day I prioritise balancing my body by kicking back when needed to keep the creative, happy hormones flowing. This allows you to develop a more carefree, positive attitude that helps you begin to love what you see in the mirror and truly realise how awesome you are.

4. Kick ‘Fat Days’ Out the Door

I still have these, I’d be lying if I said all the above works 24/7 and you can generally find me admiring myself all day long in the mirror 😉 Matt really highlighted the lunacy of fat days to me recently by applying some bloke logic and much needed sarcasm to the situation: “Really? You were fine yesterday, getting fat in 24 hours is nothing short of impressive!” However, I have noticed a pattern, these days tend to occur when I’m tired and run down. Even though I’m aware of the need for a balanced lifestyle, having a business is a bit like having a baby in that we could easily work around the clock to make sure it’s okay. Sleep often suffers as a result and sometimes I find myself shattered, overwhelmed and snappy and the first person I’ll often take this out on is me – enter the fat & ugly day! My experience and understanding of this now allows me to spot the early warning signs (usually a tantrum because we’ve run out teabags or something), I can then work on kicking these thoughts out the door by ditching the coffee that day, going for a long walk with Hamish and having an early night so I can get back to my happy self as soon as possible. It looks like I’m not the only one either:

5. Take A Complimentary Selfie

As part of Fitter Food I’ve really had to take myself out my comfort zone by appearing in lots of photos, videos and podcasts. The critical side of me always hated seeing and hearing myself but the more I work to help others and see the bigger picture, the less I really care. In fact the more I challenge myself in this way the more I actually like myself for it and feel proud of what I’ve achieved. On our members site, Fitter 365, we’re asking everyone to post up a complimentary selfie. They have to compliment themselves for their investment in their health and post a smiley selfie. It’s awesome to see individuals making positive changes to their lifestyle and loving themselves more as a result. You can join the fun here for just £1 ——– > www.fitter365.com.

8 Ways to Embrace Self-Love and Thank Your Body

Saying “thank you” to others is something you learn at an early age. But how often do you thank yourself?

Saying “thank you” to your body is one of the most important things you can do, especially when you’re pursuing a life of self-love and wellness. It’s not a habit that comes naturally because society is constantly telling us to change ourselves to fit a socially accepted standard.

I’ve committed my life to help change society’s expectations and make self-love and body acceptance a mainstream concept.

Here are eight ways you can appreciate your body with simple rituals for self-love and wellness.

1. Meditation

Meditation is a beautiful way to center yourself. When life is stressful or your mind is racing, you can always turn to meditation. It’s also accessible to everyone because you can do it anywhere. All you need to do is find a quiet, comfortable space, close your eyes, and simply breathe.

If you don’t know where to start, or you just prefer guided meditation, I would recommend downloading an app. There are lots of great ones out there! One of my favorites is called Insight Timer. It has 5- to 60-minute or longer meditations to help you relax and rebalance. When you dedicate yourself to easing your mind every day, you will reap the benefits of meditation as your own wellness advocate.

2. Mindful movement

Moving your body in a mindful way is much different than exercising or working out. This isn’t about forcing yourself to do something you hate. This is about tuning in to your body and asking yourself what you need. One of my favorite ways to move my body is walking outdoors with my dogs. I look at the sky, the flowers, the trees, and the beauty all around me. I become present and aware. I love the way my body feels.

Find a way to move that makes both your body and mind feel good. Maybe a hike or a yoga class is what you’re looking for? If you haven’t found your mindful movement of choice, keep looking. Because the best part about finding it, is that you get to choose something you enjoy!

3. A good read

When I first started exploring self-love, I really didn’t know what it meant. I knew how to love someone else, but how the heck do I love myself? My personal self-love journey eventually began at a yoga class. As I walked into the studio, I turned to my left and saw a book that instantly sang to me. The title was, “The Mastery of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz. I picked it up and purchased it right there. Little did I know my life would change forever.

Finding a book (or books!) that speak to you is an extremely important part to self-love and wellness for the mind. Go lose yourself in a bookstore. Walk through the self-love book aisle and see what chooses you.

3. Surround yourself with joy

Where do you spend most of your time? Is it your desk at work? Is it your car? When you look around your surroundings, do you feel a burst of joy? If not, the next step is to create an environment you absolutely love.

