That’s what we all want, right? A body we love? Of course, a lovable body these days is pretty much a size 2 with DD breasts and a nice wide thigh gap. (BTW, thigh gap? Seriously?) If you’re anything like me, your body has done a lot for you in the last 10 – 20 years. Things like taken you dancing, given birth one or more times, taken you on hikes, long walks (beach optional), kept homes clean, heard concerts, tasted amazing and disgusting food, healed itself of multiple wounds and illnesses. And now we want our bodies to do the miraculous: defy gravity, dissolve cellulite, and maintain hormone production at a constant level.
That’s a lot to expect. And that’s why you need my tricks!
Trick 1: Look at Yourself Naked
Yes, you read that right. I want you to find a full length mirror and strip down in front of it, with the lights on. A bathroom mirror will do if you have no other options. Really look at your body – at the whole thing. Your shoulders, your breasts, your stretch marks, scars, hips, body hair, etc. Suck in your tummy and check out the side view. Use a hand mirror to look at your back. Chances are, you will see something you like. Maybe you’ve always had great ankles. Maybe your breasts are gorgeous. How about your wrists? Shoulders? Tummy? I’ll be honest, my stomach pooches out almost as far as my breasts, but I love it. I love the soft curves just beneath my rib cage. Find one thing to love, and look at it every day. When I look at myself naked (yes, I do this), I focus on the things I love and admire about my body. It’s not that I don’t see the drooping flesh or the saggy muscles or the complete lack of thigh gap – it’s just that I ignore them.
Trick 2: Enjoy 1 Physical Pleasure per Day
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: you need to treat your five physical senses on a daily basis. One major reason we overeat or binge on chocolate is that taste is the one sensory pleasure we allow ourselves. As you indulge all your physical senses your food cravings will diminish. Find a way to listen to music you really love every day. Maybe play a favorite CD while cooking dinner – if the kids are fighting, turn up the volume. Heck, just listen to one song on your phone when you lay down in bed for the night. Look at something beautiful each day. Find a photography fan page on Facebook and subscribe (I like this one). Sneak into your kid’s room at night and look at his/her sleeping face. Find a good smell: candle, soap, lotion, even just putting your face down near your coffee/tea in the morning and breathing deeply. Smell is incredibly powerful and when you find one you like, use it all the time. Finally, touch. Have some really good sex. Not just obligatory sex: a nice long luscious session of touching and kissing and, well, you know. If you struggle with finding your sexual desire, a great book is Wanting Sex Again by Laurie Watson. If sex isn’t an option, don’t worry – hugging is a fantastic way to release endorphins. Hug your kids just 5 seconds longer each day. Other forms of touch are massage, manicures, pedicures, etc.
As your body begins to experience full spectrum pleasure, you’ll begin to appreciate it more and more.
Trick 3: Get Rid of All Clothes that Don’t Fit
Unless you are in an extreme physical state change (pregnancy, gastric bypass surgery), just get rid of everything that doesn’t fit. When you’ve finished that, get rid of any clothes you don’t wear any more (you probably don’t wear them because you don’t like how you look in them). How to know what you don’t wear? Turn all your hangers backwards, right now. As you clean and rehang clothes, put the hangers on correctly. At the end of the season, any clothes still on backwards hangers haven’t been worn and can be given away. Getting rid of these clothes removes those visual reminders of what your body used to look like, setting you free. Because sure, getting back into the size 0 jeans may be a goal, but it’s a backwards one – a goal to go BACK to something. Set a goal to buy a pair of jeans that look good on your actual body. (Note, this may take trying on upwards of 20 pairs, but it’s a heck of a lot faster and easier than losing weight and trying to reconfigure your abdomen!)
Trick 4: Move More, Eat Fresh
I don’t mean join a gym, necessarily. I mean find some sort of movement that you enjoy, and engage in it regularly. For me, it happens to be hot yoga. I go into that 100 degree room and contort myself into ridiculous poses and feel my whole body sing out “YES!” It could be dancing. It could be walking. It could be running a marathon or doing PiYo or whatever those crazy healthy kids are doing these days. Maybe it’s lifting weights, or playing golf, or just 10 minutes of stretching every evening. Just move your body more – it’s good for your overall health. Sure, you might lose some weight as a bonus, but I think we all know I’m not talking about weight loss here!
Eat Fresh: Whenever possible, eat fresh whole foods. Get the apple slices at fast food restaurants. Grab a pack of dried fruit at Starbucks. Use frozen cucumbers and watermelons as ice cubes. I love frozen veggies as dinner sides – they’re easy, fast, and tasty. Not as good as fresh veggies, but still a delicious whole food. Go to a farmer’s market and impulse buy every fruit and veggie that looks pretty. Subscribe to one of those food box services. Fresh food tastes great (sensory treat) and is better for you (health bonus!)