Do you loathe and despise your body? Or maybe you wish if you could just change this one thing…

Well, you’re not alone. Far from it. Whether you feel you are too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too hairy, not hairy enough, too-something — or just not something enough –- everyone feels like there’s something they’d like to change about their bodies.

Yet there are lots of reasons to appreciate – even cherish – the body you have. For one thing, accepting yourself is a lot more fun, and wastes waaay less time, than constantly obsessing over what you don’t like, don’t have, or want to ‘fix.’ Your body is yours, uniquely yours, to use, take care of, and to treasure.

Here are some things to help you appreciate all that is — you ! (Yay you!)

1. Think About What You’re Missing

Consider this: What do you miss out on when you don’t accept your body and treat it well? What has it cost you so far? Aside from the physical and mental health risks, think about all the things you refrain from doing, trying, being . Think about all the people you don’t meet, the cool things you never experience, when you let a pesky negative body image stand in your way.

2. Make a List of People You Admire

Who rates high in your book? Who do you think is cool? What do you think are the most important traits a person can have? List who you admire, or people you recognize as having made a difference in your life, or in the world. Are they all supermodels? (I bet they’re not.) Likely your list is chock full of smart, kind, creative, inventive, funny, talented, self-confident people. And hey, aren’t you a couple of those things yourself? (And if self-confident isn’t one of them, why not start today?)

3. Stop Talking About Your Weight (or your hair, face, whatever)

Every time you disparage yourself somebody is listening. Literally, your body ‘hears’ what you say and your negative feelings are reinforced and further internalized. So knock it off won’tcha? Because you’re hurting the one you love – you .

4. Don’t Believe the Hype!

Remember: The objective of the fashion, cosmetic, diet, fitness and plastic surgery industries is not to inform, serve, guide or help you. It is to make money. And how do they make their gazillions of dollars? By suggesting that you need to be different, and that you need to spend money to get that way. Think about it: Their very existence is predicated on you not liking you the way you are. Remember: You’re the boss of you. Don’t define yourself by arbitrary, external dictates. Instead, work on developing your own style. Have fun. Wear something weird. Or don’t. Do what feels right, and you won’t go wrong.

5. Concentrate on Things You Do Well

Why focus on what you don’t like when you could just as easily focus on what you do like? Keep busy; there’s nothing like talking with a friend or playing a vigorous game of volleyball to make you forget about your silly ole appearance. Change your focus, and you’ll soon see a change in how you feel.

6. Get Physical for Fun

Your mood and your body both benefit from exercise. Take walks, dance around your room, plant a garden, jog. Or challenge yourself with team sports, snow boarding, surfing or mountain-biking. Just remember that moving is great for your heart, lungs, muscles and your mind. You gain so much; it’s not just about losing weight.

7. Think of Yourself as a Role Model

Think people are watching you? You’re right. Your little brothers, sister, cousins, the kids you baby-sit for, your neighbors – they all look to you for guidance and inspiration. Show them they can be confident and self-loving by being that way yourself.

8. Love It — It’s Yours

Your body is constantly doing all these great things for you (it pretty much gets you where you want to go), why dis it? Think of it this way: If you bought a cute puppy, and then one day he didn’t look the same anymore (puppies have a way of doing that) would you get rid of him? Would you love him any less? Of course not – you love that dog – unconditionally. Why not show yourself the same consideration you’d show a dog!

REMEMBER: Healthy, strong – and yes, beautiful – bodies come in all shapes, sizes, and types. No matter who you are, your body can be one too.

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