February 10, 2014
Valentine’s Day isn’t just candy in heart-shaped boxes and all things romantic. It’s a holiday about love and a great day to remember to love someone you are around 24/7—YOU! Valentine’s Day may only come around once a year, but if you can start loving yourself daily, your entire life can change. Love fuels positivity. If you want a more fulfilling and happier year, start from a place of love.
Practice positivity. Be on your own side. We have about 60,000 thoughts a day and studies show a majority of those thoughts are negative. Why would you want to live from such a negative place? Practice gratitude daily—from the tiniest things (like that cup of coffee) to the big stuff (how well your child is doing). Think about what’s going right in your life. Focus on what you like about yourself and others. Focus on your strengths. Make decisions that boost how you feel about yourself. If you find yourself rolling out criticisms in your head, interrupt yourself and tell yourself to stop. Replace that negative thought with a positive thought or compliment about you. Make those 60,000 thoughts positive!
Be self-confident with where you are today. True confidence is about defining your self-worth in a multidimensional way. It’s about you as a whole person—body, mind and spirit. And that sense of wholeness comes from loving yourself. Self-confidence is the key to success in so many aspects of life, including your health. It even fuels your desire to achieve your goals because it helps you set and stay committed to what you want in life, such as kick-starting an exercise routine or taking on a new fitness challenge. There’s a circular effect to confidence that comes from the hard work of healthy living: you exercise … you eat clean … you gain confidence … you gain motivation … you build healthy habits. Those behaviors and their positive results lead right back to a growing sense of self-confidence. One feeds off the other.
Give yourself compliments. Every compliment you give yourself is a deposit into your own well-being and outlook. Don’t underestimate the influence you have on your own self-image. Every positive thought counts. Simple compliments can make you feel empowered and confident. Develop a habit of feeling the love with compliments—especially those you give yourself, such as: I look good today. I feel strong. I can feel yesterday’s workout. I am developing more muscle. I like who I am.
Recognize what you love about your body. I am sure there is something about your body that you like or love right now. Are there a few things? Focus on the things you love about your body. Maybe it’s your strong legs or your curvy shape. Is it your muscular frame or something athletic your body can do? Whatever it is, notice it and see if you can build the love by finding more things you love about your bod. Join me in my Love Your Body campaign this year. Share on social media what you love about your body using the hashtag #loveyourbody and a photo, too, if you are so inclined!
Celebrate your uniqueness. We come in all shapes and sizes. Celebrate your uniqueness by accepting who you are. You are the one and only you—unique, just like your fingerprint. Skip the comparisons with others because that sends your body the message that you wish to be different. Just be the best you that you can be.
Feed it well. Show yourself the love daily and respect yourself by eating well. Eat clean most of the time because it will improve how your body feels. Eating clean means more choices to eat fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats and fish. Eating clean, however, doesn’t mean you have to eat perfectly. And here’s some more good news—you can even eat good-for-you fats. Say yes to right kind of fats like Greek yogurt, avocados, olive oil, nuts and even dark chocolate. Clean eating will give you more energy, make you feel better and stave off cravings.
Exercise. Choosing to be consistently active increases your high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This combination keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Exercise stimulates brain chemicals that leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. Physical activity can give you that love for your body and your appearance, which boosts your self-image. Regular exercise (combing cardio and strength-training workouts) also improves your muscle strength and boosts endurance. Plus, exercise is fun when you choose a workout you enjoy. You have far more influence over your body than you might believe. Don’t you just love that?
Let go of perfectionism. Love your life more by letting go of perfectionism and that crazy notion of life balance. None of us can achieve a constant and consistent harmonious life, where we give all the important people and things equal parts of our time. Give up the notion of life unfolding perfectly. When you stop chasing perfection and balance, you accept what matters to you most. Now you can reduce a whole lot of stress and happily live in the present.
Pamper yourself. Take a few minutes and make a list of 10 ways to pamper yourself. Now get those things on your monthly schedule. (Men, yes you, too!) It could be taking a long leisurely walk. Or it could be getting a massage or going for a swim. Maybe it’s a pedicure, a date night or reading in your favorite chair. Just make your list of ways you feel spoiled and feel like you are living the life and get those things on your calendar.
Make this the Valentine’s Day when you start loving yourself and loving your life even more!
Chris is a nationally recognized health and wellness expert and an accompished blogger, author and motivational speaker. She is contributing editor to Prevention magazine and has authored several books, including her latest Get Started with Eating Clean: A 14-Day Guide to Better Health. As an ACE-certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach, Chris has been working in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. Follow her at @chrisfreytag and get inspired to LOVE YOUR WHOLE LIFE!