My favorite things to surround myself with are fresh flowers, positive messages, pictures of people I love, salt lamps, essential oils, and my favorite books. It’s an act of self-love when you are in a comfortable environment full of the things that bring you joy. When you can smile by just looking around, you’re practicing self-love!

4. Ask for help

Self-love is asking for help. When you’re having a hard time, you’ll be surprised that most people do want to be there for you. It may be hard to be vulnerable and ask for help, but one of the best ways to get through a tough time is getting the support you need.

It’s okay to not be okay. The point is, you don’t have to go through it alone. Asking for the support you need is a gift that you get to give yourself.

5. Find your place of bliss

We should all have that one place we can go to and feel blissful. For example, when I need a pick-me-up or a place to rejuvenate my soul, I head to a coffee shop. Something about sitting down at a table, surrounded by the positive energy, working on my computer, and sipping on a latte fills my needs.

Think about where you love to go. Is it a walk along the beach? A hangout with friends? A workout class? An art class? Self-love is about filling up your own cup. When your cup is full, you can better serve others.

6. Slow down

We live in such a fast-paced environment. Give yourself permission to slow down, enjoy the special moments, and take care of yourself. Here are a few different ways to slow down in your daily life.

Eat slowly. Every time you eat, make it a point to sit down without distractions. Make sure you chew slowly and actually taste what you are eating. This simple practice is a game changer in how you feel in your body every day.

Breathe. During your day, take a couple minutes to just breathe. Take 10 deep breaths and check in with your body. Allow yourself to re-center and refocus before you move on with your daily tasks.

Rest. If you can tell that your body or your mind is overly exhausted, it’s important you allow yourself to give your body what it needs. Going to bed early without finishing the dishes is okay. Skipping your workout so you can get home early to veg out on the couch is okay. It’s okay to let your body rest. After all, it’s the vessel that carries us through every moment — it needs your attention and love. Resting in your own way will help you rejuvenate much faster and feel good in your body.

7. Mirror work

I’m sure you look in the mirror daily. This can be a very negative experience for many because of the unkind inner dialogue you hear. Don’t listen to those words. Instead, when you look in the mirror, look yourself in the eyes and say “I love you.” Do it, even if you feel silly!

Self-talk is proven to work. You can also put up a few notes on your mirror with positive, loving reminders. Waking up every day with a kind and loving message to yourself and your body will change the relationship you have with yourself in the most positive way.

8. Gratitude

Having a morning and nighttime routine that’s dedicated to gratitude is an amazing way to boost your self-love. And all you need is a journal to start.

When you wake up every morning and each night before you sleep, write down three things for which you’re grateful. It’s a beautiful way to honor yourself and your life. It’s a perfect time to say thank you to your body!

Takeaway

Remember, self-love is a multifaceted concept. Like any other relationship in your life, the one you have with yourself requires nurturing, patience, and kindness. There are many ways to practice self-love, and these are just a few. Explore different methods of caring for yourself, and find what makes you feel joyous and healthy — in your mind, body, and soul.

It can begin with a simple “thank you.”

Lauren McAulay is a body love healer, self-love advocate, and co-founder of The Body Love Society. She firmly believes that everyone should feel good in their own bodies and feel free around food. Keep up with her on Instagram.

6 Daily Practices for Learning to Love Your Body and Your Self

I’ve suffered from body dysmorphia since I was a young girl. Though I used to compete in fitness competitions, train twice a day, look “great” in a swimsuit, and eat only my non-GMO, organic, clean, free-range meals, I still wasn’t happy with my body.”>

I was going through the motions of life, hating the way I looked because I only wanted to be perfect. And to be clear, perfection is subjective. It’s also pretty much nonexistent.

RELATED: Tips For Cultivating a Positive Body Image for Your Female Clients

Happiness Is Not a Body Shape

Wanting to look perfect is one of the biggest thieves of joy. It trains your brain to think you’re not what you should be. Day after day, I fell into the trap, thinking I should look a certain way because then and only then would I . Only when I looked that way would I win my fitness competitions and finally be happy.

Me, figuratively and literally examining my body.

I thought this way for years. I trained myself to think there were flaws in my body because I spent so much time surfing the web, looking at Photoshopped images and thinking they were real.

After years of this torment, I had enough. I knew I was doing this whole “health” thing very wrong. I had taken it so far that I no longer looked at the big picture of health, but instead, I sought out ways to obsess in an unhealthy manner. Being able to obsess gave me a distraction from all the other tiny details in life I didn’t want to think about. Before I knew it, my obsession became a deeply rooted belief in my head.

