Ahh, summer. Constant sunshine, long warm days, ice cold drinks, trips to the beach and lounging by the pool, and... bikinis (and shorts. And tank tops. Oh my!). For some of us, this can be a less than thrilling part of the summer season, as there is often loads of pressure on women to look a certain way.
Getting to a place where you love your body can be quite the journey; Most of us are working hard to just get to a place where we sorta like it. If loving your body seems like an unrealistic or unattainable idea, finding a place of acceptance is the next best thing. If you've been feeling like you're struggling to find the good, and are getting a little bit too caught up in the not-so-good, we want to help you change your relationship with yourself so that you can be happy in a place of acceptance and confidence . Life is so much more enjoyable when you are confortable in your own skin!
Here are some things you can do to begin that change, a few easy ones and some hard hitting ones that may take some effort but are well worth it! Don’t get overwhelmed with the list; Just pick 2 to start with and commit to doing those 2 for one week. Let us know how you’re doing!
REMOVE NEGATIVE SOCIAL MEDIA
Get rid of those magazines (hint: if they use the term "bikini body", to the trash it goes!), and stop following those Instagram or Facebook pages that make you feel like the way you look isn't good enough.
Instead: Follow athletes or bloggers that make you feel good about yourself and spark motivation or inspire you to achieve your goals that are not related to body size or weight.
KEEP GOOD COMPANY
They say you are the average of the five people you hang with the most, and while that may or may not be true, we know for sure that the people you surround yourself with have an enormous impact on how you think, talk, and live. So surround yourself with people who are doing the things you want to do and are positive about their bodies.
What if you've got a girlfriend that seems to always talk badly about her body? Try to change the conversation. Tell her that you are on a mission to change your relationship with your body and that you want to only talk positively about yourself, and invite her to do the same! Chat about all the cool stuff you ladies are doing, what your (non body weight related) goals are, and how you can support each other in getting there.
LET GO OF THE NEGATIVE
"My thighs are way too big for those shorts". "I don't want to run in just a sports bra and shorts on this 100* day because I'm embarrassed". "I don't want my crush to see me in this bikini". STOP! This negative, obsessive self talk is doing more than stopping you from wearing what you want. It is severely impacting you in ways you might not even know.
When these type of thoughts creep into your mind, acknowledge that they happen, tell yourself how ridiculous and untrue they are, and then send them on their way. Don't hold onto them! Move onto something positive about yourself. "Hmm, that’s interesting that such an untrue statement crept into my mind. My thighs are not too big. They may be soft, but soft is ok! They are what allowed me to walk the streets of Paris with my main squeeze! They are amazing!’’.
And if that seems hard to do, deciding that you just don't give AF is always a particularly freeing and enlightening avenue as well. Chuck it in the f*ck it bucket and carry on!
CELEBRATE THE POSITIVE
Instead of thinking about all of the things your body isn’t, think of all of the things it can do: Run a marathon, hug loved ones, squat heavy, grow a human, love your partner, dance all night, walk on the beach, play the drums- things that have nothing to do with your size or weight.
What are you most grateful to have the ability to do with your amazing body?
FOCUS ON INTRINSIC QUALITIES
Concentrate on the things that make you YOU, that have nothing to do with your body. For example: Are you loving, creative, passionate, a mother, an awesome friend, funny, intelligent, loyal, sexy? If you are struggling, ask a loved one to tell you what they love about you, write that shit down and save it! Read it when you are feeling down about yourself. (Read what Melissa Hartwig had to say about this in our recent interview with her).
No, we aren't talking about "lose ten pounds in two weeks". Set athletic goals for yourself, that are unrelated to body weight or size. Dying to get a strict pull up? Maybe you want to get better at handstands or finally get double unders? Or maybe you just want to be able to jog around the block without stopping? Find a short term, attainable goal, and hit it hard.
Ask your coach for help in picking a goal and plotting a plan of attack!
GET ON WITH IT ALREADY
Stop waiting to do things until you get that “perfect” body! Rock those clothes you’ve always wanted to wear (can you say booty shorts?!), ask that person out that makes you feel all tingly inside, book that boudoir shoot, go on that vacation, ask for the raise you deserve, and so on. Life is way too short, and that perfect time will likely never come. Act now!
PLAY THE "WHAT IF" GAME
Homework time! Journal about what you imagine life would be like if you finally had that body that you think you need to have in order to enjoy life. What if you were thinner or leaner or lighter? You'd maybe wear a smaller tee shirt size, or the number on the scale that no one sees would be different, yes? Beyond that, what else would be different for you? Probably not much. It wouldn’t make you smarter, more compassionate, a better mother, better at your job, or more lovable (the list goes on about what it wouldn’t do for you). Spend some time thinking and journaling about these things and where you think your brain power, emotional energy, and time could be best spent to improve your life in more meaningful ways.
FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT
Confidence can go a long way, even if it's totally and completely fake. Act like you love your body, and do the things that you think that people who love their body do. You’ll be surprised! After a while, you’ll actually start seeing your body in a different light.
The extra benefit to this is that when you radiate confidence, positivity and happiness, you will start to attract those types of people. This is truly a win-win, to both get your mental game on point and to attract some like minded, uplifting people into your life to help support you and your goals!
Bottom line: While "loving" your body is a tall order (and something that arguably very few people can actually, truly do), learning to accept your body for what it is is incredibly freeing. Know that it's yours, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, with all it's strengths and all it's weaknesses, for your whole life. Why not be on the same side?
How you feel about your body is completely and entirely up to you. Decide you are beautiful and accept your amazing body for everything it is and can do. It's time to be your own best friend and get happy in your skin!