Every spring we ramp up to get our summer bods. Every new year we make a resolution to lose the holiday weight and get back in shape. What if this year we make a resolution to set realistic goals for ourselves, to accept our bodies, and to love ourselves more? Getting our head right regarding body image is crucial. Many of us have distorted body images of ourselves that damage us in many ways, but we also may have body image perceptions about others that contribute to the issues. Here are some ways to accept your body and love yourself more.

I believe that we need to be loud and determined about body shaming. Fat jokes are still regarded as funny and appropriate although we no longer allow shaming over color, intellectual issues or physical handicaps. Why is it still acceptable to treat people with weight issues as if they should be ashamed of themselves. It makes me sick and sad that body shaming is allowed in our society and culture.

I was in the DMV that other day and saw two older gentlemen sizing up women in the line. I overheard them talking about women’s bodies. They began to criticize a girl ahead of me in line. They were saying that she would be a “10” if she was a smaller size. 

If you find yourself getting body shamed, made fun of, or given the up-and-down glances of disdain, have no fear. Practice being true to yourself and standing tall in the midst of other people’s mean spirited actions and words. Be proud of who you are and practice letting go of people who are outright rude. Do we care what mean people they think anyway? No! It might be hurtful when someonse points out our insecurities but it takes a small person to pick on someone for their physical attributes. Let that sh!* go.

Being a certain size won’t make you as happy as you think.

I’m not going to tell you that if you meet weight loss goals, or get the muscles you crave that you won’t feel happier. Of course you will. But ultimatley, the saying “wherever you are, there you are” provides a true reality of the fact that your problems and fears and issues go with you no matter your physical appearance.

You can be a different size but it won’t resolve your issues. Make peace with the fact that you are loveable and worthwhile no matter what you weigh. Give up the spiral of self-hate that causes you to find excuses to not exercise and that trigger unhealthy eating. Love yourself at the size you are so that you can have the confidence to get out there and have fun, reach goals and do whatever makes you happy and feeds your soul, not your insecurities. 

If you are judging others for their weight and body type, stop.

If we are judging ourselves we are most certainly passing judgement on others. Maybe we see someone that looks like us and tell ourselves that they look terrible. Maybe we look at someone we want to look like and pass judgement on how happy they must be because they look a ccertain way. Remember that bodies put some of our issues on display but there are plenty of issues that are hidden. People of all shapres, sizes and weights are facing life’s hardships and life’s happiness regardless of what they look like. Rid yourself of judgements on yourself and others. It is a dangerous narrative to entertain.

Turning off the negative dialogue is not as easy as it should be.

It may be difficult to train your brain (and your heart) to accept the things about your body that you have spent so long hating. I don’t know about you, but I have carried self image issues with me since childhood, my teen years, and added more throughout adulthood. I found that body neutrality is a realistic place to start. I may not love everything about myself, but I can accept that I am “normal” compared to most real people. When you hear yourself talking negative about yourself, stop. Retrain yourself to speak kindly. Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend.  

Do you know that you are more than just your body?

Many of us were told what our good and bad qualities were by our caregivers. We were influenced by media and others around us. We were told what to think of our bodies, what we should accomplish in life and what our priorities should be. Take it from an ex-mormon raised in a dysfunctional home. The male dominated culture spoke volumes about my worth. My mother telling me I was worthless compounded what I was being taught that God wanted for me (learning how to be a soft spoken, obedient wife whose life purpose was to have babies to populate the church). Times have changed in many ways that let girls and women explore their own talents and desires. We can go after the things that make us happy and are free to be who we are. Being judged for our looks and size are holding a lot less weight than our actual weight. Be proud of all tings that make you who you are. 

Get in touch with things about your body that you can love and appreciate.

Change your mindset from bad body image to one of acceptance and love. Self-care is not just a popular catch phrase in social media, it is an important part of our lives that we must plan for anf follow through on. Pick some self-care that includes activities that get you in touch with your body in positive ways. The obvious things like yoga, meditation, and exercise are the perfect way to keep a schedule and see the progress your’re making. Other things like massages, pedicures, swimming and hiking are good things too.  

Educate yourself on nutrition knowing that food doesn’t need to be tied to emotions but is meant to nourish and fuel our bodies and minds.

Eating healthier and cleaner will make you feel like you are caring for yourself. You will relish in the health benefits as your body (and mind) feel so much better. Imagine balancing nutrition to create both energy and relaxation. To have a sharper mind, decreased anxiety and glowing skin. Learning about nutrition is actually a lot of fun! Educate yourself on ways to use nutrition to help get results that you want in life. 

Try things that you’ve wanted to do but thought you couldn’t do until you looked different.

Make a list of all the fun things you have wanted to do “once you get to the right weight”. Is it running a marathon, dating skydiving or taking a dance class? No matter what your interests are, you can get out there and have fun no matter what. No more letting your physical appearance stand in the way of your life. Get out there, love yourself, and have a great time. 

Let other people add to your confidence and absolutely refuse to accept fat shaming jokes, actions or dialog.

As I mentioned before, there is a societal allowance for making judgements and comments about physical appearance; mainly weight. We can change this into an unacceptable thing by standing up for ourselves and others. Standing up to someone who is making you at target of humiliation is definetaly difficult. So be prepared! Make a list of things that you could say to someone who is degrating others. Things like “I don’t accept your negative talk about my body”, or “People are more than their weight and it isn’t kind to speak negatively about others”. Choose to say something that points out their negative behavior while also pointing out that you are not accepting their judgement.

Let’s change this negativity and make it unacceptable.