Did you know that today, October 19th, is Love Your Body Day?

“Today, the National Organization for Women Foundation celebrates its 14th annual Love Your Body Day — a day when women of all sizes, colors, ages and abilities come together to celebrate self-acceptance and to promote positive body image.”

This has gotten me thinking.

How many times do you hear your friends, family, and loved ones say things like:

  • These jeans make me look fat.
  • I need to lose 10 pounds.
  • My diet starts tomorrow!
  • I wish I had your thighs.
  • If only I could look like ____.

And so on.  And so on.  And so on.

I certainly have been guilty of all of the above.

Do you know anybody that truly 100% loves their appearance?  How likely are you to speak up and interrupt when a group of friends are “fat talking?”  It’s probably hard to imagine saying something like “I actually love my body and wouldn’t change a thing!”  What do you think your friends’ reactions would be?  Have you ever initiated a  conversation that promotes positive self-image instead of one that gives in to and encourages body bashing?

Or have you ever considered the effects of these kinds of negative statements on those who actually do struggle with weight issues?  I remember one social situation I was in years ago when a friend quietly spoke up and said, “If you guys are fat, then what am I?”

Take a second and think about that.

The media today certainly doesn’t help us either.  There are so many stereotypes, unrealistic beauty standards, and notions of sexual ideals all around us.  These make it really hard to accept ourselves for who we are and embrace realistic and healthy appearances.  There’s Hollywood, fashion industries, magazine and television advertisements, diet and food companies, cosmetic brands, and so much more.  All of the above constantly project airbrushed images, touched up figures, and impractical diet and exercise regimes.  The scariest part is that most of us probably don’t even realize the effects of being exposed to such advertising!  We just accept them.  Passively.  Take a look at this link with examples of beauty ideals, objectification, violence glamorization and more.  It’s kind of scary how much the media influences our self-esteem and societal roles.

So instead of giving in, let’s take a minute to honor the power of Love Your Body Day.  Let’s appreciate our bodies for all the amazing things they allow us to do instead of focusing on what needs improvement, what we’re dissatisfied with, and what parts of our appearance we wish we could change.

I’ll start.

Ten Things I Love About My Body and Myself
In no particular order…

  1. My muscles.  I work out.  All the time.  I’m proud of my strong body!  I am not a size 0.  I have athletic legs.  But you know what?  My muscular legs are what lead me through years of dance classes, allow me to pedal through spin class, and do countless amounts of squats – right class!?  My muscles remind me of how healthy and strong I am!
  2. My skin.  I am very lucky that I’ve never had skin or acne problems.  Thanks mom for those genetics!
  3. My ability to embrace my imperfections.  Like I said earlier, in the past I have certainly been guilty of fat talking.  In fact some of you may have heard me say things like, “I hate my nose” or “I wish I had different feet.”  But you know what?  Those were the cards I was dealt and that’s what I have to live with.  My nose can now be a lovely reminder of my Greek culture and how much I love my nationality.
  4. My hair.  It’s never been dyed or colored.  Ever!  It’s just me. 
  5. My creativity.  I think everyone needs a creative outlet!  For me, it’s both my writing in Fitness & Feta as well as teaching fitness classes.  I love getting creative with class formats and finding new ways to inspire people whether in class or in my blog.  I think the mind is often overlooked as being an important part of the body.  If you love your body, you need to love your mind too!
  6. The dots on my face.  This one probably seems silly, but I love my little beauty marks.  I have a few all together in the space between my nose and upper lip.  My boyfriend calls these my constellation.  I love that I have a constellation.
  7. My smile.  I think everyone should love their smile.  Because it’s something that just happens – regardless of body size, makeup, or what you eat in a given day.  It’s something beautiful but so easy!
  8. It’s healing ability.  I’ve had several injuries over the years.  In fact I have one right now.  But the human body is pretty amazing.  I can get over a cold.  I can nurse an ailment back to health.  I know my shoulder will heal.
  9. It lets me enjoy the little things.  The smell of cookies in the oven.  A beautiful sunset.  A touching song.  The warmth of a big hug.  Being able to say, “I love you.”  I love the amazing things my five senses let me experience every single day.
  10. It lets me live.  No further explanation necessary.

Go ahead.  Try it!!!  It’s a lot harder to rattle off ten things you love about yourself than it is to say things you would change.  But it’s so worth it.

And also – try to do something today, or this week, or in the near future, that shows you are treating your body with respect.  Take an awesome fitness class because it’s fun and energizing rather than going for the sole reason of losing weight.  Pack fruits and veggies because you love the flavor rather than because they are part of a diet.  Stop stepping on that scale, give yourselves a break from mass media, stop comparing yourselves to others, and just love you for you.

Question of the Day:  What do you love about your body and yourself? 

This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival.