Exercising while cursing your body and hating how you look is, arguably, worse than not exercising at all. If you’re exercising out of pressure you’ve put on yourself to get your body to look a certain way, reevaluate why you’re doing what you’re doing. Exercise is wonderfully beneficial for many reasons, but if you’re doing it to punish yourself for what you ate or because your body doesn’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model’s body, then any outcome you get will probably not live up to your standards. Move your body, go to the gym, take a hike, do yoga — whatever you want to do, do it because it fuels your body, makes you feel strong, and is a loving choice for your physical self. Any other reason makes exercise seem like punishment, drudgery, and something you’ll grow to resent.
2. Wear Makeup
I cringe when I hear someone say something along the lines of, “Oh, I love doing this activity because I don’t have to wear makeup.” Well, you don’t have to wear makeup, regardless. You can go to the goddamn club without makeup on, who’s to stop you? (Unless it’s one of those asshole clubs where the bouncer is super choosey about who he lets inside and, in that case, don’t go to those places because, come on!)
The thing with makeup is that it can be great, but it can also be terrible. It can enhance your natural features and kick your looks up a notch and, for many, is an extension of their personality, a part of their style, and a creative way to express themselves. However, for many, it has become a source of self-worth. You are not any less of a woman if you don’t wear makeup. Don’t let makeup define you. Don’t become so dependent on it that you can’t leave the house without it on or you won’t let your significant other see you without it. You are so much more than the powder-made contours of your face.
3. Eat Healthfully
Yes, we both know that it’s strongly advised that we eat mostly things from the ground and that we probably shouldn’t have the majority of our breakfast come from a donut box, but us women are taught to eat healthfully as a means to an end — which, nine times out of 10, is to say, a smaller waistline. To have grown up a woman and not have some sort of shame around eating would be an act of miracle. And most women have a lot of “shoulds” around eating, namely that they “should” be eating this and “should” not be eating that. The world of should-eating, as I have named it in my head, is based entirely in shame about our bodies and what we put into our bodies.
Should-eating also puts us on a strange system, where we feel guilty for the “bad” foods we eat and feel morally lifted for the “good” foods we eat. Even the system of identifying certain foods as good or bad puts us inside a system that’s bound to fail.
We are humans who love food. Eating is one of our most basic pleasures! If we identify ourselves as guilty and bad if we have a dessert one night, then we’re doing ourselves a disservice. The place we want to get to is eating based on the most loving choice for our bodies in that moment. That may be a donut some times. That may be a green juice in the afternoon. There are no should’s, no guilt-free or sinful foods. Just foods that are either a loving choice for sustaining our body or a non-loving choice. That’s it.
Let’s start making choices based entirely off what makes us feel our best and try to take punishment out of the equation. We’re not morally reprehensible if we enjoy eating food that isn’t just fruits and vegetables. I love me a mean stir-fry, but fuck, some times I want a cheeseburger and I refuse to feel guilty or like a failure if I eat one.
Let’s start being allies with ourselves, rather than foes. Instead of working on your physique tirelessly or making yourself hungry or pressuring yourself into wearing a certain amount of makeup, spend that energy on beginning to love who you are regardless of those things. Once you get to a loving place with yourself, you can begin to add in loving activities, which, more likely than not, will include healthy eating, physical exercise, and the amount of makeup that feels most you.