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10 Reasons You Should Love Your Body No Matter What Others Say

10 Reasons You Should Love Your Body No Matter What Others Say

“You could be so pretty, if only you lost weight.”

“You eat such healthy food, why are you fat?”

“I’m glad you didn’t ask me to pay for that, because I don’t think you should be drinking something with that many calories.”

These are actual comments that people shared with me when I asked them about the nastiest things other people have said about their bodies.

If you’ve ever received a crazy comment like any of the above, you’d be familiar with the feelings that flood your entire being immediately after: Incredulity, shock, anger, embarrassment and maybe even shame.

I know how I felt when I was 22 pounds overweight and asked: “Why are you so fat?”—I wanted to dig a hole in the ground and never come out.

But I didn’t. And here are 10 reasons why you shouldn’t either.

1. The only opinion that matters is yours

“Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown your own inner voice,” said Steve Jobs in his commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005, and he was right.

Ask yourself these questions: What do you want? What’s important to you? How can you get there?

Be true to yourself. Your answers to these questions will be the beacon that guides you to the values that are most important to you, and the more you’re in touch with them, the less likely you’ll be swayed by nasty, insensitive comments about your body.

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There are, however, exceptions to this rule: If someone you love thinks that you might be doing something that could be harming your well-being or the people around you, their opinion should be considered; off-hand, thoughtless comments by acquaintance and strangers? Not so much.

Whatever your goal is, regardless of whether it’s fat loss, weight gain, or simply building your body confidence, focus on the things that will bring out your healthiest, happiest self instead of spending your time reacting to other people’s opinions about what you should look like, eat, or wear.

2. You’re perfect just the way you are

So you don’t have a thigh gap or a tiny waist. So what?

“My thunder thighs will never fit into skinny jeans,” complains a friend of mine from time to time. But make no mistake—she doesn’t hate them. Those thighs of hers make her a strength powerhouse in and out of the gym. They allow her to squat with 200 pounds worth of weightlifting plates on her back and finish half marathons at lightning speed.

Her ‘thunder thighs’ are doing things that they were made to do, and so much more. In other words, they’re perfect. And so are yours, together with the rest of you.

3. Nobody knows your body better than you do

You’ve already lost 20 pounds, with another 20 to go.

Sugar, which used to be your weakness, is no longer something you crave for.

Those jeans that you couldn’t zip up 6 months ago? They fit!

You’re more energetic, confident, sleep better and couldn’t be happier with the gentle transitions you’ve been making with your food, fitness and health.

Guess what? The colleague who asked why you were “still so fat” despite your eating healthy doesn’t know all that—all the more reason not to take his or her insensitive comments, or anyone else’s, to heart.

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4. Somebody else wants the body you have

While I was out running recently, a woman who was headed towards me suddenly gave me a look of frustration, threw her hands up and yelled at me: “But you’re already skinny!”. A little later, someone else went: “You’ve got an amazing butt!”

Ironically, I wasn’t feeling very confident about my body that day, and was wishing I had someone else’s figure.

My friend with ‘thunder thighs’? She’s also got sculpted arms, a tiny waist and legs all her friends would kill for.

It can sometimes be hard to see your own beauty when you’re constantly wrapped up in all the things that you think are wrong about it, but there’s always someone out there who wishes they could have your gorgeous hair, beautiful skin, strong legs, or sexy shoulders.

Here’s an exercise you can do to help shift your perspective: Ask someone you trust to list what they love about the way you look. Write their answers down (they might surprise you) and celebrate them!

5. Today’s definition of ‘perfect’ isn’t realistic or healthy

Turn the pages of any magazine and all you’ll see are women who look they’re about 6-feet tall, have bony torsos, are extremely skinny, have large breasts and walk on legs for miles.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t fit that description and don’t know many women who do either.

Let’s take a couple of steps back to the 1400s, when large hips, fat rolls and cellulite made up the ideal (perfect even) woman—a huge contrast to our current expectations of what a woman should look like, despite juggling marriage, kids, full-time work, a social life and everything in-between life throws her way.

Realistic? Nope. Healthy? Not in the least. Damaging? Very. Should you love your body even if it doesn’t fit this stereotype anyway? Hell yes, because women don’t come from a cookie-cutter assembly line.

