It's easy to let the media — and the world — dictate how you think you should look and feel. It's time to stop and get real!
Your first step on the road to total health and your best life is simple: You can't achieve success if you're not moving toward something, so before you do anything else, you have to establish a long-term goal. Sounds easy, right? Not so fast. It's easy to say to yourself that you want to look like an action hero or a supermodel. It's a little bit different to arrive at an ultimate goal that's both ambitious and attainable.
What's attainable, you ask? In our day-to-day lives we're bombarded with images of supposed perfection and beauty all the time; it's easy to let the media and the world at large dictate how you feel you should look and consequently how you feel about how you do look. That's got to stop. You know those articles about how to get Jessica Biel's tush, Kelly Ripa's arms, Matthew McConaughey's rock-hard abs? Forget them! Even Cameron Diaz doesn't look like Cameron Diaz. Most of the photos we see in magazines are shot after hours of hair and makeup sessions, then airbrushed to perfection. Trying to live up to these impossible standards will lead you down the road to poor self-image, self-loathing, and disorders like anorexia and bulimia.
Find Your True Shape
So what is a realistic expectation of an ideal you? Below are three basic body types — identify the one that best applies to your body. It's important to understand your shape and what you can and can't expect from it.
The apple shape. The apple tends to store fat in his or her upper body, so if a person is carrying extra weight, it's usually around the belly. Fat stored in the upper body can lead to cardiovascular disease, so it's important for apples to be health conscious. Apples have evolved to store fat in this way to adapt to long periods of famine.
The pear shape. Pears are almost always women and hold the majority of their fat in the lower body: hips, butt, saddlebags. This shape has evolved because fat stored in these areas aids in fertility. This type of fat isn't as much of a health risk as abdominal fat, but it can be harder to lose!
The proportionate shape. Lucky proportionates have fat cells distributed equally throughout their entire body. When they gain weight, they gain it everywhere. When they lose weight, it comes off evenly.
After identifying your shape as one of the three basic types, you need to establish a realistic weight for your specific build.
Now that you've got an honest idea of what your shape can look like and what your goal weight should be, visualize it! Imagine in great detail how you'll look and feel, the many ways in which your life will be different and, yes, better. Use your blog/journal every day so you're inspired to work through your issues and toward your goals, rather than avoid your problems and stay in neutral.
Meditate on your daily goals every morning to give purpose to your day. And every night before you go to sleep, think about your vision of the ultimate you — strong, healthy, and happy. Reaffirm your belief in yourself and your goals, and you'll find yourself taking the active steps needed to achieve them.