“I had taken it so far that I no longer looked at the big picture of health, but instead, I sought out ways to obsess in an unhealthy manner.”

After my second fitness show, I took a step back to examine my attitude. After four months of dieting and training, I still wasn’t happy with my body.

“Wait,” you say. “She wasn’t finally satisfied?” No, I had the body I wanted so badly and yet it didn’t lead me to ultimate happiness and satiation. It led me to severe bloating, an upset stomach, an anxiety-filled mind, and a slow metabolism. That’s where it really led me.

This was a huge wake-up call for me. I knew I couldn’t keep waiting for this happiness thing to magically happen because of the shape of my body. I had to look elsewhere.

6 Practices to Create Unconditional Happiness

With diligence and perseverance, I began six practices that helped me to create my own unconditional happiness. These practices unveiled a mental peace I had never before experienced. I no longer stressed about being perfect or meeting made-up standards. Instead, I loved my body for simply existing.

RELATED: Delivering Happiness: The True Job of a Coach

1. Say Goodbye to Social Media (for a Bit)

One of the biggest things I did for myself was reduce time spent on social media. I was basically telling myself to watch the highlight reels of other women, and that’s it. I never saw their tough times or struggles, just their perfect morning abs and perfectly portioned Tupperware dinners. This made me think negatively about my own life and body. I reduced my social media time and began to un-follow accounts that made me think any less of myself.

RELATED: Social Media and Fitness: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

2. Get a Pet or a Date

Either one of these helps, and I suggest doing both. Having more interactions with people in a romantic setting is good for many reasons, including your self-awareness. You get to talk about your goals and dreams while listening to the stories of others. You’ll also realize you don’t criticize others for their extra body fat or eating habits, and hopefully this will transfer over to how kind you are to your own body.

Pets help because you can no longer focus completely on yourself. You learn to give and take, and to love unconditionally.

RELATED: Developing Self-Awareness: A Messy, Ugly, Five-Step Process

3. Trade Morning Cardio for a Morning Walk

While this may seem simple, putting away the rushed cardio-filled mornings makes quite a difference in your mindset for the day. Starting your day with an alarm followed by sprints puts your body into a state of fear and anxiety. This can transfer over to how you feel about work, food, relationships, and everything else that follows in your day. Instead, start your morning off with a peaceful walk around the block that will contribute to self-awareness and wholeness.

RELATED: Walking: The Most Underrated Movement of the 21st Century

4. Give Intuitive Eating a Chance

This means eating what sounds good to your body and eating until you’re satisfied. It may not sound too complex, but when you view food as fuel, and only fuel, your intuition gets lost in the midst of all that health knowledge.

“I had stopped trusting myself to know what to eat and when to eat because I was never without a meal plan or diet coach.”

Realigning yourself with your taste buds and hunger signals is a crucial component of building self-trust. I had stopped trusting myself to know what to eat and when to eat because I was never without a meal plan or diet coach. Learning to trust my instincts was scary, but it made an incredible impact on how I view the food on my plate and, as a result, my body.

RELATED: What Are You Really Hungry For? 4 Things You Might Be Craving

5. Dress the Body You Have Now

Do you still have that swimsuit you wore when you were a size four, hoping to fit into it again? Do you have those slim pants you wore back in college hanging on a rack in your closet, thinking maybe, just maybe they’ll be on your body again someday?

If these clothes are hanging around as constant reminders, then it’s time to ditch them. Dress the body you have now, not the body you had then. Keeping clothing around that doesn’t fit you is a subconscious reminder that something “needs to change.” That kind of thinking isn’t healthy and is putting you into a state of stress and self-disrespect.

RELATED: Why Female Athletes Should Toss the Scale and Get a New Perspective

6. Respect and Honor Other Bodies, Too

How can we imagine we’ll be able to respect our bodies unless we also respect others? It’s time we collectively decide to respect every shape and size and honor every physique.

Fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, tall-shaming, short-shaming – all of it needs to end. If you’re pointing out flaw in others, then you’re simply projecting your own inner fears. When you begin to see other women and men as the beautiful people they are, you will have a much easier time loving who you are.

