Meal Prep and Planning For Your Success

Ever get to a place where you get stuck yo-yo-ing around the same 10-15 pounds? This has been me for the past year. I’ll lose 10 and then gain 8 around the holidays, and then stay pretty stagnant for the duration of the summer, etc. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that if I’m going to actually make this change and be successful, I need to hold myself accountable and come up with a solid game plan.

Hence my 3 main points in today’s post:

  1. No buy, no cry. If it’s not in your house or in front of you, you won’t be tempted to eat it. Essentially you won’t be setting yourself up for failure. If you were trying to quit smoking, you wouldn’t place packs of cigarettes around the house, either. Work on shopping when you’re full and satisfied, not starving and ready to indulge on Cheetos and sugary foods.

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  1. Plan it out or you’ll be in doubt. We’d all like to think that we don’t “need” to count calories or watch our portions if we workout hard enough but that just isn’t true. In order to be successful we need to have a game plan and meal prep is my new favorite thing. Below is a picture of my first attempt at some legit meal prep. I view them a lot like homemade lean cuisines, except not frozen or full of preservatives. Eat them within the same week and you’re golden. For these I just threw 3 chicken breasts into a crock pot the night before with chicken broth, garlic powder, and pepper. Cooked them on low over night for 8 hours and then in the morning they were easy to pull apart and shred. I added some Frank’s Buffalo Sauce and then divided a can of spinach, black beans, and some salsa between the six containers. Each one is just 315 calories and when I get home tonight I won’t have to cook!

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  1. Get it out of the way and enjoy your day. I’ve personally found that if I can get my workout done in the morning BEFORE my day gets crazy, then it’s more likely to happen and make my day better overall. If you can get to the gym after work, school, endless errands, then GOOD on you. I just can’t tell you HOW many times I’ve promised myself to go to a cycling class or pop in a workout video after I get home, to find myself not moving from the couch. Or I run into the issue of eating something extra at work and counting on that workout afterwards to bring my net calories back to my goal. Do the workout before you let yourself have the treat.

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Ten Changes For The New Year

Every year we all grow and every year I think I’ve got it all figured out only to discover that 365 days later I’ve got even more ideas on how to improve. The point is, we never stop growing, learning, maturing, and developing. Finding ways to allow ourselves to continue to grow and keep an open mind and a loving heart towards ourselves is key.

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With that being said, here are the ten things I’m vowing to do for myself starting now and throughout 2014:

1) Process before responding. Now this is bigger than listening. I’ve become a much better listener in the past year than I ever have been. I’m no longer just waiting to talk, I’m listening. But often times I’m not processing enough before I’m responding. I find myself responding in ways that I think must be “correct” or “appropriate” in the moment but that really aren’t the best for me. And that down the line aren’t solving anything. When I’m discussing with people and they are truly asking for my response I need to drop the urge to do so immediately and allow my mind to fully engage.

2) Forgiving myself and trusting my past actions. For the first 2 years after I lost my Dad I made some huge, some hasty, life changes and decisions. I cut out more people in my life than I ever thought was possible and some of them weren’t even for what seemed like logical reasons. But looking back I don’t regret it and I see how clear my scope was. I was given a gift of being able to see what truly mattered in my life after such a great loss. I wouldn’t have had that strength and courage to bravely say no to people and consciously walk away from toxic friendships without that. I’m now in a beautiful zone of clarity surrounded by the people who have meant the most all along.

3) I will be patient, loving, nurturing, and more caring with my body. Self hate runs deep within my veins. It’s easy to spiral in that doubt and pain cycle of critiquing myself and doubting my own abilities. My body is going to constantly shift and change. I’m not always going to look one way but I can always work on how I feel. I need to take more deep breaths and focus on the beauty within my body and stop making hateful comments on it it at any given moment.

4) Lead the way instead of merely pointing in a direction. I can preach all I want about how I disagree with someone or how much I believe in something else whether it be women’s issues or how much sugar to eat. While words are powerful, the act of doing what you believe and living a life full of those actions speaks stronger than any article you post ever can. More internal focus.

5) Truly owning independence in the face of a co-dependent nature. Like a lot of people, I want to make others happy. I want my family to be proud of me and support me and I’ve always tried so hard to do things to ensure their happiness and others as well. While it’s important to care about the ones you love, it’s necessary to find a balance and realize that sometimes feelings of guilt are normal and just that, feelings. We all have to move forward with our lives and sometimes make choices that won’t be as convenient for others.

6) More nothing days. Today I took a 4 hour nap. I was so exhausted from being exhausted my body finally gave up. Planning more days to do absolutely nothing and not feel guilty is key in order for me to feel well rested and regain that energy and motivation for a healthy life.

