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For most of my life, I’ve hated my body.

I grew up wishing to be skinnier, wanting to look like Britney Spears, with toned abs and a perfect butt. I longed to have upper arms like Heidi Klum and long legs like Giselle Bundchen. All in all, I wanted to be everyone but me: a sweet German kid with short legs, a short body and a round face.

My super unhealthy body image led me to many diets, a ruined youth and an eating disorder that almost took my life.

Unfortunately, I’m far from alone in my desire to look differently as we live in a world where women of all ages feel dissatisfied with their bodies, at best, and truly hate their bodies, at worst.

Over the years, I’ve learned to slowly accept my body and ultimately love her deeply and unconditionally. I’ve learned to see her as my biggest ally and closest companion instead of a thing that I needed to shape and mold in order to look acceptable, belong and adhere to the crazy beauty ideals of our times.

Yet, when I look around, I see women suffering deeply: they hop from one diet to the next, talk about their bodies ALL THE TIME and are so darn insecure about the skin they’re in. This is why I’m so passionate about the work I do and I strongly believe that our culture, our world needs us women to heal ourselves in order for everyone else to heal.

I’m blessed to work with women who are committed to leaving the dieting and body shaming world behind and enter into a universe of self-trust and self-acceptance, finding a life that feels differently on the inside and makes them happier than ever before.

My work as a body image and self-love coach has also given me the privilege to connect with other wonderful women who are on the same mission as I am: helping women see their true beauty – no matter the shape of their butts and thighs.

In this little e-Book, 9 women share their stories of finding body-acceptance in a world that makes it oh so hard for us women to connect with our bodies on a deeper level.

Nonetheless, body-acceptance is possible and I hope that you’ll find these stories encouraging and motivating on your own journey to body-love.

Download the eBook here: A Guide to Body-Acceptance- Real-Life Stories About Making Peace With The Body You Have

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What It Really Means to Love Your Body

by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt on June 6, 2014

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Body-love is such a loaded topic, isn’t it?

Every woman is talking about it and every woman has an opinion on it because every woman is struggling with it.

There are those who say loving your body is impossible if you don’t wear a size 0 and there are those who pretend to be totally OK with being morbidly obese; which is a loaded topic in itself. There are those who think loving your body means being obsessed with it and others who believe it means completely letting yourself go.

Extreme points of view that don’t even scratch the surface of true body-love.

But what does loving your body actually mean and how does it look like in everyday life?

First of all, here’s what loving your body does NOT mean: it doesn’t mean neglecting your body and your physical health; aka. never working out and having McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It doesn’t mean using your body as an excuse to not test your limits or moving beyond your comfort zone.

It doesn’t mean over-glorifying your body and all that comes with looking “great”.

It doesn’t mean worrying about your body and your appearance 24/7 and not being able to live your life – which, I know, is so difficult in our times.

After all, there’s so much shame when it comes to our bodies. We feel ashamed because we have – gasp – such outrageously feminine body parts like hips, booties or thighs. Then there’s the cellulite, the muffin tops or the love handles (harassing terms if you ask me!) that keep us up at nigh, locked into a spiral of embarrassment, abuse and fear.

And so, instead of celebrating our femininity, we try to hide it, cover it or diet it away.

Destructive.

Sad.

Potentially lethal.

And overpoweringly distressing.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. There’s a different way, a better way of living life for you; a way that takes away the shame and replaces it with love and freedom.

And that’s where real body-love comes in.

Loving your body, having an intimate relationship with your body, means taking good care of it. It means being attune to its needs – dietary and more – and listening to it more often than not.

Loving your body means relaxing about your size because you know you are feeding it deliciously healthful food and nurturing it with calming self-care routines.

It means skipping a day of exercise without freaking out or eating out and indulging every now and then.

True body-love means not following other people’s rules and doing what feels good to your body.

It means having fun with your body, doing cartwheels on a summer meadow or dancing Zumba with your best friend, filling every movement with love and joy.

It means experiencing the sensations of taste, lust, touch or thirst with gratitude and awe.

It means catching yourself when you’re comparing your body to the body of others and reminding yourself that your body is unique and beautiful in its own way.

True body-love means seeing the fire in your eyes, the strength in your arms and the beating of your heart and saying ‘thank you’ for being alive.

But most of all, loving your body means trusting your body.

