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Body image has always been a big topic of discussion among women, but lately it has taken hold of the mainstream media with an incredible “Hear Me Roar” voice that is pushing self-acceptance and more acceptance of different body shapes and sizes in mainstream markets.  I have always been an advocate for women feeling good, feeling healthy and strong, regardless of dress size or shape.  I am a believer that how we perceive ourselves, has a huge impact on our overall lifestyle choices.  I also believe that our lifestyle choices have an even bigger impact on our self perception.  If we believe that our bodies are stuck at one size or one shape, and aren’t capable of being tools for change and improvement, then we won’t pursue change or improvement.  If we shift our perception to see our body as an incredible moving, working machine allowing us to feel, taste, run, walk, think, learn and live, then we will make mindful choices toward helping our body perform at it’s best.

Healthy bodies are not just about size, shape or how much or little body fat you have.  Being healthy is about feeling good, being active, experiencing new things and cultivating sustainable happiness.  Sizes can go up or down throughout life, but we all only get one body to experience life in.  Invest in your body.  Invest in your health.  Invest in being positive about who you are and what your body can do for you.  Make mindful choices about what you eat and how you use your body.  Take care of your machine.  Choose to take care of yourself, and you will feel good about you-at any size.

4 Reasons to Feel Good at Any Size

by Angela Martindale

We’ve all been there. We’re reading a magazine and there it is: the body shape and size survey. You stare it down and sigh before succumbing to filling in your answers, hoping that magically you have become a totally different shape and size then you were the last time you filled in those little bubbles (only 2 weeks ago). You go through the descriptions to find which one you think most resembles your profile, and see the all too familiar names describing fruit and primary shapes: Apple, Pear, Triangle, Inverted Triangle and the coveted Hourglass. Then you move onto your size: Tall, Skinny, Big, Short, Stocky, Boyish, Curvy, Thick or Thin, and then hold your breath as you review the results to see what fashions the Queen Style Expert at the magazine recommends you wear.

We all do it- we all fall into the trap of self-labeling, trying to find out where our body fits in and how we compare. Shape and size are the two things that cause dread going into the fitting room with skinny jeans. We all enter that little room with the hope that those jeans we’re dying to fit into, will look exactly the way the Forever 21 models make them look in the ads posted all over the mall. If you’re a shape/size survey stalker, have tried every cellulite cream on the market, have stuffed yourself into Spanx, bought into the new trend of waist shaping, stuffed your bra with silicone pads, pumped up your behind with padded inserts and tested nasty detox fad drinks and pills -all in an effort to change your shape and size- then listen up sister! I’m talking to you.

The brutal truth is that you are a perpetual pursuant of Shape Shifting, and what you really need is a shift in self-acceptance!

As a nutritionist, fitness trainer, and lifestyle coach, my job is to help people feel good physically and mentally in their skin. As an Indie Chick, it’s my privilege to share some of my best advice with you so that you can be more awesome than ever, and that’s why I’m sharing my top four reasons why you should stop trying to change, and just feel good about who you are at the size you are, have been or will be. So pay attention chicks, because I’m giving it to you straight up!

Reason #1: You Beat The Odds

I’ve just recently learned from TEDx speaker and CNN contributor, Mel Robbins, that the odds of you being born, at the exact time you were born, on the exact day you were born, in the face of natural disaster, wars and genetic disturbances, is 1 out of 4 hundred trillion! This blows my mind- the odds for even getting to be in a body are stacked against all of us from the beginning. What does that say about how precious this experience of life really is? The fact that you have a shot at tasting, touching, hearing, and seeing is literally incredible. Thinking about how lucky you are to even have a body, puts a new shift in how you view the value of your body, no matter the size or shape.

Reason #2: Body Shape and Size Acceptance Is a Choice

The world is full of people who make choices, and those choices have consequences. If one chooses to workout or to not workout, to go or to not go work, to go on vacation, to drive, to ride a bike or to take public transportation, to learn or to not learn, to eat or to not eat- there is a natural positive or negative consequence that follows. Our whole life is a choice. When we choose to focus on all we are not, that’s what stares back at us in our mirror. You can choose to find all the good things you are, and this one conscience action will result in the natural consequence of increased happiness staring back at you in the mirror. Just knowing that you were lucky enough to have a body in the face of the 4 hundred trillion odds, means that you are pretty incredible- a beautiful survivor, a fighter and a creator. Those qualities belong to no size or shape- they exist internally for those who choose to live their lives unconfined by proportions! So, stop feeling like you don’t fit into the body you want & start living in the body you are lucky to have.

Reason #3: Being Balanced Is a Mind Thing

I am an advocate for taking care of yourself: eating healthy, exercising, and engaging in hobbies, and productive work you feel good about. I am an advocate for a balanced life regardless what shape, height, weight or pants size you are. A balanced life resides within your thoughts, your actions and your attitudes. The greatest thing about embarking on a balanced life is that the focus is actually off the physical attributes and aims for the core person- how you go about your day, your mission statement. It doesn’t matter if you are a size 18 or a size 2, physical change will naturally follow your mindful shift in perspective, and without even trying you will see positive improvements.

Conscientiously choosing a healthy mental approach to life will help you physically enjoy your body more.

Reason #4: Your Body Is a Gift

You have accomplished things. You have utilized your body to experience amazing achievements and memories: to travel, create relationships, move from one place to another, create music, create life, dance, laugh, graduate from college, start a business, express yourself, to be you. Your body is a tool for all of the thoughts and emotions that make up your unique self- without it, where would you be? Celebrate your body, (regardless of the Shape/Size survey results), because it allows you to achieve the milestones that make you, you. Wasting time thinking about how you wish you could be a different shape or size when you have a perfectly good body that has served you well already, is a completely useless activity that will get you nowhere.

So stop thinking about all the things that you would do if you had the body of Giselle, and start feel good knowing that your body has already given you great life experiences! Focusing on your body as a vessel for your goals, personal growth, and daily activities will help you feel good about the skin you’re in so you can start enjoying your life.

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There you have it- my top four secrets to feeling good at any size. Next time you are in the fitting room in skinny jeans, Spanx, waist-shaping, detox-diet dilemma, pump yourself up by acknowledging all that your body does, and has done, for you in its current shape and size, and then buy the jeans that fit you, rock that amazing body and feel great knowing you are the only you in 400,000,000,000 people!

If you focus on implementing these four tips, you will simply throw that magazine survey away the next time you are tempted to be labeled and categorized by your outside appearance, because it simply won’t matter where it counts- inside the skin you’re in.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Angela Martindale