by Olivia Poling, a personal trainer at The DOGPOUND‘s Los Angeles location
Photo Credit Bryan Espino
Ladies, tell me if this sounds familiar: you walk into your favorite department store wallet in-hand, ready to buy the PERFECT pair of jeans. You confidently stride over to the rack and sift through the piles until you find “your” size. Then it’s off to the dressing room – you know, that weird-smelling, slightly-disgusting little box with bad lighting – but no matter, with all the optimism in the universe you step into that “perfect pair” of jeans, pull them up, and start to button them.
But wait a minute… something’s not right…
“Are these tighter than last time?”
Your heart begins to race. Panic sets in.
“Oh my god. No, no, no… somethings wrong. These have to fit.”
But alas…after zipping and buttoning them closed it’s clear that on this day, at this moment, these “perfect” jeans are far from perfect…and a healthy dose of that confident optimism you had just a moment ago disappears in the blink of an eye.
But even worse… now you have to make the walk of shame. You have to walk back out onto the floor and find the next number that accusingly reminds you of how “not perfect” you are.
All the while your inner critic tosses out snarky little barbs from the sidelines of your mind.
“How could I let this happen?”
“What’s wrong with me? Am I’m not beautiful anymore?”
This inner critic we all have living inside of us is an insidious monster that constantly nitpicks everything we do.
UGH! No wonder this drives us half nuts.
And this isn’t an isolated case either, according to dosomething.org approximately 91% of women report being unhappy with their bodies. 91%!
This problem is epidemic, but how do we inspire body positivity alongside a healthy lifestyle.
Here are 3 small ways you can begin to silence your inner critic and learn to love YOUR body.
1. Understand your body is part of who you are, it’s not ALL of who you are.
Your body is part of you, but it doesn’t define who you are. Don’t lose sight of the fact that our lives are rich and dynamic with a multitude of passions, relationships, talents, likes, dislikes, and values.
Focusing on your whole self–not just listening to your inner critic tear you down–will help build your confidence, and confidence is always in style and it’s always sexy. No matter what you’re wearing or your size.
2. It’s OK to want to make changes, just make them for the right reasons.
On any journey in life, fitness, health, or learning a new skill, everyone travels at their own pace. No one is better than you, some people are just further down the line on the journey. That doesn’t mean that you won’t get there someday. So, stop comparing yourself to people who have been at this for a long time.
Focus on YOUR journey. Start with small steps and take a minute to reward yourself for each successive milestone – maybe start by adding more veggies to your diet, exercise a little harder or a few more times per week, drink more water, get more high-quality rest.
Trust me: small, consistent changes pile up quickly and, over time, you’ll achieve (and even smash through) your wildest expectations.
This won’t just help you physically–your mental health will thank you for this more rational approach as well.
3. Embrace the journey, while learning to love who you are.
Despite what our modern society tries to convince you of nothing ever happens overnight, the best things in life are worth the time and the effort you put in. So, learn to enjoy the process. Be kind to your body and your mind. It not only will make you stronger on the outside but on the inside as well.
I promise you, if you’re consistent and remind yourself of these 3 simple things every day, you’ll notice changes in your body as well as your attitude towards yourself in all aspects of your life.
And, it might just be enough to silence your inner critic once and for all.