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10 Things You Can Do to Stop Hating Your Body

I realize that children learn by example, and over the last few months, I realized I was setting a pretty poor one. I made it my goal to improve my own body image. After a lot of trial and error, I wanted to share some of the things that helped.
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I remember the first time someone told me I had "thunder thighs." I was 14. I remember the first time I realized that I wasn't comfortable in a bathing suit (age 12). I have hypothyroidism, a disease which among other things slows your metabolism. I've struggled with weight gain since puberty, and as a result have a not-so-great relationship with the number on the scale and the size on my jeans label.

I've yo-yo dieted, eliminated carbs, spent hours a day exercising, and while those things have been effective, they just aren't sustainable. I'm a mom, with a full time job, and my priority? It isn't being the smallest pants size I can be. But one of my biggest priorities? To not pass this insecurity on to my own daughter.

I realize that children learn by example, and over the last few months, I realized I was setting a pretty poor one. I made it my goal to improve my own body image. After a lot of trial and error, I wanted to share some of the things that helped.

10 Things You Can Do to Stop Hating Your Body

1. List of Physical Attributes: Everyday for 3 weeks, I wrote down one thing I liked about my appearance. I kept this list in my phone. Whenever I started that negative internal dialog... I read the list.

2. Exercise for Health, Not Weight Loss: I want to be clear, I am still focusing on being healthy. I believe that's important. But I shifted my focus from weight loss or shrinking my thighs to being the healthiest version of myself.

3. Positive Role Models: You know those friends you body bash with? You spend an hour complaining about how big your thighs are and then saying that your own are worse than theirs. Yup, I worked on NOT doing that. I spent more time with my friends who celebrated themselves. It gave me a positive outlook.

4. Get Rid of Clothes That Don't Fit: Anything that didn't fit? GONE. What's the point of trying to squeeze into five year old pants from before I had a baby? There isn't one.

5. Flattering Clothes Only: I spent some time figuring out what cuts look best on me. (Tight shorts? NOT cute.) And guess what, that's all I even try on. This has TOTALLY changed my perspective. Everyone has a body type. I just work with mine instead of against it.

6. Complimenting Other Women: Positivity breeds positivity. I found that the more I complimented other women in my life, the more complimentary I was to myself.

7. Taking Pictures: This may sound totally counterintuitive, but taking style pictures for my blog has become a confidence booster. I'm lucky, I work with some wonderful photographers. And I've been able to see the contrast between pictures where I look happy and confident vs uncomfortable and shy. If you're not a blogger, I suggest setting up a photo session. Just you, you and you kids, a couple's shoot -- having those beautiful pictures to look at? Makes a difference.

8. Finding Celebrities That Look Like Me: We all look at a magazines, movies, and television. Instead of lusting after skinny thighs and bikinis, I spent some time finding "beautiful people" that looked like me. In fact, I created an entire secret Pinterest board of them.

9. Morning Compliments with My Daughter: Each morning before the day begins, my daughter and I sit together and give each other compliments. "You look beautiful." "I am proud of you." The best? The weekend mornings when I sleep in, and I wake up to her and my husband staring at me (drool and all) -- her first comment? Always, "You look beautiful mama!"

10. Find Accessories That Put a Little Pep in My Step: Shoes? They have nothing to do with body type.