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  • Cory Reese

Ten Tips to Embrace, Accept, and Love Your Body

I once heard a family member say "Men are so lucky. You guys never have any body image issues." I couldn't hide my surprise. She genuinely believed this. Granted, men don't talk about it as often, but I assure you that it's there. Men have body image issues too. I actually experienced some body shame myself recently.

One of the patients at the medical clinic I work at said "Cory, it looks like your shirts have been getting a little tighter lately." What I wanted to say was "Yeah, I've noticed that too. Since I started doing weekly plasma infusions a few years ago, I can't run the way I used to, so I've gained a few pounds. AND...have you ever had Zupas Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup before? No? It's like heaven was poured directly into a soup bowl. And if you get addicted, your shirts are definitely going to get a little tighter. Oh, I just remembered one more thing. Don't be a jerk."

But I didn't say that. I just smiled.

Then, a few days later, my daughter made these Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. She said "Dad. You have to try one. These are so good that I could sell them!" I suddenly remembered my patient's comment, and decided I would politely decline her offer. I didn't want anything else to contribute to my #dadbod.

Thankfully, I caught myself. Sure, it's important to eat healthy. Sure, it's important to take care of ourselves. And, it's also important to recognize, appreciate, and savor life's little gifts. Will a Red Velvet Whoopie Pie cure depression or anxiety? Of course not. (Actually, this is debatable.) But life is hard! Will a Red Velvet Whoopie Pie take the edge off a tough, stressful day? You better believe it.

So I ate one. The cookie was soft and flavorful. The cream cheese frosting was smooth and sweet. And, it turns out, she could definitely sell these things.

Here are Ten Tips to Embrace, Accept, and Love Your Body that you and I can work on together. (Of course these are helpful for both men and women.)

  1. Remember this: You are enough.

  2. Recognize that food is not an enemy.

  3. Lean in to vulnerability.

  4. Do something nice for your body....for example, take a bath, go on a walk, or take a nap.

  5. Identify negative self-talk, then choose to stop being so cruel to yourself.

  6. Thank your body for all the amazing things it does for you.

  7. Don't gauge your worth by how much you weigh. (Or how tight your shirt is!) You are more than a number on a scale.

  8. Remind yourself that the media distorts our perceptions of how people "should" look.

  9. Focus on being healthy, not skinny.

  10. STOP comparing yourself to others.

May we all have the courage to do what Gabourey Sidibe did: "One day I had to sit down with myself and decide that I loved myself no matter what my body looked like and what other people thought about my body."

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