Healthier You: Body Image

1 Jun

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 I am starting my first guest blog EVER with my one and only BFF. yuppers you guys are in for a treat with learning how the “klamb rolls..” I talk about her a ton and so now is your chance to give her some blog love on her awesome blog! If you love to travel, love to read, love photography, love to laugh this is the blog for you!  After this post I know you are going to want to be her BFF too, but alas I am going to keep her all to myself. What better way to kick off a Healthier You then by looking first at loving the person you are right now in order to get to the healthier you.  So without further ado my BFF’s take on a “healthier you” ENJOY!

Well hello, Renn’s Nest blogosphere!  While my best friend is off in Vegas and hopefully doing some decidedly UNhealthy things, she has asked me to write a guest blog about healthy living.  I love the irony!

 She said I have free reign to talk about any sort of health topic, soooo I guess you could call this post “being healthy without losing your sanity.”

I think I have a fairly healthy lifestyle (large bowls of ice cream notwithstanding), but it has always been important to me to make sure that body image does not take over my life.  It is one thing for your health to take over your life—if you need to lose weight to improve yourself medically, that’s something that you need to focus on 100%.  But if you’re just losing weight to drop a dress size, or look great in a new swimsuit, I don’t think it’s mentally healthy to obsess about it 24/7.

 This is not to say that I don’t have fat days.  Hello, I’m female!  But I firmly believe that everyday does NOT need to be a fat day.

 So, in today’s completely image-crazed world, with magazines full of Gwenyth Paltrows and Victoria Beckhams, how in the world do you AVOID going insane over body image?  Here’s three quick tips that I use to avoid obsessing over the mirror:

 

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#1 Don’t let the scale define you!

I know a lot of people that have a very unhealthy relationship with their scales.  They get on them daily and obsess over the number that the stupid machine spits out.  It’s enough to make you want to throw the thing out the window.  And half the time, it’s not even telling you what you need to know.

What do I mean by that?  Let’s say you start an exercise program.  You’re burning fat and gaining some muscle.  A few weeks go by, and you’re feeling great—pants fitting better, endurance is up, etc.  Then you step on the scale…and it has barely moved.  The depression is INSTANT.  You must be doing something wrong if you haven’t lost any weight.  WTF!

But think about it this way.  First, if you’re losing fat and gaining muscle—muscle is heavier by volume than fat.  So you might not see quite the shift in weight that you expected.  Second, (and this is my most important point), who gives a donkey-crap what the scale says, if you feel and look better??  Isn’t that the whole point—feeling better about yourself?  A number on a scale doesn’t have to play any role in that.

Again, for some people it may be necessary to reach a certain weight, at least to get within a healthy BMI range.  But once you’re in or near that range, get rid of that scale—all it’s going to do is make you feel less awesome about yourself than you actually are.

 #2 Buy clothes that fit.

I give this piece of advice based on very personal experience.  When I was in college, I was definitely NOT in the shape that I am now, thanks to zero physical activity and unlimited amounts of dining hall ice cream (lets see how many times I can mention ice cream in this post).  Around sophomore/junior year, I gained some poundage (a delayed freshman 15, if you will), and suddenly, my clothes weren’t looking so good anymore.  I will admit, here and now, that nearly all of my jeans had belt loops that were broken, because I was always pulling on them so hard to get them up over my butt.  NOT good.

Finally, senior year I admitted to myself that I was no longer the size 6 that I had been since the beginning of time.  As painful as it was, I forced myself to go out and buy clothes in my new size (and no, it wasn’t an 8).  This was probably one of the less enjoyable shopping trips of my life, but once it was over, I was VERY glad that I did it.  Suddenly, I wasn’t spending my days tweaking and pulling and adjusting my clothes.  I got dressed in the morning, and my clothes looked smooth, not bunchy.  It was an instant image boost.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t be afraid of the stigma you assign to a higher clothing size—go out and buy it!  And then use that as your motivator when you’re working out.  I can tell you (also from experience) that it feels great to give those clothes away when they get too big on you!

#3 Remember life is short—enjoy it!!

This is my bottom line.  My goal for myself is to be healthy, but I’m not going to let my workout/diet goals get in the way of everyday pleasures.  Skip a gym workout to sleep in with the hubs on a Saturday morning?  Yes, please.  Indulge in a bowl of ice cream after a long work day?  Mmmmm ice cream.  But it’s all about moderation.  I can’t eat ice cream for every meal (much to my disappointment), but trying to go without it completely is unrealistic.  Just like beating yourself up for working out 4 days instead of 5 this week is not worth the trouble.  Go easy on yourself!  Making healthy choices doesn’t mean a lifetime of non-stop running and celery sticks.

Hopefully this gives you a few things to think about the next time you look in the mirror and think, “Ugh.”  Be nice to yourself!  Physical health is important, but so is your mental health, so make sure you cut yourself some slack on the road to getting fit.

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