All Entries For body bliss

How Your Genes Affect Your Jean Size


"I am just big-boned. Everyone in my family is big-boned."

"My Mom is heavy. My Dad is heavy. I'll never be anything but heavy."

"My sister has my Mom's lean body and I have my Dad's stocky body, so I will never be lean like her."
 
At one point or another, you've probably heard your friends or family members utter these phrases. Heck, you may have even said similar things yourself. 

So just how much of a role do genetics play in your body shape and size? If you have heavy parents, are you truly doomed to be heavy forever? When your parents are tall and lean, can you get away with eating more—without consequence? If your mom has wide hips, will shopping for jeans always be the bane of your existence?
Posted 11/7/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 37 comments   35,103 views
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Sexy Workout Songs that Celebrate You


With Valentine's Day coming up, we've all been bombarded with messages about love, romance and sex for weeks already. Fortunately, this isn't another one. February may be synonymous with "relationships" but I think it's a great time to think about your relationship with yourself and different, yet still important kind of love: self-love. This is important whether you're single, coupled or something in between.
 
Many of our readers are working to lose weight and have battled body hatred for a long time. Many who have lost the weight expected that to change, only to later realize that body love isn't about being a certain size: It has to come from within, and you can have it no matter how you look if you just cultivate it. The truth is that we are all worthy of care, respect, love and confidence, and we can all take steps to "own" our bodies, move with confidence, dress with style, and not let fear of what others may think stop us from doing what we want to do, whether that's dancing at that upcoming wedding, joining that gym, wearing a swimsuit, or asking for that promotion.  
 
Exercise inspires that confidence at any size. While I listen to a wide variety of songs when I work out—some with embarrassing lyrics but great beat and others with inspiring messages—I really enjoy listening to workout songs that make me feel good about myself and my body. These encourage me to keep going with my workouts, and the whole thing becomes a virtuous cycle of love and health and fitness and confidence that feeds itself.
 
So what are these love-your-body songs? I've got 21 that'll make you feel strong, confident and sexy during (and long after) your next workout.
Posted 2/6/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 78 comments   77,001 views
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How I Learned to Rock My Swimsuit with Confidence


Two years ago, I confessed a big secret. Back then, it had been eight long years since I wore a bathing suit in public. I was simply too uncomfortable "showing off" my body in that manner. No matter how much fun I was missing, my fear of judgment from others won out.

I know how silly it seems. I know that while I idolized the bodies of others, many women would cut off their arm for the chance to look like me in a bathing suit. And I know that it seems a little immature and self-centered. After all, who am I to think that anyone is even paying me any attention or cares what I'm wearing?

Still. After years of disordered eating and obsessive exercising, which I'm proud to have overcome, I just wasn't mentally "there" yet. While I took steps to start loving my body and began to eat and exercise without extremes, I could not shake major body dissatisfaction. I did not feel like I looked good enough to parade around in next to nothing.

When I wrote that blog, I was determined to change my fate. For one, I was tired of missing out. Secondly, I was tired of talking and thinking so negatively about myself. But mostly, I thought about the future. Someday I hope to have kids of my own and—especially if they are girls—I never want them to struggle with body image or eating issues the way I did. And the only way for me to model confidence and self-love is to really live it. So why wait? Might as well start now.

Posted 6/15/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 66 comments   20,921 views
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Body Bliss: 8 Ways to Honor Your Body Today


Even though I have a pretty healthy outlook about food and exercise these days (summed up in a single word: moderation), I spent years struggling with a negative body image, disordered eating and exercise habits, and weight fluctuations. I feel fortunate to have been able to overcome these issues and return to "normal" eating and exercising, which was a major feat. But even though my outward habits were positive and healthy, I was still struggling on the inside, and didn't like what I saw in the mirror. Even though no one else could hear them, I said hurtful things about myself. I didn't wear shorts or even a bathing suit for nearly a decade because I never felt like my body was good enough to be on display. Clearly, I had more work to do.

It's been an ongoing process for me to go from loathing my body to liking it to loving it (at least some parts). It's an ongoing process for me to care less and less what anyone else might think about it. Some people view this as a common struggle that we just have to deal with, but I don't. No one should have to feel bad about how they look, and everyone CAN develop a healthier body image with practice.

In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb. 20-26), I'm going to share the 8 simple ways you can foster a more positive body image starting today.
Posted 2/23/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 124 comments   18,774 views
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Body Bliss: Dress for the Body You Have Today


In college, when I was about 30 pounds heavier and several pant sizes larger than I am today, I hated myself. All I wanted was to be cute and tiny, but no matter how much I wanted it, I couldn't make it happen. Diet after diet ended in failure. Workout plans came and went. I never lost weight—only motivation. I was close to accepting my fate as an overweight person, bound to struggle forever.

Eventually, I learned that getting healthy—both physically and mentally—had to start with love. Self love. I may have wished my body was different, but if I had any hopes of changing it, I had to learn to accept my body in its current state. That meant caring for it and treating it with respect.

During my journey to self-love, one of the best bits of advice I ever received was to dress the body you currently have. This single, somewhat simple, piece of advice helped me on my way to loving myself and eventually led me to weight loss.
Posted 4/28/2010  8:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 241 comments   27,956 views
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Body Bliss: Turn Every Negative into a Positive


Your thighs are too big. Those fat rolls on your stomach look disgusting. Your butt is as wide as a house. Your breasts aren't perky enough. Your arms need to be more toned. And since you're wondering, yes, that outfit does make you look fat.

You probably wouldn't dream of saying the things above to your friends, let alone your worst enemies! But you're probably guilty of talking like this to the most important person of all. Yourself.

Comments like these may enter your mind only occasionally if you're lucky. But for those who struggle with negative body image or poor self-esteem, these private thoughts occur dozens or even hundreds of times per day. No matter how often you talk down to yourself, the effect is always the same: It hurts you. And it sabotages your weight-loss efforts, your ability to stick to an exercise program, and your well-being, too.

We're all guilty of putting ourselves down sometimes—whether for your appearance, a mistake you made at work or an embarrassing moment. We would never stand for someone else talking to us the way we speak to ourselves on a regular basis. So what do you do about it?
Posted 5/27/2009  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 147 comments   22,460 views
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Body Bliss: What Do You Love about Yourself?


We are our own worst critics. Somehow, it’s all too easy to zero in on everything you don’t like about your body when you look in the mirror. Similarly, one harsh comment from another person can stick with you for the rest of your life. (I’ll never forget how I felt when several kids wrote my name next to “ugliest cheerleader” in a middle school slam book.) Why is it that we can easily recall these negative comments, or recite a laundry list of things we’d like to change about ourselves, but when asked to recall the most recent compliment you got, or list your best feature, you come up blank? It’s time to change that!
Posted 10/8/2008  8:34:36 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 455 comments   8,824 views
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