THE BLOG
10/01/2013 01:49 pm ET Updated Dec 01, 2013

Love Yourself, Love Your Body

I remember seeing a cartoon titled "The Difference Between Women and Men" that had a naked man and woman each looking into a full-length mirror. The thin woman saw a woman about three times bigger looking back at her, while the overweight, balding man saw a chiseled Adonis in his reflection.

While I know some men are painfully uncomfortable about their looks, being perpetually self-consciousness and unduly critical is more often a problem for women. So, unless you're one of the very few genetically blessed with society's idea of perfection, you probably exaggerate your flaws.

Many women say they feel more comfortable undressing in front of men than they do undressing in front of other women. They say that women are judgmental (which may very well be projection), where, of course, men are to just likely to be grateful. By the time a man sees you naked, he already desires you and is more focused on enjoying than criticizing.

The man who loves women is more like the impressionist painter -- appreciating a pleasing picture and fuzzy on details. They are turned on by shape and hate it if you start pointing out your perceived body faults because it mars his vision of you.

The one person that needs convincing that your body is lovable is you. Loving yourself necessarily includes a positive body image. Perfect or not, it needs your support, acceptance and loving care in order to truly feel good about yourself.

Make these five practices as your body love daily routine:

1. Be good to your body
Stand naked in front of your mirror and find one lovely feature -- hair, eyes, lips -- it doesn't matter. And when you look in any mirror, don't leave it until you can take away a positive picture. It is your perception of reality that may be damaging your confidence level and your view is not necessarily reality.

Learning to love your self is the best beauty tip of all. You have no legitimate excuse for not getting good at dressing in a flattering style, practicing self-maintenance daily and packaging your true self in an attractive exterior. Unfortunately, many women take care of their homes, pets and everyone around them at the expense of caring for their own bodies and even health.

2. Posture helps
Virtually everyone has a roll around the middle if she's slouching. Yes, our model ideal is tall and thin and, just as important to her look, she stands tall, which helps your skeletal structure as well as body presentation. The way you look and carry yourself can affect your attitude; it also sends a message to dates and mates about your interest level. And you look more alluring and confident with shoulders above your hips than rounded over, which can be taken for hiding from those around you.

3. Working out
Exercise is a health essential with proven capacity to improve your immune system and prevent disease. Working out also releases endorphins, the feel-good brain chemicals. It can help make your body look great but the mental, emotional, and social benefit should be enough to get you up and out of the house or in front of a yoga or aerobics DVD.

4. Nutrition
Whether or not you are what you eat, you will look like it. So, eat mostly fresh healthy foods that satisfy you and eat only when you are hungry. What you do and don't put into your body every day can have a huge impact on your mood. While foods like chocolate and pasta can give you immediate and short-lived feelings of satisfaction, too much of anything can make you feel groggy and grumpy in the long run. Eating more protein, fruits and vegetables and fewer simple carbohydrates will give you more energy. And if you don't already, take a multivitamin that's appropriate for your age and medical conditions.

5. Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative
Catch those unruly negative thoughts and flip them to positive thoughts. It is an art. Just try it. When you make the conscious decision to be a more positive person, you'll be amazed at how many more people you'll attract. A quick return to positivism may be any single's most important asset. No matter how physically attractive and charming or intelligent you are, if you see someone who's "undesirable" or "not lovable " when you look in the mirror, other people will see you that way, too.

Self-care helps create better health and more optimism and it also increases your attractiveness level. It's instinctual to notice a woman making an effort to attract. Most animals preen and clean to make sure their fur is sleek and un-matted. Among animals, looking unkempt and with patchy fur is a sign the animal is diseased or dying, and others shun her. Not so different with humans. Unclean hair and frumpy clothing is unlikely to communicate a dire disease, but it certainly doesn't draw anyone to you either. You want potential dates, mates, employers, associates, and friends to see you as full of life and ready to date. Loving treatment of your body will up your chances of attracting dates love but even more importantly you will feel better about yourself.

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