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Six tips to a better body imageIt’s distressingly common to be less than satisfied with your appearance. Men, women and children of all ages living in the west are highly likely to be in some way disappointed in their look. There is a sense of pressure on people to be pretty in a way that is profoundly unattainable.

Often when people feel upset about their appearance, their instinct is to try to lose weight. Noticeable fat and cellulite are the things that people typically dislike most about their bodies.

But you can feel a lot better without spending loads of money on gym equipment or endless hours sweating yourself silly. Chances are, you don’t need to feel bad at all. You need to readjust your attitude.

DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO AIRBRUSHED PICTURES

It’s an obvious one, but everyone does it. They see models without a wrinkle and without a stretch mark and without the tiniest line of fat on their whole bodies and think they’re expected to look the same. You’re not. You can’t possibly. Even that model doesn’t look like that. No one is judging you for being normal.

LOOK AT YOURSELF OBJECTIVELY

Too many people think they’re less attractive than they are. It’s understandable – we’re not often attracted to ourselves. But try to distance yourself from you. People are naturally pessimistic in our self judgement. Think about what you’d say to someone else criticising themselves as harshly as you do. You wouldn’t encourage them.

REMEMBER THAT ‘FAT’ AND ‘THIN’ DO NOT EQUATE TO ‘BAD’ AND ‘GOOD’

Some very thin people sit around all day eating junk food and watching TV and never getting any exercise. And by some trick of genetics, they stay skinny. Some very fat people are professional athletes who eat only what food intake will aid their sport and spend most of their lives in training. Admittedly, these people are likely anomalies when compared to the majority of people. But it is worth remembering this when you’re bullying yourself over such superficial things.

BUT ‘UNHEALTHY’ AND ‘HEALTHY’ DO

If you never exercise and live only on pizza, you can stay as slim as anything and not be healthy. The important thing isn’t how you look, but how you live. It always will be. Keep on top of the junk food you consume and the amount of time you spend not moving a lot and you’ll be fine.

KNOW THAT SOME WEIGHT GAIN IS NORMAL, AND NECESSARY

As we grow, we get taller. We get wider. We get fatter. It’s what the body does. Magazines that criticise women for still having a little extra weight in the few weeks after giving birth are vile. They had a baby in them that needed extra protection, so the extra fat was necessary to keeping their child alive. And now they’re exhausted, they have a baby to take care of that is much more important than cutting down their waistline. Fat is a necessary part of the body. If it wasn’t, humans would have evolved to not have it at all.

DON’T DWELL ON THE COMMENTS OTHER PEOPLE MAKE

Especially if they’re not about you. A huge amount of the negativity around body image is because people are so used to making critical or even cruel comments instead of positive ones. They concern themselves with what is lacking. Don’t let the way other people drag things down affect you. Don’t let their comments, not just about others but about themselves, dictate how you perceive the world. If they’re can’t shut up about how fat they feel today, you keep focussing on that great hat they’ve chosen, and you’ll both feel better for it.

“Is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’?” – J. K. Rowling.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.

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