RELATED: Strong Is Still Strong, Skinny Is Still Skinny

Remember How a Healthy and Natural Body Feels

Though all these practices are helpful and will promote body respect, I must also implore you to start thanking your body for its ability to do all it does. We’re only human. We’re made of flesh and bones. We live and we die.

“It’s time we collectively decide to respect every shape and size and honor every physique.”

The media doesn’t present to us natural, healthy bodies as often as we like, so it’s up to us individuals to block out the nonsense and stand by what we know is true. Remember what a healthy and natural body looks and feels like, and aim for that. Don’t aim for the unrealistic or unattainable because doing so will only decrease your respect for your already amazing body, and that’s simply no way to live.

Photos 2 & 3 courtesy of .

How You Feel About Your Body Has a *Huge* Affect on How Happy You Are

ICYMI: There’s a major body positive movement happening right now (just let these women show you why our #LoveMyShape Movement is so freakin’ empowering). And while it’s easy to get on board with the message, sometimes loving your own shape is easier said than done. (Is the Body Positive Movement All Talk?)

But in case everything you already know about self-love isn’t convincing enough, a new study published in the journal Body Image found that how you feel about your body has major impacts on how you feel about the rest of your life and even how you act in your daily encounters.

Researchers from Chapman University in California surveyed over 12,000 participants about their body image and attitudes about their overall happiness and satisfaction with life while collecting height and weight data. They found that-for both men and women-body image plays a big role in how satisfied with our lives we feel overall. For women, satisfaction with their appearance was the third largest predictor for how good they felt about the rest of their lives, coming in behind financial satisfaction and satisfaction with their love lives. And, surprisingly, for men it was the second strongest predictor, only falling behind financial satisfaction. Woah. (Check out .)

What’s super depressing is that only 20 percent of women reported feeling really good about their bod, and the 80 percent with a bad body attitude reported less satisfaction with their sex lives and lower overall self-esteem. Hating on your body also leads to higher levels of neuroticism, more fearful and anxious attachment styles and interestingly enough, more hours spent in front of the television. Talk about a vicious cycle. (Don’t Let Haters Squash Your Self-Confidence!)

But there is good news: Embracing your body with positive vibes leads to more openness, conscientious and extroversion, according to the study. So next time you start down the fat talk rabbit hole, ask yourself if it’s worth sabotaging how satisfied you are with your life overall.

  • By Macaela Mackenzie @MacaelaMackenzi

Why It’s Totally Okay To Be Happy In Your Body

Thick, thin, short, tall, big boned, muscular, it’s all so beautiful. Growing up in this media-filled world is definitely hard, especially when you’re young, vulnerable, and impressionable. People are constantly ridiculed for being too thin, or even just for being bony, though they may not be able to help it. On the other hand, articles and magazine covers about the “perfect bikini body” and “how to lose belly fat in fifteen days” flood newsstands and social media. Young men and women can walk into any store in a mall and find that they don’t sell jeans in their size in the store, only online, just because a size 14 is too big to put out on display.

But heres the thing: who the hell cares what they think?

Being happy with your appearance and who you are on the inside is one of the most important things in this world. I can almost guarantee you that you won’t be able to walk through life without at least one person telling you that something about your appearance is wrong. I beg of you not to believe them. Those people have no idea how your body got to that stage. They don’t know the personal story that you hold that your beautiful body carries. It’s impossible for them to know because they aren’t you. Its your job to tell yourself how you are and should be feeling about your body, not somebody else’s.

I’m on the curvier side myself, and I’ve done some pretty crazy things to lose weight to make other people happy, instead of doing things for myself. Once the weight was lost, I realized that I wasn’t as content with myself as I was 20 pounds ago. Turns out, I liked my love handles, the tuck in my back gave me more curve in dresses, my jeans fit much better when there was more to fill them with, and I didn’t have to give up grilled cheeses. The confidence that I gained (pun intended) when I realized that it didn’t matter what other people thought was uncanny. It’s still great when people tell me that my body is beautiful, but if they don’t, its okay. Because I know it is.

So, the next time that you’re looking yourself in the mirror in your new shirt and you feel like people can see how thin or thick you are, decide for yourself if you like the way that you look, instead of thinking about the way other people are going to perceive you. It’s your beautiful body to rock, and not theirs. Wear that crop top, rock those baggy jeans, sport that tight dress that hugs you in all the right places, but do it for you, because it’s totally okay, natural, and amazing to be happy in your body.

Being happy with your body

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