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6 Reasons You Should Be Proud of Yourself Both Inside and Out

6 Reasons You Should Be Proud of Yourself Both Inside and Out

You have to be a smaller size. You have to burn more fat. You have to tighten your butt, firm your abs, fit into those skinny jeans, and do it all in 3 weeks! That just sucks.

If you’re tired of hearing all of this, and hearing it over and over again, maybe you need to stand your ground, rebel, and go against the tide. You are so much more than just a size or a number, but living in a culture that’s beauty- and body- image-obsessed isn’t easy. In fact, it’s downright painful, especially if you’re not a size 2.

Most of us weren’t even born that small! If you’re tired of feeling bad, especially around this time of year when the weather’s warming up and everyone is talking bikinis maybe you do need a new look, but this one should have nothing to do with your weight, size or shape.

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This look takes cultivating what’s on the inside. It means being fearless about who you are both inside and out. It means standing up and screaming at the top of your lungs, “I’m not going to drop a jean size to be acceptable and valued, I’m actually perfect just the way I am!”

Here’s a few tips on how to begin:

Know your heart

Houston, we have a problem, and that problem is that we’re paying more attention to external issues than we are to our hearts. That’s why people are dying out there: if we spent half as much time noticing and tending to our hearts, we would be a lot healthier emotionally. Think about how much time the fashion industry, the food industry and the cosmetic industry pay to convince you that you’re not OK, and most people buy into it, hook, line, and sinker. How do I know? Because I buy it way too often as well. Invest in your heart—know your value and change your world.

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Cultivate it

How do you tend to your heart? By paying attention to what’s happening to it as the losses of life unfold. By feeding it with good kind things. By spending time with yourself and learning who you are and what your strengths are.

Be Fearless

Find your strengths and you’ll become fearless. Utilize the gifts you’ve been given, and impact your world with them. Be humble. Be a friend. Be generous. Give your heart away, and lead others.

Love strong

Pay attention to the one thing that’s most important in your life: those you love. Don’t let your concern for your size, your weight or your body image rob you of life. Don’t let it steal time away from those you love because you’re so preoccupied with all that mess. Risk. Step out. Say good-bye to the old way and dare to try something new. You’ll feel so much better.

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Be grateful

It’s hard to be grateful for something you loathe. My clients with eating disorders and body image concerns can’t generally find one thing to like about their physical appearance, but I challenge them to risk looking beyond what they see and begin to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness for what their physical body allows them to do. Hold a child. Run a marathon. Write a poem. Play an instrument. Touch a loved one. Start small, but start somewhere.

Stop Comparing

Don’t look at the girl at the gym, the guy on the magazine or the hot chick at the beach to judge yourself. Start thinking about your strengths, your attributes. If you feed yourself a steady diet of garbage, that’s how you’re going to feel—like garbage.

At the end of the day, only one thing is necessary to revolt against the societal norms that demand we be thin to be valued: choice. The choice to ignore the cultural mandates and set the world on fire just as you are. A choice to live, really live a full and abundant life where you’re content with who you are, not what you look like. Go get ’em!

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Back at you: How have you felt pressured to meet the standards for beauty and perfection today? How have you resisted?

More by this author

Rita Schulte LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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