SHAPE UP: get real about your body

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Isn’t it time we got over this mania with the ideal body – be it size 00 or a manufactured idea of perfection? Rise above it by making the following body principles your mantra from now on, and turn the page for more ways to maximise the body you have rather than fighting it: • Expand your notion of beauty – remember that the definition of beauty has been fluid through history and that many features make people appealing, not just size. • Silence your inner critic – listen to how you talk about yourself: instead of being negative talk yourself up, and remember that while you may not be physically ‘perfect’ you have features (like slim ankles and toned arms) that are objectively good. • Increase your strength – research shows that when we shift our focus from looks to function we feel more positive about our bodies. Exercise is the key here. • Do a reality check – take a piece of string and mark off how much you think you need to encircle your waist. Then wrap the string around your waist and note the difference: it’s invariably too long as most of us overestimate our size. • Treat your body kindly – sensory realisation, like enjoying how your body feels when you dance, shift the emphasis from your appearance to how you experience your body, which enhances appreciation of your physical self. So do the well-being choices you can make everyday – resting when tired, walking after a row or when stressed, eating well or simply taking a long soak in an aromatic bath. ..