7) Set measurable and attainable ways to do new things. Merely saying “I’m going to write more this year” won’t help me accomplish anything if I don’t actually set specific goals. The same goes for weight loss, exercise, you name it.

8) With that being said I’m going to write more. I want to set aside 10 minutes a day to free write. To write about my day, to vent, to free my mind of clutter. That and I want to truly commit to one blog post a week. What could you make time for with just 10 minutes a day?

9) Listen when my body is trying to speak to my mind. Ever hear that quote about how if you judged every animals ability by how high they could climb a tree then fish would never get any praise? The same is true for communication throughout your body. While your mind may say to you “put down that cupcake!” your knees won’t tell you to stop running, in some cases they’ll just give out on mile ten. When we can quiet our inner voice (and mine is loud so sometimes I really have to tell it to shut up) we can truly begin to notice the language of our bodies. My headaches also tell me more than just pain, they tell me I’m dehydrated, that I need a better bedtime, that maybe I should finally make amends with that old friend. Your body is smarter than you think, it just doesn’t talk to you in the same ways. Listen.

10) Remembering that most of the time it’s not about me. When others act out, seem distant, or whatever it make be, it’s human nature to immediately think “well what did I do?” or “they are being so rude to me!” Chances are while it may be painful, the source is usually not you, it’s something they are going through. And when we all go through things nothing is more frustrating than everyone needing you to coddle them because they think it’s about them. Be aware of this and while you make sure to keep boundaries in place, realize that sometimes people aren’t present or there for you because they have too much going on in their own lives. It doesn’t mean they don’t care about you.

While I could go on and make a list of other things like less chocolate and more vegetables, these are true life changes that I can make from the inside out. That I can make into habits from the core of my very being. These are New Years resolutions that I’m finally excited and truly aware of.

Being Healthy is the Main Goal

A reminder that you are more than just your body. You are your mind, your outlook, your personality, your love, and yourself. We all have goals we want to strive for but make sure to check in with yourself from time to time and make sure th…ey are healthy, realistic, and goals that come from your heart, not society. This can be so hard to do but we have to remember that healthy has more than one shape, more than one weight, and looks different on every body. The biggest goal we should all have is the continuing journey of loving ourselves inside and out. Hate will only fuel misery. You are worth all the energy it takes to feel happy, be loved, and fuel love. Don’t forget that ♥
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We Are Aware of What We Choose to See: How Consciousness Affects Our Health

Whenever we embark on a fatloss journey, it all sounds easy in theory.

I just have to eat less.

This won’t be THAT hard.

I can totally eat 1200 calories a day.

But then once we start, it can suddenly feel like the world is against us. We’re hungry, there are less choices, and who the hell actually follows those meal plans with turkey bacon and a bazzillion ingredients for every meal!? I don’t have endless dollars and turkey bacon is gross. That’d be like eating a mound of broccolli and calling it veggie cake. Get OUT of here, it’s not the same!

mindful-eating-lessThe reason why it seems so hard is because we suddenly have to become conscious. All of this time we’ve just been eating. I don’t know about you but when I’m not on top of my health, I’m not sitting down planning out how many cheetos I’m going to eat. I just find myself covered in orange in front of the TV wondering how I ever found a boyfriend. You know, where the cheeto dust is so thick on your fingers that you have to use your teeth to truly lick it off? Yeah. It’s OK, you’re not alone.

The point is, being conscious and aware suddenly makes us feel trapped, obsessive, and super observant about all aspects of our lives. We have to be brutally honest with ourselves about what we’re putting into our bodies. It’s a GREAT thing but it can also be hard to find that balance of caring about what you’re eating and not obsessing. It’s ok if you don’t know every single calorie in every thing you eat. It’s about changing your lifestyle, not doing jumping jacks because you ate a tic tac.

030413p42_clip_image002Think about it this way. What color shirt did you wear yesterday? The day before? What color are you wearing now? Yeah. I have no clue because I’ve never actually cared about this part of my daily routine. I just wear clothes. If you suddenly decided to figure out what color you wanted to wear every day and became conscious of it, you’d notice it more. It’s a lot like when there’s a recall of a product or an influx in the hype about some movie or show. Suddenly you see that stuff EVERYWHERE! And you think, wow, is there more of this? How long has this been going on? The fact is, our lives are determined by how conscious and aware we are of things. Quite frankly, things don’t exist to us if we don’t pay attention. But as we all know, our health will catch up with us if we don’t pay attention to that. I will continue to choose to ignore Miley Cyrus but I won’t ignore what food goes into my body.

So if we all take a deep breath and realize that it’s less about this shift being extremely difficult and more about us just being aware of what is happening, it starts to seem a little more bareable. Ok. I got this.

