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9 Steps To A Better Body Image

9 Steps To A Better Body Image

The ideal image of female beauty was said to be Cleopatra. She was described as “Slim and nubile, with cunning hips and the mere hint of a belly. Her charms were of a jewel-like nature; there was nothing large and dowdy about her. All men desired her, because all men believed she had conquered the nature of the human body and made it bend to her will, and her will alone. Her beauty was of such a diaphanous nature as to make it seem the slightest desert breeze would blow her away, past the Pyramids and into the Nile. Thus all men wished to hold her and protect her.”

Today’s women are still struggling to achieve what Cleopatra so effortlessly possessed. They diet and exercise, only to binge and become couch potatoes. This see-saw frenzy, this delusional “fat chat,” is a pox on female existence.

No woman can live up to being another Cleopatra, but here are nine ways to end the insanity and begin restoring the image of your body as beautiful.

1. Don’t let body hatred rule your life

People suffering from obsession usually aren’t aware of it. They simply believe they are being “hard-headed” about it, dealing with it as it should be dealt with.

Try to take a step back from yourself and ask “why do I hate my body?” Has it tried to kill you or rob you? Probably not. Next, incorporate this one word into your psychic vocabulary: “Blemish.” Your body is not an abomination, hideous to behold. You merely have a blemish. And a blemish is completely normal and acceptable. If others cannot accept your blemish and treat you with respect and courtesy, then the problem is theirs, not yours.

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2. Love your body

You may get a new heart or lung or liver during your lifetime, but you’ll never get a new body transplant. For better or for worse, you have only one body. So learn to love it by learning to appreciate it.

As has been pointed out by countless gurus and physicians over the centuries, your body is a miracle of construction. It houses your spirit, allowing you mobility and passion to experience and enjoy the world you live in. It protects you and houses the organs of pleasure that can take you to heights that spirit alone may never reach.

Fall in love with yourself all over again, as you most likely did as a child. Taste. Touch. See. Smell. Take each sense and find how much pleasure you can wring from each one.

3. Accept yourself

You are absolutely unique. There is no one else on earth, never has been and never will be, who is exactly like you. So why would you want to waste time trying to turn yourself into someone else just because of their great body? Be yourself and damn the consequences!

4. Think your way to beauty

Find a photograph of Mother Theresa and tape it to your bathroom mirror. She is a homely woman, but her thoughts made her a saint. And her saintliness showed through every pore of her body until no one thought of her as anything but beautiful.

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You probably aren’t prepared to move to India to minister to the poor and needy, but push yourself to give a smile to a stranger, to share a compliment with a co-worker, give something you’ve been hoarding to your special someone. You can make yourself think beautiful, and, like Mother Theresa, you will become beautiful.

5. Take a personal inventory

Specifically, ask yourself “So, what has all this self-hate done for me lately?” You’ll not find one positive result from self-hate, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to get rid of it.

Like any harmful addiction, the pain of self-hate becomes part of the process. And maybe you deserve that pain — just like any cartoon character deserves that anvil that falls on their head. Do you think of yourself as a cartoon character? Stop it. Think of yourself as mature and meaningful, and invite self-hate to take a hike.

6. Know that thin people are not happier than everyone else

Ebenezer Scrooge was thin. So was Hitler. Inside every thin person is… not very much. They are pretty insubstantial when it comes down to it (in terms of literal quantity, of course).

But joking aside, what makes you think that a thin person’s life lacks the challenges and adversities that you have faced and successfully overcome? Or that skinny people are automatically treated better than others? Thinness, in and of itself, guarantees neither happiness nor unhappiness, riches nor poverty, happiness nor misery. It’s about the same as having blue eyes instead of brown. When all is said and done, big deal — what’s the diff?

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7. Use thought control

The culture says to be thin, exercise like a maniac, eat little, and be beautiful — or else you are an awful slug.

These thoughts are hardwired, so they can’t be escaped. But they can be controlled. Wear a rubber band around your wrist. Every time you begin to be weighed down by a bad body thought, give the rubber band a snap. That will break your concentration on the negativity and help you guide your thoughts back to normal and productive thinking.

8. Answer the question “Who do you think you are?”

Your body is not who you are. Feelings, thoughts, and relationships all go into forming who you really are — not your abs or bust size. To feel good about yourself is not to lie to yourself, but to take a self-inventory and honestly examine the good that you’ve done to yourself and to others. It may take some effort, and it may take more than a one-time effort — in fact, it should be an ongoing process, remembering and listing the positive aspects of your life.

Think of yourself as a work in progress: some of the floors are ready to be inhabited, but there are other spaces still under construction, needing your attention to turn them into beautiful suites where you’ll reside in future years.

9. Let the healing begin

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your body image cannot be rebuilt in a day, either. But you should be taking steps each day to repair the damage that a bad body image may have wrought in your life.

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This may call for simple meditation and a slight mental adjustment. But you may want to consider further and deeper help. Try support groups, therapy, and/or counseling with your doctor or spiritual guide.

Since Cleopatra’s time, women have been slaves, more or less, to the image of perfect beauty in face and in form. Women today have paid a terrible price for this, in the form of mental depression and desperation, as well as physical torture from liposuction and botox injections. Pills, potions, and starvation are still so common among women seeking physical perfection that the late-night talk shows joke about them cruelly and consistently:

“Beauty’s only skin deep,” jokes Jimmy Kimmel, “but who wants to date a woman that’s been flayed alive?”

Recognizing the problem and seeking help are strengths. And whatever makes you stronger will make you more confident and beautiful.

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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