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Five Ways To Love Your Body

Our bodies are amazing and body acceptance is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. You can't enjoy life if you can't enjoy yourself, so here are five ways to help you start loving you just as you are.

Fitday Editor

Let’s talk about your body and what an amazing piece of machinery it is. Seriously, it has 270 bones at birth (206 by adulthood) that need to be protected, 78 organs that need to keep running, about 50 hormones that must be kept in check and 10 major interconnected systems that must be working together in order for you to function properly. When you think about it, your body is probably one of the most complex machines around!

But when many of us look at our bodies, all we see is imperfection and dissatisfaction. We constantly compare ourselves to others and then put our bodies through insane amounts of stress to try and fit it into what someone else has deemed the “gold” standard that will bring us everlasting happiness, acceptance and success. I personally have never found that how I look on the outside makes me successful and happy. OK, maybe I have felt happy for a few days after dropping a few pounds, but then I remember the hours I had to spend running, the food I couldn’t eat, the constant headache, the hanger. During that time, I was definitely not happy or able to be successful at anything. And, since I had to work so hard to get there, I was going to have to continue to the same routine if I wanted to win the battle against my body.

Why do we hate the thing that gives us the ability to move, think, enjoy life? I don’t have the answer to that, but I do know that you can stop the madness and find contentment with your body just as it is. Here are five ways to help you start loving what you’ve got:

1. Be Your Own Best Friend

Are you really going to tell your best friend that he is a lazy, fat slob? Or that she has thunder thighs? If you wouldn’t say it to someone else, don’t say it about yourself. Spend time getting to know your body and be a good friend to it.

2. Re-Evaluate Your Social Media

Social media gives you a snapshot of someone’s life. How many people post “bad” photos? If all you see are pictures of a “perfect” life and body, you can’t help but think negatively about yourself. Unfollow the unrealistic and follow people who promote body confidence.

3. Dress For The Body You Have

Do you have clothes that you haven’t been able to wear in years? Have you kept them because you think maybe someday I will fit into them again? It’s time to donate because every time you look at them, it’s a reminder that you are not good enough as you are. But have you ever thought that maybe if you dressed for the body you have now, you might like what you see?

4. Be Active For Fun, Not For A Calorie Burn

Take time to find activities that make you feel good about your body and that you enjoy. Fitness should be fun, not another item to check off your “to do” list. Try something new and focus on how it makes you feel, not how it might make you look.

5. Forget The Numbers

Numbers don’t tell you how healthy or unhealthy your body is, so don’t let the scale determine your self-worth. I confess that I haven’t weighed myself in over six years mainly because at one point in my life, the scale was either my best friend or worst enemy. Many weight charts, including the BMI, don’t distinguish between fat, muscle and bone or deal with fat distribution. You are not a number, so don’t put your life on hold trying to be one.

When you live in a culture that places so much emphasis on looks, learning to love your body can seem like an impossible task. But think how boring the world would be if we all looked the same. Love yourself because you are different and be self-confident because of what you have achieved. And don’t forget that your body knows how to run best, so listen to it.

Joanne Perez, MS, RDN, LD is a Savannah-based dietitian who, after 20 years of food service and clinical dietetics, made the switch to nutrition communications and all things tech. She doesn't believe in diets and thinks that life is too short to be anything but happy and healthy at any weight. Read her blog, Real Bite Nutrition, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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