Obligation to Inspiration. The book encourages women to live an authentic and should-free life. So, grab a cup of tea and read on…who knows, you just might find some great ideas for your own life!

Dear Heather,

My problem is expecting too much from my exercise regimen. I don’t have a routine per-se, but I bike to work, walk everywhere and try to eat right. In short, my exercise coincides with my everyday life. My “should” has to do with body image more than anything. I expect that my body SHOULD look thinner or tighter due to my routine. I bike about 20 miles a week and expect that is should look a certain way.

C.B.

Dear C.B.,

You’re not alone. Many women are engaged in a variety of workout routines, certain that it will bring them the thin and tight body of their dreams. But, as we dig a little deeper, the question arises–why on Earth do we think we should have a thinner and tighter body?! What is wrong with the strong, amazing body we have right now?

I love that your workout approach is lifestyle focused, rather than a rigorous routine, however, you still long for something better, even though your incredible body allows you to bike 20 miles a week. As with most things in life and specifically with the “should’s,” it’s all about perception. If you take time to explore why you think your body should be thinner/tighter, you’ll quickly find that it doesn’t come from your own sense of health, but rather from what our society says women’s bodies should look like.

When we focus on achieving true health, we come to realize that it doesn’t reside in a specific size. In fact, health is totally in how you FEEL. So take a minute, close your eyes and relax. Feel your body. What’s there? Tension? Breathe into it. Health? Offer up words of gratitude. But, most of all now is the time to learn to adore your body just the way it is.

Here are some ideas for creating this in your life:

-Stand in front of a full-length mirror completely naked. Begin to list (from head to toe) all of the parts of your body that you love. This can be as simple as a freckle to the gorgeousness of your thighs. You choose. Remember, this is a love fest. If you come across a part of your body you struggle with, only utter positive words about it. This will feel silly at first, but will do your body so much good. Do this once a week.

-Reward your body. Give it massages, pedicures, stretches and long baths. Treat it with care and love. It will respond in kind.

-Cancel all subscriptions to “beauty” magazines and stay away from reality shows like America’s Next Top Model. In essence, remove any media from your life that makes you feel like you need to be thinner/tighter.

-Every morning, write three things you love about your body. At the end, write, “I love you, C.B.” Say it out loud for added effect.

The more you focus on appreciating your body just the way it is, the better you’ll feel about your bike rides and active lifestyle. You’ll feel less pressure to be something “more” and step into feeling perfect just the way you are. And you might also notice that once your body feels appreciated and loved, it will let go of any unnecessary weight. It’s amazing, but I’ve had it happen time and again in my life. If we love our body for how it is today, it will respond by being exactly what we need.

Much love & blessings,
Heather