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What do you see when you look in the mirror? If you’re like most people, whatever you see isn’t good enough. We live in a world where physical “perfection” is thought to be the key to happiness. Well, if not happiness then a better paying job and more respect. Many people fight their physical bodies, striving for an ideal that is unobtainable for most people.

You don’t have to hate your body, no matter what size or shape it is. You don’t have to fight it. You do have to live in it. Here are some suggestions for making that easier.

1. Make health your goal. The chances are you will never look like a fashion model or celebrity but that’s okay. You can be healthy no matter what your size or shape. When you’re healthy, your body feels good and that helps to lift your mood. If you focus on working with what you’ve got, you find you make it better anyway.

2. Look in the mirror. Start accepting yourself. Slowly acclimate yourself to the image in the mirror by spending a few seconds a day looking at your body fully dressed. Gradually start wearing less clothing, working up to looking at yourself naked. In a few weeks, you'll become comfortable with your reflection and seeing that your body has some good points.

3. Face your fears. It's common to avoid situations that make you feel worse about yourself, such as shopping for clothes or going to parties. Feeling better about yourself requires facing those situations. Face them one at a time. Go shopping for a new dress. Spend time getting something that you like and that compliments your body. Wear that dress to a party. Have fun knowing you look good.

4. Stop abusing yourself! Every time you start putting yourself down, stop cold. Say, ‘Maybe my shape isn't what I would like, but I'm taking steps to be as healthy as I can be’. Whenever those voices in your head tell you you’re ugly, unlovable, etc, tell them to shut up. You are a strong person and you can do whatever you put your mind to.

5. Hold your head high. When you're busy thinking your thighs are too big, you assume everyone else is thinking that too, so you feel self-conscious. Hold your head up, smile, and project a healthy, confident person, that's what they'll see -- and that's how you'll feel.

6. Recognize success. Calling a gym that interests you is one step. Going to observe an aerobics class is another. Every little step counts. Applaud yourself for making progress. Every little thing you do is important

7. Get Moving. In order to boost your body image, build your confidence, and get a better body, you need to be active. If you start walking three times a week, you’ll improve not only your heart health but also your self-esteem, confidence, and body image too. Don’t try and do too much. Start slow and work your way up. A 10-minute walk three times a week is a good start.

8. Begin at home. Gyms can be very intimidating. You may want to start with a home-based fitness program such as walking. Once you’ve had some success with being more active, you’ll have the boost your self-esteem needs to venture into a more public form of exercise.

9. Keep going. Once you’ve made the commitment to yourself keep at it. Over time your body will become stronger and healthier. Make dates with your body and keep them. You’ll find after a few weeks, the activities you do to feel better will become second nature. You’ll miss them if you don’t do them. When that happens, you’ll have one more thing to pat yourself on the back for.

10. Do things you enjoy. Try to vary your activities so that you don’t get bored. Walk. Dance. Swim. Do whatever you enjoy. You can do many activities like yoga no matter what size or shape you’re in. Belly dancing is always in style. Why not give it a try?