Why You Should Take Care Of Your Body For You, And Not The Haters

Begin your journey toward a positive body image by following these important self-care steps.

As the days grow warmer here in the northern hemisphere, like tulips and daffodils, the body-shaming comments have also begun to emerge. For some reason, spectators feel that summer styles entitle them to criticize and condemn those who don't fit their ideal body type. Thus, innocent bystanders – namely women – are  sometimes exposed to harsh words and hateful sentiment designed to crush their self-esteem. Yet, despite this incessant wave of negativity, every individual has the power to combat critics by putting their self-worth above all else. Everyone has the capacity to value mind over matter and, in today's confrontational environment, it's easy to see that body positivity builds better self-image.

Deep down, we are the ones who give these detractors power. We have the choice to absorb or ignore their comments. With that in mind, we also have the capacity to focus on self-care, even though such strategies often take a backseat when we allow haters to get inside our heads. We permit them to halt our pursuits and question our passions. We enable them to diminish our potential.

"In today's culture of social media, instant gratification, and constant access to your work email on your cell phone, it can be easy to compare yourself to those around you," Rachelle A. Reed, PhD, kinesiologist for Pure Barre, told A Plus. "In addition, women tend to wear many hats – mothers, daughters, friends, caregivers, members of the workforce, etc.; so, it's understandable that women tend to put self-care at the bottom of their to-do lists. Over time, lack of proper self-care, combined with inundations of comparison to others, can lead to negative body image in some women."

Becoming the best version of yourself might be a lifelong work in progress, but it's worth the elbow grease. After all, research shows that having a positive self-image is associated with many benefits, including:

  • Improved mental health and reduced feelings of stress
  • Lower risk for feelings of anxiety and depression
  • Feeling more energetic and satisfied with life
  • Increased productivity – at work, and in meeting personal goals
  • Appreciation of your body's strength and your physical ability to do all the things you want and need to do each day
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Closer relationships 
  • Improved quality of life!

For those who are struggling to boost their body image, however, the following self-care steps from Pure Barre will empower anyone and everyone to love themselves and live their best life. It's most important to note that those who are happiest are the ones doing it for them, not for their haters. 

Courtesy of Pure Barre
Courtesy of Pure Barre

Meet A Friend For A Workout Class

Getting enough exercise each week – at least 150 minutes or aerobic exercise, plus two days of strength training weekly – helps your body both physically and psychologically, Reed explains. "The realization that you can hold a plank for 90 seconds, or that you can work your muscles to the point of fatigue, is incredibly empowering and gives you the mental clarity to value both your strength and progress," she says.

However, you can't truly discover this inner strength until you officially turn intention into action. Reed notes that you're more likely to show up and work harder during class with a workout buddy, so find that special someone who will support you... and vice verse!

Build A Supportive Community

Reed emphasizes that research shows women are more likely to meet their personal goals if they have a strong support system

Surround yourself with those who will cheer, not jeer. They will be your greatest allies, as they want nothing but the best for you. They will lift you up when you're feeling down and they will celebrate your successes as if they were their own. 

Get Enough Restful Sleep

"Sleep gives the body and the brain time to recover from the stresses of the day, and getting enough restful sleep provides you the energy to set and meet your goals," Reed says. 

Eating well and exercising can improve your sleep quality, too, she explains. Plus, if you're feeling particularly discouraged one day, sleep might just provide the reset you need to wake up positive and ambitious the next day.

Eat A Nutrient-Dense Diet

"Taking time to plan your meals, rather than grabbing food on the go, really does pay off in the long run! Incorporating nutrient-packed snacks and meals (with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein) throughout the day will provide you with the energy you need to achieve your goals," Reed advises. 

"A post-workout snack that is higher in protein can help to improve muscular responses to exercise," she adds. "Remember that balance is key and that eating should be enjoyable. Research shows that eating well 80 percent of the time can help people to achieve their desired weight status, when combined with regular exercise." 

Value Your Strength And Celebrate Your Progress

Your accomplishments are worth celebrating, no matter how small they might seem. If you feel good about your accomplishments, there's no reason why you shouldn't shout if from the rooftops. 

Cover image via bruce mars / Pexels

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