False ME48 ... Belabunda style Coutersy Belabunda
False ME49 Beautiful, Healthy Me Outshine the Sun: Loving the Skin You’re In Written by Lizz Schumer It’s that time of year again. Time to dust off the bikini, break out the waxing strips, and bare your beautiful bod, probably for the first time in months. At this time of year, even the most un-bodacious babe can feel self- conscious, so what’s a girl to do? There are several tried- and- true ways to give your self-esteem a kick where it counts. In a study conducted by Catherine Sanderson, Ph. D., an Amherst College psychology professor, college women tended to believe that they exercised less and ate and weighed more than the average person. Her study also found that this misperception increased over time, as seniors seem much more likely than freshmen women to misjudge the weight and habits of others. According to her study, as women grow older and feel their bodies changing with age, this perception only worsens. So how can a woman beat the odds and feel beautiful in her own skin, whatever it looks like? Healthyplace. com, a website dedicated to helping women foster a positive self- image, described body image as being divided into “ Three A’s” of positive thinking: Attention, Appreciation, and Acceptance. First, attention: listen to your body and respond to the cues it’s sending you. Eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are satisfied. Get enough sleep to be well- rested, but not so much that you sleep your days away. Exercise enough to stay fit and active, but stop when your muscles tell you they need a break. Your body is your best friend, and the only one that will always be there for you. Treat it right, and it will be there for you to the bitter end. Abuse it, and you may lose it. Second, appreciation. This refers to appreciating what your body can do for you. If you are a visual person, make a list of all of the things your body can do. Your body allows you to enjoy life and all its sensual pleasures. Without the skin you’re in, you would not be able to smell freshly- baked cookies, or taste their sweetness on your tongue. Your body lets you dance to your favorite song, take long walks on the beach, run a marathon or just up the stairs, feel the grass between your toes, and hug a loved one. List as many of these basic functions and “ creature features” as you can and appreciate the physical things your beautiful self can do. If you need a little extra affirmation, try learning a few yoga or pilates poses. This slow, sensual exercise combines meditation and stretching that is gentle enough for the most sedentary and yet enables even supple, slender types to experience muscles they never knew they had. Experienced yogis have expressed a deepening awareness of their muscles after just one session. Get to know your body one muscle at a time, and you will feel more at ease. This can only lead to a positive outlook on the self you have to work with. Finally, Lightstone’s final A is acceptance. Let’s face it: we’re not all meant to be six feet tall and a size 2. In fact, less than 10% of the population is shaped like Kate Moss and Gemma Ward. Given the pervasive media’s increasing use of lighting, make- up, and air- brushing in print and broadcast ads, even actresses and models are not as svelte and sexy as their photographs lead us to believe. So stop aspiring to an impossible ideal. Try this exercise: stand in front of a full- length mirror in nothing but your own skin. Wear no makeup, leave your hair natural. Examine yourself as you would a statue in a gallery: without judgment, without scrutiny. Just stare at the figure in front of you. Look at where her body curves, the angles and shapes made by your limbs, your shoulders, even down to your fingers and toes. Look at yourself until you cease to see your faults and your flaws and see a whole, unique, beautiful creation. Keeping these three strategies in mind, remember this: your body is all you have. When everything else is stripped away: clothes, makeup, even hairstyles and expressions, your body is there. Your body type, shape, and size are as unique to you as your smile, your eyes, your laugh. Would you change your personality to match Jennifer Aniston’s? Would you adjust your sense of humor if Gisele’s seemed more in touch with what society said was acceptable? Nor should your body be a clone of any of these. So this summer season, put on an aura of confidence over your bikini. Paint a layer of self- acceptance onto your mani- pedi. Get a dose of self- esteem scrubbed in with your facial. There is nothing that will make you more beautiful.