Love your body: 9 ways to take the mantra to heart

If the body blues have you down, it's time to boost your satisfaction when it comes to your one-of-a-kind physique. How to start loving your body as it is.

love your bodyProvided by That’s Fit

While the advice to “love your body” seems easy enough, a surprising number of women have a hard time taking it to heart: According to an estimate from the National Eating Disorders Association, 80 percent of women in the U.S. are unhappy with the way their bodies look. So you’re not alone if you’ve ever felt less than thrilled with the reflection in the mirror.

But if the body blues have you down more often than not, it’s time to boost your satisfaction when it comes to your one-of-a-kind physique. Read on for nine tips that will help you start loving your body as it is.

1. Curb the comparisons.
A 2010 study from the University of Louisville found that women’s perceptions of their bodies were negatively influenced when they compared their appearances to those of others. When you find yourself making comparisons, stop and thank your body for all the things it allows you to do instead of what it looks like. No matter how you feel about it, “your body still continues to get up and go each morning, and it deserves a big thank-you,” says Dina Zeckhausen, PhD, psychologist and author of Full Mouse, Empty Mouse, a children’s book that addresses healthy eating and body image. “When I ask kids, ‘What do you appreciate about your body?’ they say, ‘My body lets me play soccer!’ or ‘My body lets me give and get hugs!'” Take a page from their book and start appreciating your body for everything you can achieve because of it.

2. Change your approach to exercise.
A University of South Florida study from the November 2010 issue of the journal Sex Roles found that people with a distorted body image often work out because they feel like they must. If exercise feels more like a have-to than a want-to, it’s time to revamp your regimen. Try different kinds of exercise to find the ones you enjoy doing. “Whether you actually lose a pound or not, your body image will be better after you have increased your endorphins through fun and playful physical activity,” notes Dr. Zeckhausen. For a boredom buster, try belly dancing, which research has connected with high levels of body satisfaction. Read more tips…

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