Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Love Your Body

Stop making your body the target of a self-perpetuated smear campaign. A good self image makes you feel better and helps you achieve your goals. Here are some tips for giving your body confidence a boost. Do you think your life would be so much better if you dropped one dress size, had slimmer hips or looked like Heidi Klum? Then your body image needs a boost. "Left unchecked, a lack of body confidence can interfere with your quality of life, career and social time," says counselor Jenny Garth. Sound familiar? Then stop beating yourself up. Looking good is all about feeling good. Here's how to get your body confidence back for keeps. Watch your thinking Poor body image is the result of:
Extreme thinking: "I'll never be attractive to men because my thighs are too big." Unrealistic expectations: "I wish I could be as skinny as I was before I got married and had three children." Jumping to conclusions: "Everyone is staring at me thinking, 'No wonder she's so big — look at the dessert she's having.'" Exaggerating: "There's no point in buying new clothes. I look horrible in absolutely everything I wear."
To break these unkind attitudes, work on your own PR campaign. Here are some ideas: Avoid self-criticism Enough of that self-flagellation. "I ask women, 'Would you put down your daughter, best friend or mother this way?' Of course not — so it's obviously not OK to say these things to yourself," says Garth. In the long-term, critical self-talk can destroy self-respect, so avoid it. Instead, aim to:
Replace every negative thought with a positive one (e.g., instead of "I hate my hips," try "I have pretty eyes"). Exercise to invest in a healthier, longer life, not just to change the way you look. Praise yourself for your ongoing efforts to reach your goal weight. Say "thank you" to compliments, instead of putting yourself down in response. Think beautiful: Walk, talk and relate as though you're a beautiful gazelle, and a beautiful gazelle you will be.
Stop obsessing
Banish your scale to the garage and weigh in only at Weight Watchers meetings. Take down all but one mirror. Don't beat yourself up for skimping on a workout or indulging in one more cookie than you had budgeted POINTS® values for. These are the times when you learn what your weaknesses are. Just take note, and strengthen your resolve to watch out for the same situation next time.
Dress to feel great Feeling down about how you look? Take extra care with your makeup and hair and put on an outfit that makes you feel drop-dead gorgeous. Dress to hide your figure faults and accentuate your best features by:
Avoiding too much color contrast. "If you don't break the flow of the eye from the shoulder to the floor you'll get a longer, leaner, slimmer body line," says image consultant Jenny Hanson. Choosing fabrics like wool, crepe and polyester crepe, which drape around the body in a flattering way, "unlike stiff linens and cottons that stretch to your widest point and hang there making you look bigger," says Hanson. Wearing tailored trousers teamed with tailored or belted jackets that loosely hug the hips and finish just below the hip line. They'll define the waist and draw attention away from your lower body. Choosing A-line or tailored skirts that show off the curve of your leg. "These give a slimmer silhouette," Hanson explains.
Look at other women Few resemble supermodels (and let's face it, supermodels only look that good with the help of cooks, personal trainers, makeup artists and air brushing). Most of your friends, co-workers and neighbors probably don't have a supermodel's figure, so why should you stress about being the "perfect 10"? Concentrate on improving your overall health, and your body confidence will soon soar.

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