09/30/2011 08:16 am ET | Updated Nov 30, 2011

Learn To Love Your Body With 4 Simple Steps

By Nadia Goodman for

Known for her positive messages of self-love and acceptance, self-proclaimed “spirit junkie” Gabrielle Bernstein is now a best-selling author as well.

A spritely, energetic blonde, she is noticeably at home in her body. But like many other women, she started out binging on junk food, beating herself up at the gym and feeling at war with her figure.

She remembers the specific moment when she first noticed a change. Sitting in a roomful of women struggling with binge eating, she took one bite of a cupcake and didn’t want any more. The other women stared in disbelief. How? they wanted to know. She says that a thought came into her head, spontaneously and immediately: “I love myself too much to eat the whole thing.” The moment was incredibly powerful for her. She says, “I had this feeling of saying, ‘I am finally full. I don’t need to fill myself up with anything else.’”

While the moment might seem mystical -- Gabby refers to it as a “miracle” -- the steps she took to get there are anything but mysterious.

“Projection is perception,” she says, meaning that the outside world acts like a mirror for our internal feelings. “If you project that a size 10 sucks, then it will suck. If you can change the focus to say, ‘my body is healthy and strong,’ then the world will reflect that back to you. Women who live in their bodies are the sexiest women in town.”

To get that sexy, confident appeal down pat, Gabby encourages women to focus on recognizing and changing what they believe about themselves. Learning to love your body is, in her words, “an internal job. It is a decision to be kind to yourself.”

Whether your healthiest body is a size zero or a size 10, the goal is to accept the body you have, without comparing yourself to others. “When you accept the body you’ve been given, you can choose to nurture your body and to keep it as healthy, strong and fit as it can be.”

In a culture that constantly reminds us what Jennifer Aniston ate to prepare for the Oscars or how Kate Hudson lost 70 pounds of baby weight in a matter of months, it’s easy to believe that we can -- and should -- be in constant control of our contours. “You can’t control the outside,” Gabby says. “You can only heal and grow on the inside.” Body image is, after all, a feeling that arises in you.

For those who wonder (and we all wonder) if some women, but not others, are blessed with a special quality -- beauty or brain chemistry or both -- that allows them to love their bodies, Gabby says no way. “We all have that presence within us,” she says. “We just forget sometimes.”

With four simple steps, Gabby has helped many women remember.

Learn To Love Your Body With 4 Simple Steps