6 reasons to love your body
Whether you’re pleasingly plump or long and lean, loving your body as it is will make you—and the people around you—happier and healthier. Here’s how and whyBy Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
1. Love your quirks to honour Aunt Myrtle
“Most of us can see a beloved relative’s shape when we look at our bodies,” says Pat Ballard, a “Health at Every Size” movement activist and author of 10 Steps to Loving Your Body (No Matter What Size You Are). Stop lamenting the day you inherited a family member’s chubby cheeks or flat silhouette. Instead, cherish the parts that remind you of Aunt Myrtle or Grandma, and remember her strengths. “Be thankful your body is a constant reminder of someone you love," says Ballard.
2. Love the skin you’re in, and others will, too
“When you’re hard on yourself, the people around you usually jump on the bandwagon,” says Quebec-based nutritionist and body coach Robyn Jaquays. “They’re hard on you, too.” The more you honour and appreciate your body, the more likely it is you’ll attract positive, uplifting people into your life. “Stop telling yourself you’re fat, ugly or stupid,” she says. “And stop comparing yourself to others—you’re doing yourself an injustice! Instead, focus on your best qualities.”
3. Remember the 20% rule when you look in the mirror
“You are 20 percent more beautiful to other people than to the woman you see in the mirror every day,” says Eva Ritvo, MD, co-author of The Beauty Prescription. “Why? Because when you look at your reflection, all you see is your physical form. You’re looking for flaws.” She explains that when others see you, they also take in your personality, style, intelligence, sex appeal and wit—the whole you.
4. Love your legs, leave a legacy
“We need to love our bodies so our daughters, granddaughters and nieces look in the mirror and love what they see," says Ontario-based writer and retired elementary school teacher Judy Bagshaw. The more we honour and respect our bodies, the less others will feel the need to mutilate or abuse their bodies to attain perfection. “It’s appalling how girls, some as young as seven or eight, already hate their bodies,” says Bagshaw. “What legacy are we handing these women of the future?” She encourages women to be proud of their bodies, because the younger generation is watching and learning.
5. Love your body and it will love you back
“I’ve conducted weight loss seminars for over 25 years,” says Florida-based hypnotherapist John Morgan. “At least 90 percent of women who attend have an ‘I hate my body’ mindset. There is a direct correlation between hating your body and retaining weight.” Morgan explains that if you’ve built an adversarial relationship with your body through negative thoughts and comments, then your body is less likely to cooperate with your attempts to lose weight or get healthy. It rebels. He says, “Learning to love yourself will repair your relationship with your body and make it more willing to cooperate with your requests.”
6. Love yourself for the power within
“I always loathed my body,” says stay-at-home mother of three Dawn Johnston, a former marketing/PR director. “Even when I was thin, I was convinced that I was a slob. I wouldn’t even wear short sleeves.” Her perspective changed when she was pregnant with, birthed and nursed her first child. “I couldn't believe that my body – which I spent so much time hating—could actually grow a human being! This body of mine actually worked. That’s when I stopped hating my body and started appreciating it for the miracle that it truly is.”
Why do you love your body? Tell us in the comments.
Don't miss out! Sign up for our free weekly newsletters and get nutritious recipes, healthy weight-loss tips, easy ways to stay in shape and all the health news you need, delivered straight to your inbox.