5 Tips for Honoring Your Body
Summer is getting closer, and while there are already lots of fun outdoor activities you can enjoy, beach season is on its way. This means it’s time for those short shorts, tank tops, and bathing suits. Hopefully, you are comfortable enough in your own body to not worry about the move to less clothing. But if you are like some of us, this time of year can cause some anxiety with the peeling away of long sleeve shirts and pants. Perhaps you have already put on that first pair of shorts for the season and discovered they don’t fit quite as well as they did when you packed them away last fall. Maybe you’re still in winter hibernation mode and are having a hard time staying committed to your goals.
Think back to what your hopes were for the year. How are you doing toward meeting your goals? If you have maintained slow and steady progress, good for you! That’s how lasting change is made. If you have found yourself going in fits and spurts, or just spurts, that’s okay too. As you ready yourself for the physical freedom of summer, there are things you can do to help yourself feel more comfortable, whichever outfit you choose to wear. Here are five tips to consider:
- The most important thing you can do for yourself is accept yourself for where you are right now. If you are still working toward losing some weight, acknowledge that you are on a journey, and that you are absolutely okay just where you are right now. The more you accept yourself and allow yourself to work toward your health goals at a pace that’s best for you, the better you will feel.
- Don’t compare yourself to anybody else’s standards. The media and advertising have done a very thorough job in showing us what the “ideal” human body should look like. Not only can this affect self-confidence and body image, but it can also lead to low self-esteem if you end up feeling like you have failed somehow. Most models are nowhere near “typical,” and a lot of advertising is just plain unrealistic. Instead of looking at standards that may be impossible to achieve, set standards for yourself. Where do you want to be in three months? Six months? A year? Work toward the goals you have set for yourself, not goals imposed by others.
- If you are self-conscious about your body, start your wardrobe changeover in small pieces. Maybe head out for the day in capris, before you venture out in shorts. Leave the house with a light sweater if you aren’t quite ready for wearing short sleeves or tank tops. Go at your own pace so whatever you do feels comfortable and safe.
- Spend some time thinking about your body image. What influenced how you feel about your body? Hurtful comments, being judged, or other negative experiences? Know that you are stronger than the things that hurt you. Think about how you would like to feel about your body, and start with one small step to make that happen. Find at least one thing you like about your body and create a positive affirmation for that part of you. Choose another part that may feel less comfortable to you, and do the same thing. Positive self-talk goes a long way toward allowing you to feel better about yourself and have more confidence.
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. No matter where you go, you may always feel that someone else looks better than you, or is better than you. Don’t go there. Comparing yourself to others is an exercise in futility, and all you end up doing is feeling bad about yourself. This connects closely to accepting yourself and feeling comfortable in your own skin. If you need to compare, think back to how you felt or looked before you began taking better care of yourself. Remember the progress you have made, be proud of yourself, and keep moving forward.
Self-acceptance and self-love can be a struggle at times, especially if you have had hurtful experiences in the past. Instead of thinking back to those things, think of the ways you are stronger now. You have been working hard to make healthy changes for yourself, and it is an ongoing process. If you can focus on the positives of what you have accomplished, and maintain effort toward realistic goals, your confidence and acceptance of your body will only increase. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.
Let’s start discussing those fitness goals you have been manifesting and offer some suggestions for outdoor exercise this summer.