Just ask model Kate Upton, who’s been called ‘fat’, ‘well-marbled’ and ‘lardy’. Upton ended up having the last laugh by landing herself coveted spots on the covers of magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Vanity Fair and Sports Illustrated, not to mention a gig as the face of Guess.

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6. Your body changes with time

I started out as a scrawny, skinny kid who hardly ate. When puberty hit and my hormones went into overdrive, so did my appetite. Depression throughout my teen years then triggered binge eating—something I struggled with for many years.

As a result, my body ballooned in ways that I wasn’t comfortable with. It left me feeling terribly insecure, shy and socially awkward.

When I transitioned into my early 20s, I decided that I’d had enough, and started taking control of my body with exercise, fixing my issues with food and learning how to manage my emotions.

Over the years, my body has transformed from scrawny to big to lean, back to big, and I’m pretty much settled on lean and muscular for now.

But what if I were to get pregnant? My body will change again…permanently (hello wider hips, stretch marks and loose skin!), and I’d have a different set of issues to deal with.

No matter what stage in life you’re at, your body’s not going to look or feel the same five to ten years from now. Embrace it, love it, improve it and take care of it the best you can—it’s the only one you’ve got.

7. You’re too busy living life to the fullest

Life’s too short to let yourself get knocked and stay down by unsolicited comments from people who hardly know you, about your body.

You’re too busy making things work: Your career, family, spouse, kids, close friends, workouts, and everything else that you love to dwell on the negativity (and insecurities) of others.

8. Someone else’s negativity is about them, not you

Do you have someone in your life who literally takes offense at the fact that you’re starting eat more healthily, exercise and re-prioritize your habits? If your answer is “yes”, chances are they’re a major source of not-so-positive comments, sent via delivery express, your way.

In fact, the unpleasant things that people say about you almost always stems from their own insecurities or jealousy, and have nothing to do with you.

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You’re rocking the boat they’re on, and they don’t like it because it means they’re going to have to face their cold, hard truths and start changing too.

What can you do about the haters? Live well, focus on people who elevate you, and get better, not bitter.

9. There’s no one else like you

It’s human nature to want to be accepted and validated—we all want to be liked and loved. Sometimes, this results in us saying “yes” a little too much, following the crowd or not standing up for ourselves when someone disrespects us.

But here’s the thing: The more you say “yes”, follow the herd and mute your voice, the less comfortable you’ll be in your own skin and less likely you’ll be to reach your full potential (and this includes looking and feeling your best).

Want to find your own personal flavor? Ditch the people pleasing (and opinions about your body that are not yours) and focus on what makes YOU special.

10. The less you care, the more at peace you’ll be

“Don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are,” says Eckhart Tolle in his book, A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose.

According to Tolle, we are fields of conscious Presence. In other words, we are not the skin we’re in, the hair we have, the clothes we wear or the six packs abs we flaunt.

The less reactive you are, the more alive you can be in the present moment, and the more peace you’ll experience in your life (and body).

Featured photo credit: http://kaboompics.com/one_foto/1006 via kaboompics.com

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Michele Lian

Food Coach

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Feeling tired all the time?

Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

What Happens When You’re Too Tired

If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

  • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
  • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
  • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
  • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
  • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
  • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
  • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

Unfortunately, yes!

Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

  1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
  2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

Symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low stamina
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Low motivation

These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

  1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Using stressbusters
  4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

  • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
  • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
  • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
  • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

L — Living Healthy

Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

1. Unplug

Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

2. Unwind

Do something to relax.

Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

3. Get Comfortable

Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

E — Exercise

Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

That’s what happened in my case.

But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

That made sense to me.

So, I decided to swim.

I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

A — Attitude

Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

Breathing.

But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
  2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
  3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
  4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
  5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
  6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

N — Nutrition

Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

  1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
  2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
  3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
  4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
  5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
  6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
  7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
  8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
  9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

The Bottom Line

If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

  • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
  • Regular Exercise You Love
  • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
  • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

More Tips to Help You Rest Better

Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
[2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
[3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
[4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
[5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
[6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
[7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
[8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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