I spent many years neglecting my body, abusing it with too much (or too little) food, crash diets and self-loathing. I don't have it all figured out, but in recent years I have made great strides in caring for myself properly and finding ways to improve my health.
Here are my personal tips for achieving a healthy weight and, more importantly, a healthy mindset about my body:
1. Find an exercise you like. Something that pushes you past your perceived limits. Do it three times a week. You can do more, but only if you want. It has to be sustainable.
2. Don't make any food off-limits. Understand that certain foods are wiser choices than others, but give yourself permission for the occasional vat of poutine or head-sized cinnamon bun.
3. Be mindful of the food you bring into your home. It's a lot easier to walk past the junk food aisle in the grocery store and not buy something than it is to say no to that same junk food once it's sitting in your cupboard, quietly whispering your name.
4. Take your measurements. The scale can be so deceptive when you're trying to lose weight and it doesn't tell the whole story. The circumference of your thighs or waist, that will tell you what you need to know.
5. Make peace with your imperfections. I have cellulite that starts at the tops of my thighs and stretches all the way to my knees. I work out, eat well and still, the cellulite remains. And that's OK. It's in my genes. No use fighting it, or hating it. It is what it is; I am what I am.
6. Find flattering clothes that work with your body shape to maximize your assets. I have a small waist, and a not-so-small caboose. Work with it.
7. Celebrate your progress. Focus on the strength you're gaining, the improvements you see in your running time, the number of push-ups you can do, the jeans you thought you'd never fit again.
8. Appreciate your body. Whether we feel like it or not, we are young(ish) and strong and able. When you're 80, you are going to shake your head at all the times you didn't take advantage of that in your prime.
9. Learn to trust your body. Eat mindfully and your body will gently nudge you to let you know when it's full. If you overdo it and stuff your face, be kind to yourself, forgive yourself for not listening as closely as you had hoped to, and then move on.
10. Invest in nice work-out gear that makes you feel hot when you exercise. What? It's IMPORTANT.
Do you have any tips to add? Are you where you want to be in terms of your health and body image?