Because you love your body…..

In our society, in can seem hard to feel good about your body at any time of year. But January can be especially tough.

You’re surrounded by advertising telling you that you need to lose that Christmas weight or should be spending every waking moment at the gym.

You’re made to feel inadequate if you don’t detox, diet and give things up.

And the basic message is that you shouldn’t be happy with your body. That it’s not good enough as it is, and that you need to change it.

And that’s a really damaging mentality.

A desire to exercise and eat well should never be founded in hate or negativity.

It should be something you do out of love. It should be a result of a sense of wonder about all the things your body is capable of.

It should be your way of paying your body back for being such a wonderful home for you to live in.

Get into the right mindset

The default mindset we all have around exercise and diet is one of denial and deprivation. That beauty hurts.

It’s a mindset that the diet and fitness industry often encourages, because a lot of very large companies can make an awful lot of money if we hate our bodies, no matter what we look like.

But it’s important to understand how damaging that mindset is. After all, if you’re coming at things from a place of hate, you’re never going to stop hating, and those multi-national companies know it.

It’s in their interest for you to keep hating yourself, so that they can keep making money out of you.

If you want to break that cycle and actually make real progress with your fitness and feel good about yourself, no matter what dress size you are, then you need to start from a place of love.

Say goodbye to ideas about all the things you’re denying yourself and depriving yourself of when you switch to a healthier diet. Say goodbye to the idea that exercise is a kind of penance you have to do when you’ve eaten ‘bad’ foods.

Everything in abundance

You need to look at a healthy lifestyle as a lifestyle filled with abundance, not deprivation. Recognise the incredible nutritional value in unprocessed, fresh foods, and revel in everything your body can do when you’re exercising.

Say goodbye to the idea that you’re punishing yourself for the way you look, and frame healthy choices as rewards instead.

Essentially, it all needs to come from a place of love. Loving your body rather than hating it means that it won’t feel like a chore to exercise or eat well.

It will be a natural choice that you really want to make, not something you feel forced into and resent.

Feel good about your body now

It’s wonderful to have goals in mind when you’re trying to lead a healthier lifestyle. But the first step is accepting, and loving, your body just as it is.

That’s the only way to truly motivate yourself to make progress, as you’ll believe that you’re worth the effort.

Take a moment to consider your body. Try and look at yourself through the eyes of a lover, or a supportive best friend, and see all the wonderful things. Both the visible and the invisible.

Maybe you’ve got excellent ankles. Maybe you’ve got lovely thick hair. Sparkling eyes. Glowing skin. Long, elegant fingers. Or maybe you’re strong. Maybe you’ve got excellent stamina. Maybe you’re a fantastic dancer. Maybe you’re great with your hands.

There are hundreds of wonderful things about your body, and it does so much for you every single day without you even being aware of it.

How to get into the right mindset

You’re probably thinking that this is all easier said than done. That mindset and approach to health and fitness sounds wonderful, but how do you actually make it a reality?

Here are a few simple tips to get you started on the road to embracing a healthy lifestyle because you love your body, not because you hate it.

  1. Affirmations

Affirmations are hugely beneficial whenever you want to make a change in your life. They’re simple statements that you repeat to yourself every morning when you wake up, until you come to believe that they’re true.

In this case, you might affirm that you love your body, that you’re beautiful, that you’re strong, that your body is capable…

Take some of the positives that you thought of when you were picturing yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you, and turn them into affirmations.

  1. Journalling

Another thing that can be really beneficial is putting pen to paper. Why not write down three positive things about your body at the end of every day?

They might be things your body has achieved, or just nice things you’ve noticed about yourself.

  1. Goodbye to comparison-itis

We’re all guilty of comparing ourselves to others, but it can be extremely damaging. The first step to loving your body is stopping comparing it to other people’s.

Try and catch yourself every time you compare yourself, and become aware of just how often you’re doing it.

  1. Don’t expose yourself to negative influences

It’s hard to stop hating your body when you’re constantly bombarded by the media, which is doing its level best to make sure your inferiority complex makes you keep on buying.

So do your best to shelter yourself from it. Make your social media feeds places of positivity, motivation and acceptance. It’s totally okay to mute, unfollow or unfriend people.

Search for people that inspire you, that are out there achieving things, whether or not they fit into society’s idea of the perfect body.

If you enjoy things like Love Island, then don’t deny it to yourself, but if you think it’s actually having a negative effect on your self-esteem, then it’s totally okay to say no, no matter how many people are gossiping about it at work.

  1. Treat yourself

When you love someone or something, you’re kind to it, and you treat it well. So that should apply to your own body.

Embrace self-care. Sleep well. Take time out for yourself whenever you need it. Don’t deny yourself the foods your body craves and loves, as long as everything’s in moderation.

Look at exercise and nourishing foods as rewards, not punishments. And when you do make progress or achieve health and fitness goals, make sure you take time to celebrate and recognise how far you’ve come, rather than just immediately raising the bar.

Do you exercise out of love for your body, or has it ever been motivated by hate? What do you do to show your body the love it deserves?