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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 November 5, 2019

How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

1. Always Have a Book

It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

3. Get More Intellectual Friends

Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

4. Guided Thinking

Albert Einstein once said,

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

5. Put it Into Practice

Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

6. Teach Others

You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

7. Clean Your Input

Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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8. Learn in Groups

Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

9. Unlearn Assumptions

You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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11. Start a Project

Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

12. Follow Your Intuition

Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

13. The Morning Fifteen

Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

14. Reap the Rewards

Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

15. Make Learning a Priority

Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

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Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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