No, we’re not talking a long-awaited sequel to the film that introduced us all to Heath Ledger. Instead, we’re confronting some of the biggest issues we all have with ourselves. Body image is an issue that many people face. “Body image, the way you feel about your personal appearance, is linked to self-esteem,” said Mary Hartley, R.D. “The satisfaction you have with your body is based on the satisfaction you have with yourself.”
We want everyone to feel satisfied with themselves, so it’s time to quit the hate-speech and make peace with our bodies. Sure, you may not love everything about yourself, but that doesn’t have to prevent you from doing something about it. Here are our top ten beefs with our bodies and what we can do about them.
Jiggly Arms – If your arms make you self-conscious, you aren’t alone. To make your arms less jiggly, add triceps dips to your daily routine. By doing a few reps every day, your flapping arms will soon be nothing but a not-so-fond memory.
Lack of Energy – At one time or another, all of us feel completely devoid of energy. Combat this by making sure you are getting enough restful sleep. It may seem impossible to fit sleep into your busy schedule, but doing so impacts your overall energy levels and your ability to accomplish everything in your day.
Dull Skin – Do you feel like your skin is beginning to look a little zombie like? If so, make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day. Staying hydrated does wonders for the complexion. Add some of the best foods for healthy skin to your diet, too, like fresh fruit, Brazil nuts, tuna, and avocados.
Not-so-flat Stomach – If you’re feeling extra squishy around the middle, try adding more core exercises to your workouts. There are a variety of exercises you can do to help tone your middle, including some great yoga poses that can also help you relax.
Too Much Stress – If your stress level makes you long for the days when your biggest concern was whether or not to share your crayons, it’s time to relax. Take time to do some deep breathing. It’s a small, simple thing that can make a world of difference. Also, find something to do that makes you happy. “Commit to daily ‘me’ time to do those things that bring you inner peace,” said Hartley. “Meditate, pray, walk in nature, write in a journal, read an inspiring book, work on a craft project. Discover what makes your heart sing.”
“Thunder Thighs” – Hips and thighs can be a problem area, so try incorporating leg exercises into your routine. You can do squats and calf raises just about anywhere. Also, walk as much as possible, adding in quick hits of exercise by parking farther away or taking the stairs.
Feeling Dumb – Not everyone is an Einstein. In fact, not even Einstein was always an Einstein. Genius or not, there are things you can do to improve your brain. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and magnesium have been shown to increase brain function.
Boobs – It’s true, almost every woman hates on her chest. However, while we can’t fix that area without resorting to drastic measures, we can be proud of what we’ve got. Show yours a little love and treat them right when you exercise by wearing a properly fitted sports bra.
Lifeless Hair – It may only be a collection of dead cells sitting on your head, but nothing puts you in a bad mood like a bad hair day. To improve your hair, try kicking your fast food habit. Your hair indicates your overall wellness, so if it’s looking dingy, it may be time to up the nutrition in your diet.
Feeling Fat – Calling ourselves fat is a nasty habit. It’s time to stop the fat talk and quit putting ourselves down. Instead, focus on what you really like about yourself, or think of something you do well. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the mean little voice in your head goes silent.
When it comes to our bodies, we are often our harshest critic. Take the time to love yourself for who you are, and find others who feel the same. “Surround yourself with positive people who help you see your strengths,” said Brooke Randolph, LMHC. “Often our negative self-perceptions are a result of being around negative people who can hold you back from reaching your true potential.”
How you talk to yourself can also have a big impact on self-perception. Hartley encourages speaking kindly to yourself about your body. “When you catch yourself saying you ‘hate’ your body, simply notice without judgement, and say to that thought, ‘Ok, here you are again.’ Take a deep breath. Exhale that negative energy. Then say to your body, ‘I’m sorry for talking to you this way.’,” she said. “Forgive yourself and move on. Loving thoughts heal.”