How to Mend Your Relationship With Your Body

I remember one of the first times I decided my body and I were not on the same team. I was at the beach in my first string bikini from Victoria’s Secret when a friend told me she thought I had a great body because it was “real.”

I immediately took offense, thinking she meant I was fat. When she labeled my body as "real," I interpreted it as the opposite of fake, and fake is the word one could use to describe the models in the magazines who advertise the very bikini I now felt unfit to be wearing.

Although those girls are generally understood to be unrealistic and Photoshopped, they are still the ideal.

And, at the end of the day, having a body like theirs is a goal many women share. Therefore, hearing that my body was the opposite of theirs was devastating.

Now, I’m not here to write yet another article about how awful the media is for women’s self-esteem and how ridiculous it is for us to let the societal pressures make us feel like we aren’t beautiful. I agree with those articles, but they have already been written.

So, I would like to take the time to stop preaching about something that I often neglect to practice and instead, put together a solid plan for how we can take the time, every day, to appreciate and love our bodies for all they do, instead of hating on them for how they look.

Instead of examining yourself in the mirror every morning, take the time to write down one thing your body will do for you that day.

Maybe you plan to go for a run to clear your head, maybe you will go to a club to dance away your worries or maybe, you’ll stay in bed all day and click “play next episode” on Netflix for eight hours straight.

All of these activities require your body's assistance. Try to remember that your body is capable of many things. It’s time to start appreciating it for that.

Challenge your body physically at least once a month.

Try a different class at your gym or run an extra mile more than usual. After you accomplish this, congratulate yourself and your body for meeting the challenge. You’ll feel great and you’ll be forced to give your body some credit. Everybody wins.

Reward yourself and your body with something unhealthy at least once a month. Or week. Or day.

Life is too short to let the calorie count of an ice cream sundae ruin your day. As long as you make other healthy choices, one order of fries will not make you instantly gain 10 pounds.

So go ahead, order that side of fries, go for that heavy beer instead of that overpriced, tiny mixed drink and enjoy. You and your body are worth it.

Focus on what’s inside. Literally.

Your body IS beautiful, but it’s not just there for show. Did you know that you use 200 muscles to take one step? Or that every day, an adult body produces 300 billion new cells? Or that there are over 500 different liver functions?

Even while you’re not paying attention, your body is hard at work, keeping you alive. So, next time you curse it for not having a metabolism fast enough to digest an entire quart of Ben & Jerry’s without adding some curves to your exterior, remember that it’s a little busy sometimes.

Take whatever body part/shape that fashion magazines give you “tips” to hide/minimize and mentally tell them to f*ck off.

Cosmo may tell you how to make your wide hips look “slimmer,” but I say do the opposite. Embrace those sexy, womanly curves and put on something that shows them off.

And, if you don’t have curves and instead are super thin, that’s great, too! Show off those tiny legs in a mini skirt or dress. Whatever you've got, flaunt it because we all have “it.”