Pardon me. I want to talk to you: the other you. Not the sensible person who peruses health & lifestyle blogs for the latest suggestions and style tips. I want to speak to the other you that stands in the mirror, examining and reexamining her/his flaws, turning your nose up as you pull or poke at body parts that seem to disgust you. I want the attention of the you that talks behind your own back to yourself and puts you down before anyone else even has the chance to do it. I have some things I want you to keep in mind the next time you are ready to sound off on yourself when you get up the nerve to improve your self-image and your physical health:

  • You need a sign posted on your mental and emotional door that says “No Haters Allowed — even if the Hater is me.” Of course it’s not all you. However, the negative self-talk is a huge problem. What we say and believe about ourselves often means more than what others say or think. Yes, Aunt or Uncle so-and-so made that off-handed comment to you at 12 years old; but we choose to hold on to the shame, bound by their careless words. Years later, it is the individual’s choice to replay these and other moments over again in our minds. It is the feeling that whenever someone is looking at you, they are finding fault with your body just as you do: your butt is not shaped in exactly the right way; you’ve decided your breast are too big or small; you think everything just jiggles too much. It is high time to let that go. You must empower yourself to improve your emotional and spiritual health. Don’t succumb to self-degradation. It is causing a road block in your journey to a better life.
  • On to a more practical tip: It’s okay to stop when you are tired; everyone does it. EVERYONE. When we push ourselves to the limit, our bodies respond with a sensory that tells us to stop or slow down. That is natural. True, some people may last longer than others but you have to reach for your personal best. It’s better to focus on the details of your own path so that you can see it clearly, rather than the journey of others. Besides, a great way to increase longevity is through repetition. Practice makes perfect; so get out there and go!
  • Working out does not have to be limited to a gym. I will admit, sometimes the gym can be an intimidating environment. If overcoming that reputation is not feasible for you, there are plenty of other ways for you to get in a good workout. Morning boot-camps are very popular, and due to the early time of day, the groups remain relatively small. If you need more time flexibility, get a personal trainer whose sole purpose in your life is to provide you with positive reinforcement, accountability, and a structured work-out plan. The park or beach is my favorite, though. It’s a great opportunity to get some fresh air and not be confined to a particular place surrounded by machines. Being amongst the trees, grass, and in my case, the lake is just what I need to clear my mind and focus on what is really important.
  • People look at other people. It happens in every area of life. You have no idea why someone might look at you while you are working out. Maybe they want to flirt or they just want the machine you are on when you’re done. They could just be one of those gym rats who troll the place but don’t really do much. Can you really know what is going through their minds? Nope! So, stop trying to fill in the blanks with every critical thing because that is not helping you to live a healthier life, inside or out. Perhaps they can identify with something about you and you inspire them. (If you are thinking, “That can’t be me! How could I inspire anyone with this body?” then keep reading).

If you are on the road to self-improvement, it makes much more sense to like who you are right now. It doesn’t do you any good to dislike your own body because, well, because it is yours. Learn to like and love what you have. If want to be healthier and stronger, work on making the right changes that will help you improve. Every good decision you make leads to a great result when you work with what you have. Think about this process in the same way you might think about remodeling a house. If you like the place (good foundation, good neighborhood), it is so much easier to see the potential in adding some modern upgrades, new furniture, knocking a wall out, or adding paint for a whole new look rather than trying to tear the whole place down while you are still living there. Do yourself a favor. As you make physical improvements, make some emotional and spiritual improvements too. Then you will be on your way to being a happy and whole person. It’s really a fun place to be.

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  1. Yes, it is nothing more rewarding and liberating than exercise. I love to run and especially outside. That was one of the best decisions I made in my life (years ago) to start an exercise program.

    This is an inspirational article in which I will share with friends.

    And that homemade kale and homemade apple juice, I must try. 😉

  2. Great freaking article! Just what I needed this morning

  3. Loving oneself is a process once we enter the world of “haters.” When I mean haters, I am suggesting that everything is against from the jump but we all in one way or the other persevere. No one is guaranteed is smooth-sailing life — because there is no such thing. So it is up to us to always help ourselves and find good people to surround ourselves with and most importantly don’t get down on ourselves when we make the multitude of mistakes everyone makes. Love never goes out of style so don’t discard it every time someone comes with a cheap gimmick

  4. Love this article. So many truths to it. I have found myself in this situation for years. Just yesterday I accepted that I am still a beautiful women even though I can’t speed through a work out like I did 20 yrs ago. To keep it moving even while doubting is better than just giving up completely.

  5. great article to start the summer. im motivated to keep up all the work i’ve done this year so far!

  6. I totally needed to read this today!

  7. Great article!

  8. Frugivore needs more articles like this one IMO

  9. I find that I am definitely my own worst critic but making a conscious effort to work on that (even on the less than awesome days) is helping me grow as an individual. This was a great article and I thank you for sharing it!

  10. Continued support of positive people and a strong relationship with God will allow you to do and love you. Never Stop growing you. As you work out physically it definately effects you emotionally, physically and spirituallly in a positive way as long as you have that mindset. Never let society’s views or public opinion dictate who you are, what you are about and were you are going. Great Article!!

  11. Ms. Barabin, this is a great article! I love the points you raise about about self-love because they remind me of the importance of self-care. As someone who has been in school for what seems like forever, I’m learning that self-care is extremely important for us if we want to live full lives. Thank you for this article. It has definitely inspired me to kick up my exercise regimen a notch!

  12. I love your article. I am a dude and I’ve been there and done that. Unfortunately the person I was dating didn’t mind me being fat and out of shape, so I figured it must be okay. Talk about a low seft esteem and yes men have it as well. It’s not just a female issue. Even though I had high blood pressure and diabetes. I almost got kicked out of the Army because of my weight of all things. Being 5’7″ and weighing 260 lbs was killing me softly. One day I took a stand. A mental stand said, “no more” this is it. That was 2003 and I have been running, and lifting weights ever since. I love helping others but I have to take care of ME first. Thanks again for posting and I will share it. Someone from Facebook shared it with me. Smile

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