3 Ways to Like Your Body Better

Trim the fat (talk) and feel good about how you look.

“I’m sooo fat:’ Sound familiar? Chances are you’ve heard it from countless friends and have probably said it yourself.

3 Ways to Like Your Body BetterA 2011 Psychology of Women Quarterly study found that a staggering 93 percent of women engage in fat talk (speaking negatively about the size and shape of their bodies) – one-third of them on a regular basis.

Why do we beat ourselves up? Body image expert Margo Maine, Ph.D., author of The Body Myth. Adult Women and the Pressure to Be Perfect (Wiley), says women often rely on body bashing as an emotional security blanket. “Body image concerns are a way to distract ourselves from bigger issues-the quality of our marriage, balancing work and family, wondering if we’ll succeed at a new job,” she explains. Many of us also have distorted perceptions of beauty and forget what matters beyond how we look.

Instead of greeting summer dreading how you’ll look in a bikini, stop the damaging inner dialogue with these tips:

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Thank your body

It breathes, pumps blood,lets you taste your food, gets you from point A to point B. Before going to sleep, take time to “give your body credit for its magic instead of criticism for how it looks,” Maine says.

Goon a diet

A media diet, that is. Rosie Molinary, author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance (Seal Press) and a University of
North Carolina at Charlotte professor of women and gender studies, recommends a fast-no TV, Internet or magazines for three days. Then
analyze the media you take in and ditch anything that leads to concerns about your appearance.

Make a “greatest hits” list

Document the successes you’ve achieved in your life. What are you especially proud of? “Society teaches us that our worth comes from how we look or from losing 20 pounds, but our accomplishments are actually rooted in grace, tenacity and what we learn from them,” Molinary says.

>>> Leslie Goldman is a health writer in Chicago.

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