Friday, June 7, 2013

Learning To Love Your Body

One of the things women seem to have the hardest time with is loving their bodies. We beat ourselves up, always finding something to criticize or be unhappy with. I have one friend who is constantly dieting and beating herself up if she slips up and eats a cookie one day. She doesn’t need to lose weight, but she is so afraid of gaining weight that she gives herself a huge guilt trip over every little thing.

I think she’s beautiful, but she finds a million tiny things to pick apart and feel bad about.

Unfortunately, my friend is just one example. The vast majority of women are unhappy with their bodies for one reason or another. Did you know that only 4% of women around the world believe they are beautiful? I don’t know about you, but I look around me every day and I see far more beautiful people than four percent.

Do you think you are beautiful? I'm still working on it, but I'm believing myself a little more every day.

real beauty
When will we free ourselves from these oppressing standards of "beauty?"
Image: Shutterstock
The problem is that we are holding ourselves to unrealistic standards of beauty, and many women lack the self-confidence to believe in themselves and their beauty. 

Late last month, the New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center held a spring luncheon to benefit the hospital’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The luncheon was attended by New York “it” girls like Lauren Santo Domingo, SofĂ­a Sanchez Barrenechea, and Fabiola Beracasa and hosted a panel discussion called “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: A Conversation About Beauty and Self Image.”

The panel conversation included Dr. Gail Saltz and Dr. Amy Wechsler. “Today’s women are under extraordinary pressure to look physically beautiful and physically young in a way that, frankly, is inconsistent with real life,” said Saltz. “And they’re supposed to look that way while being the superwoman mom who takes care of her family and has a great career.”

So how do we, as women, start treating ourselves better?

In an interview with TODAY, Saltz said it all starts with loving your body—even if it isn’t perfect (whose is?). The trick is everything in moderation. “Rather than starving and exercising like mad I advocate eating sensibly and in a healthy way,” she says, “and learning new skills that are physical, yet suit your personality.”

Essentially, everyone is different. Yes, we all should be active, but it should be in a way we enjoy—why kill yourself doing exercise you hate every day? If running isn’t your thing, try something else, like yoga, dancing, golf, tennis, rock climbing, hiking, or any number of things.

“Spend a day adding up how many minutes you spend criticizing yourself and then ask yourself if there is some other way you would rather be spending that time,” Saltz advises.

What could you do with your extra time?