Riding on the bus I hear two young girls talking about their weight loss struggles. I’m in the bookstore, overwhelmed by the multitude of “get skinny fast” bright glossy book covers. I get a phone call from a good friend, talking about her newest diet and how it will fix all the past mistakes. I hear my mom tell me she refused to go to the neighbour’s pool, on the hottest day of summer, because she couldn’t bare the thought of them seeing her in her bathing suit.
It breaks my heart.
There is a huge amount of pressure, particularly on women, to be physically attractive. We are taught that this is what gives us worth. Even the most successful, the most talented, the most extraordinary women are still unfairly ranked on this unbelievably shallow system by many.
We can’t let this continue.
I want to hear young women talking about their future with the confidence in themselves they need to get there. I want bookshelves to be filled with informative wholesome books that address the important issues facing the world today. I want to talk to my friend about her dreams and encourage her to reach for them. I want my mom to live her life, confident, proud, without shame – and rock that swimsuit!
If you, yes you reading this, want these things too – I ask you to take a stand with me today to make this shift possible. You are the change. We can change this.
YOU are so much more than just beautiful.
1) Throw out your scale
You heard me, gone! Our weight fluctuates throughout the day, throughout the week, throughout the month. We are not in control of our weight, and most of the time the scale sabotages positive changes – from the discouragement of `gaining weight`, disappointment of unrealistic expectation, to `going easy` when higher than expected results are achieved.
Your overall health, and the improvement of such, can be measured with much better metrics. Measure your health progress by standards that are based on things you ARE in control of – like how many glasses of water you drink, what you use to feed your body and give it energy, or how much movement you work into your day.
2) Focus on small steps towards better health, happiness, and sustainability.
Confidence, energy, and health are important – there is no denying that. They are the boat that will take you off into the sunset of life. Don`t overwhelm yourself with an intensive plan. Don`t overstretch your boundaries, with unrealistic expectations. Start small. Be kind to yourself. Focus on lasting lifestyle changes.
To be healthier, happier, and more confident – tackle one positive manageable step at a time (until you can do it consistently, for over a period of three weeks). This process shouldn’t be about self denial, forcing you indoors on electronic equipment, or creating financial strain with a host of memberships and subscriptions.
Some things I have found particularly helpful, which are low cost, and have multiple benefits:
- Water – Srsly, drink it. I know, who would have thought right? It can actually take some effort to get 8 cups or more into your daily schedule. Drinking water helps to cleanse the body of toxins that build up.
- Yoga – Daily yoga not only keeps my body moving, but it also keeps my emotions in check. It’s time out from a busy life where I get to stop and just tune into stillness. You can find lots of free yoga videos on YouTube.
- Bike to work – Save money, build your daily workout into your commute, connect with nature (fresh air, warm sun), and reduce your environmental footprint in a big way!
- Vegan diet – This is great for your health, wallet and the environment. Need more convincing? Check out ‘Making the Connection’ produced by the Vegan Society on YouTube here . If you’re interested, but not quite sure where to start, browse sites like www.vegweb.com (for vegan recipes) and www.happycow.net (for dining out).
- Sleep – This is your body’s time to recover and repair, it plays a vital role in good health. Free your bedroom of distraction (including electronic!), read a book, have a bath, play soothing music, go to bed at the same time daily. If you still struggle with not enough shut eye, talk to a Naturopath about other natural options.
3) Compliment yourself
Everyday compliment yourself – both your physical and nonphysical traits. Remind yourself you have beautiful eyes. Remind yourself you have a big heart. Remind yourself you are ambitious. You are all these things, and no one thing alone determines your worth.
4) Compliment others
Everyday flatter someone on something that shines about them – both physical and nonphysical. Notice that there is beauty in everyone, in who they are and how they look.
5) Pass it on!
Share it. Encourage others to get involved. Brainstorm more ideas on how we, personally, can change this around. I would love to hear your ideas below.
Let the discussion begin.
Let the change be us.
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