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love-the-skin-your-inThe "thin ideal" is something that so many women strive for. If you think about it though, we are all different. Our body shapes differ as much as our personalities. So why strive to fit in with what our visually obsessed society dictates, when YOU are far more interesting and beautiful? You just need to know how! Here's how you can begin to "self love"(in a completely non-vain way of course!).

Make a list of all the things your body can do; from lifting things, making things through to running, and the biggie......CHILDBIRTH! Our bodies are so much more than a shape and size!
Make a list of all your positive traits. Ok, so if you have some trouble with this one, what would your partner or friend say? Don't know? Then ask them!! But make sure you keep the focus away from appearance, and focus more on the wonderful and unique things that make you YOU!

If you are about to begin an exercise program, make sure you have goals that are fitness related as opposed to just weight/shape. For example, more reps, more weight, longer distance, better time. I am a firm believer that seeing the amazing things your body can do is way more satisfying than a number on a set of scales or pair of jeans. The other benefit of having goals like these? You can keep on making them! On the other hand, there is only so much weight you can lose before you're fitness actually starts to decline.

Challenge yourself! Set some goals and reward yourself when you conquer each step. Nothing helps us feel better about ourselves than feeling a sense of achievement!

Re-assess your relationships. Some people just don't like it when someone else is feeling fabulous. Sound familiar? Clean out your friendship closet and only invest in the relationships that make you feel good about who you are. As for the others? You don't have to throw them on the rubbish heap, just choose to put your energy and time elsewhere.

Clean out your closet (this time I mean your actual closet). Those jeans you were keeping for when you "lost those 10kg" Get rid of them! If you are a hoarder, get your bestie over, open a bottle of wine.....and get ruthless! What you have left should be a collection of clothes you feel pretty good in. There is no point in keeping clothes that are a constant reminder of what size you are NOT, or of how young you once WERE!

If you love to read the gossip magazines, become more aware and critical of the images you see. Research shows that constantly looking at "skinny and beautiful" images can make us feel less good about ourselves. The answer? Well, either limit your access to this kind of media, or be more critical! Look at how the image has been enhanced.

Ask yourself; "is this image REAL?". Take a look at the following YouTube link by Dove to see just how different an image can look with a bit of creative photo shopping!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

And finally, celebrate being different! How boring the world would be if we were all the same. Strive to be the best YOU can be, and imagine a STOP sign the next time you catch yourself comparing your legs to Jennifer Hawkins, or your bum to Jessica Biel (ok so she snagged JT, but lets face it....even SHE isn't perfect!).