Your body is benign. It doesn’t want to trick you, hurt you or kill you. It’s on your side. The sooner you realize that the better because that’s where change – and a little magic – begins to happen.

When you trust your body, you will stop starving or binging. You will stop judging or fearing. You will stop abusing or hating.

You will begin to see, feel and breathe peace: peace with food, peace with yourself and peace with your shape.

Of course, loving your body doesn’t always mean sunshine and unicorns.

You will still have “fat days” or experience the occasional twinge when you catch your reflection in the mirror.

However, real body-love stops you from remaining a victim of your body and instead empowers you to move on with confidence and trust. It enables you to live your life, chase your dreams, have beautiful relationships and powerful, focused conversations without your mind worrying about the way you look or plotting the diet you’ll start the next day.

True body love means being conscious of your body and respecting it for all it does for you, but not giving it power over you, your life and your dreams.

True body love is a balancing act and needs to be renewed every day of your life. It’s a practice; a beautiful practice that improves your health, strengthens your self-esteem and enriches your life in more aspects that you might believe.

And that’s what true body-love really means.

On to you: What does loving your body mean to you? How do you show love to your body and what experiences have you recently had that showed you, you need to take better care of your body? 

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Body-Love & Self-Care After Cancer

May 30, 2014

Today, I am super excited to share an interview with Llinos Mai Thomas with you. Llinos Mai Thomas is a writer, cancer survivor, mental health warrior and creative soul from Cardiff, UK.  She shares her health journey to inspire others on the road to healing, and has raised thousands of pounds for charity. Her book, […]

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100 Beautiful Quotes To Inspire Your Body-Love Journey

May 23, 2014

Your body hears everything your mind says. ~ Naomi Judd To love yourself as you are is a miracle, and to see yourself is to have found yourself, for now. And now is all we have, and love is who we are. ~ Anne Lamott As a child, I never heard one woman say to me, “I love […]

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Body-acceptance 101 – The 5 Best Tactics to Finally Love the Skin You’re In

May 16, 2014

Much has been said and written about body-acceptance and self-love. There are many ways you can learn to make peace with your body and stop dieting once and for all. But what are the best ways to begin your body-love journey? What does really help when you just can’t seem to be OK with who […]

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{Body-Confidence Makeover Challenge} Day 10: Break Up With Your Body-Love Frenemies

May 10, 2014

Vogue. Elle. Vanity Fair. Cosmopolitan. Shape Magazine. Bravo. Seventeen. Marie Claire. Glamour. Allure. The list of magazines published on a weekly basis is huge. Every week, you see new pictures of beautiful, flawless, skinny, (often) teenage models–on the way to work, on the way to checking out, and in the hands of co-workers and friends. […]

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{Body-Confidence Makeover Challenge} Day 9: Pay It Forward

May 9, 2014

Day 9 of the Body-Confidence Makeover Challenge is here and today – as you’ve guessed – it’s Summer’s turn again! Take it away, Summer: http://summerinnanen.com/10daybcm-day9 SHARE YOUR MAKEOVER SUCCESS! I want you to report your actions in the comments or on social media…tag it on facebook, twitter and instagram (use the #10BCM). Have fun today and stay tuned for tomorrow’s 10-Day Body Confidence Makeover […]

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{Body-Confidence Makeover Challenge} Day 8: One Act of Self-Compassion

May 8, 2014

Self-compassion is a skill most of us women lack. Every day, we beat ourselves up for little things, big things, unimportant things and critical things. No matter what we do, we feel we never quite measure up, right? You are late for work because of a big traffic jam – it’s your fault because you should’ve […]

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{Body-Confidence Makeover Challenge} Day 7: Identify Your Best Traits

May 7, 2014

Welcome to Day 7 of the Body-Confidence Makeover Challenge! Today, let’s take a HUGE step outside of our comfort zone, shall we? Summer has an amazing challenge prepared for you and I can’t wait to see what you’ll do with it! Go check out here post here: http://summerinnanen.com/10daybcm-day7 SHARE YOUR MAKEOVER SUCCESS!    I want you […]

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{Body-Confidence Makeover Challenge} Day 6: Breathe Peace

May 6, 2014

Breathing. We all do it. We have to. So, why should we devote a special day to it in this challenge? Well, even though we breathe automatically, we often don’t notice how shallow our breathing really is, especially when we’re stressed, anxious and simply disconnected from our bodies. However, it is proven that by breathing […]

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