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Monday, March 2, 2015

You Can't Weigh Beauty: Redefining Body Image

Happiness Is Not a Body Shape 

I received a great response to my "How to be Confident" blog post last week.  So, this week I decided to talk about something that I myself have always struggled with and that is body image issues.

If you've been following my blog or follow me on social media, you may know that I compete in beauty pageants.  You may be thinking to yourself, "There is no way SHE has body image issues!"  But, what you may not know is that this is something I struggled with for many years.  I am not going to go into any great detail about what I went through because this blog isn't about me... This blog is about learning to stop hating our bodies!  The hate-fest on our bodies needs to stop because all we are really doing when we project that negativity onto ourselves is digging ourselves deep into a dark and gloomy rabbit hole.  My hope is that by the end of this blog, you will no longer feel enslaved by someone else's opinion of how you "should" look.

Whether we realize it or not, we all have some sort of expectation of how our body "should" look.  The media and society tell us ALL the time that in order to be happy, liked, and loved; we need to look certain way.  My challenge to you this month is: instead of focusing on changing your body, focus on celebrating it!

5 Practices to Redefine Your Body Image 

Make a list of the things your body enables you do.  I can walk, run, jump, bike, swim, etc.  There are a lot of people who aren't able to do many of the simple things we regularly take for granted.  Reflect on this list when you are frustrated with your body.  Maybe you didn't reach your goal weight this month? or maybe you gained a few pounds.  When you have moments like these, remember your body is pretty dang awesome and be thankful for the amazing things you are able to do! 

Ditch Social Media.
Oh, social media!  One of my favorite quotes is, "Don't compare your behind the scenes with other people's highlight reel."  Do NOT beat yourself up and compare yourself with others... especially based on their social media posts.  Many people only post the positive and not the negative in life. There are a few times each year when I take a break from all social media.  It influences us so much more than we know and I think it's important to step away from it every now and then.

Mirror Talk. 
A lot of us look in the mirror and often think thoughts such as:
I'm fat 
I hate my stomach 
I wish my thighs were smaller 
If I could lose this much weight, I would be happy 
I hate my arms 
These pants make me look fat 
My skin is ugly  
This needs to stop! For the month of March, I encourage you to start looking in the mirror and telling yourself, "I am beautiful inside and out."  Sweet talk yourself up... talk to yourself the way you want to be talked to by others! Tell yourself how beautiful you are!

Ditch the enablers 
We are bombarded daily with pictures of photoshopped bodies that are simply unrealistic.  The media plays a huge role in bringing down our self-esteem but they are not the only ones responsible! Our family and friends play a role as well.  Make sure you are surrounding yourself with people who are supporting, uplifting, and motivating you!

True Beauty 
Remember that true beauty is not skin deep.  Sparkling From The Inside Out was titled this way because I truly believe that we must work on the inside in order to shine on the outside.  Beauty has nothing to do with your body, it has everything to do with your mind!

Keep in mind that the key to happiness isn't having a perfect body, the secret is learning to love your body and creating a positive self image.  A healthy body serves little purpose without a healthy mind to accompany it.