A little bit of Googling shows plenty of articles out there with tips on how to LOOK your best in the buff, but – if you ask me – the real issue is in figuring out how to FEEL your best… how to love yourself! It doesn’t matter how textbook-perfect your tummy is or how KK-esque your butt is if you’re carrying negative thoughts about yourself.
The sad fact is that not many of us truly love the way we look when we strip it right back (I’m talking figuratively and literally). Instead of focusing on the things we love, we stare at all those bits that we wish were smaller/bigger/leaner/curvier/flatter/smoother.
So, how do you get from a place where you don’t really love what you see, to a place where you feel confident and happy? It’s part physical, part mental and – best of all – you’re the one in control. Check out these six steps to help you learn how to love yourself next time you ‘slip into something a little more comfortable’…
1. Exercise regularly
Sure, exercise is great for your body, but – just as importantly – it’s also great for your mind. Exercise releases endorphins, creating feelings of happiness. It can also help to boost your energy, improve body-image and self-esteem and help you sleep better. That’s what we in the business call a win-win-win-win-win (so, basically it’s lots of winning).
2. Improve your mental health
Ever been amazed by how confident you can feel one day, only to come crashing back through the floor the next? Your body can’t change that much within 24 hours, so it’s gotta be your brain letting that negative self-talk sneak in! Part of learning how to love yourself is about treating yourself kindly! Try practicing meditation and focusing on positivity – you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
3. Move more
Exercise isn’t just about running and gym sessions – it’s also about all the other movement in your life. It could be as simple as getting off the bus a couple of stops early, playing with your kids, mowing the lawn or catching up with friends over a walk. These little things add up to big things, helping you to burn more calories, and – over time – feel stronger, leaner and fitter. Check out my post on how to add incidental exercise to your life for more detailed ideas.
4. Beat the bloat
Bloating can be a killer – it’s painful, and it can take our confidence from high to low in a matter of minutes. To avoid that awful, post-meal bloating, try adding more leafy greens, kimchi, berries, cucumbers, bananas, papaya and ginger into your diet (although I don’t suggest eating them all in a single smoothie…). Each of the above foods contains anti-bloating properties that’ll help you avoid that painful feeling.
5. Love your perfect imperfections
When you’re learning how to love yourself, this is a really important – and scary – place to take yourself. That caesarean scar from the birth of your child… that chicken pox mark from when you were seven… the crows feet that developed as you clawed your way up the corporate ladder… each of these ‘imperfections’ has a story; remember them fondly, rather than critiquing them.
6. Be Social Media Savvy
The ‘candid’ shots you see from your favourite ‘fitspo’ celebrities are anything but candid, so before you go wistfully comparing yourself to others and wondering why you never look like that while you’re sweating it out in the gym, remember that there’s nothing candid about those shots at all.
I’d like to finish off with a quote from one of the great poets of our time, Mr Justin Bieber… “Baby, you should go and love yourself.”
Have a great weekend, Team.