Make a plan for yourself. Don’t just leave your success up to fate. Set daily goals and changes for yourself. Soon things will become habits. Say no to the cookies in the breakroom, or just don’t go to the breakroom. Every time you make a positive choice for your health instead of a bad one, THAT is progress! And those are all huge and important steps.

The Parts of Weight Loss People Don’t Talk About

So you’re on a weight loss journey or you’ve been on one for a while. Things are starting to really feel amazing. Your body is changing, your clothes are fitting, hell, clothes shopping is kind of fun now. People at work and your family are being supportive and making comments on how great you look. Why didn’t I start this sooner!?! You start to wonder.

What people don’t talk about and what before and after pictures don’t show is how deep a transformation a health and fitness journey really is. You don’t just change your physical appearance and your ability to say “no” to Cheetos, but every aspect of your life changes from your friends, to your outlook, even down to how people start treating you.

What?!

I know. It’s crazy to think about but you’re not alone and you’re not going crazy. Transforming your body transforms your mind and when you start reaching major goals, some things start happening and it can be nice to know you’re not the only who who’s thought about them.

You Don’t See Your Own Progress

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How many times have you been shopping, picked out a few tops, pants, maybe some dresses, when suddenly you’re in the fitting room and everything is hanging off of you. What? There’s NO way I’m actually a smaller size. And then that moment hits you when you realize all this time, you have had no actual logical perception of what you look like or the size and shape of your new body.

Adjusting to a new you is hard. Sure, you look better and people look at you in admiration of your hard work. But no matter how great you look and feel now, it’s a whole new world to get used to. Clothes start to fit you differently. You’re suddenly more aware of fat in different places because you’re wearing more form-fitting clothes and not hiding under baggy sweatshirts and loose pants. In many ways, you may find yourself MORE insecure and misguided than when you had 30 more pounds on you before.

It can feel incredibly disheartening and frustrating. Where did all of my confidence go? I felt SO HOT in that skirt 6 months ago and now I have one in a smaller size and I don’t feel the same way. The key is to focus on what you DO love about your new body. You may not be happy with excess skin or a lack of definition in your arms, but don’t you FEEL better? Think about what you’re capable of doing now. The YOU a year ago couldn’t do push ups, heck, the you a year ago made fun of people who did push ups. HA! Super-obsessive fitness people, trying to push the earth down. ::inserts Doritos in mouth::

You Feel MORE Insecure

13_changingroom_lglWhen you were heavier, you didn’t think about your weight, in fact, you completely avoided it. Fit people in TV and movies you didn’t even think about comparing yourself to or getting jealous over because that would never be you, not even close. When you start reaching goals and realizing that you ARE capable of dramatic changes, it can be terrifying. Suddenly you feel accountable for your body, which is amazing and encouraging but also downright painful to realize.

Does this mean I’ve been a failure all of these years I’ve been overweight?

How much time have I wasted?

What if I actually can’t do this? What if I start to gain all the weight back? Maybe I should just go to Baskin Robbins and give up my dreams of asking that cute guy/girl out.

The fact that weight loss and fitness REQUIRE you to be aware, to be present when you eat food and make choices, puts you in an entirely new mental zone. Go easy on yourself and realize that you’re having to adjust more than your portions. You’re going to be more aware, therefore, you’re going to be thinking a plethora of new thoughts and having new experiences with your body and your mind that can feel kind of jarring at first. Take the word “insecure” and replace it with “more aware.” You’re not insecure about your stomach, you’re more aware of it. Be kind with your thoughts and let the ones go that aren’t nice back to you.

You Enter the NO-MORE-SUPPORT Zone

Negative-GossipTHIS is the biggest issue that I hardly hear people talk about. When you are first losing weight, family, friends, co-workers, they are ALL supportive. OH MY GAWD, Janet, you look fanTAStic! What are you doing? We should go get drinks! It’s fun and easy to watch the “chubby” girl lose weight and start to feel good in her own skin. It gives other people motivation and reason to praise their own bodies, especially if you are just now getting down to their size.

But strange things start to happen (especially with women) when you get further and deeper into your fitness and nutrition goals. Suddenly those comments can become negative digs. Janet! You’re getting so tiny! Are you okay? Are you only eating carrots or something? You should have a donut. People are suddenly aware of your potential and can become “threatened” by your determination. Suddenly you’re not a motivational poster for health, but a reminder of how hard THEY aren’t working. You’re the one making healthy choices and a reminder to everyone who’s still eating Burger King that their choices reflect their health and their weight.

People get less supportive and fewer comments are made about your appearance and instead comments are made about the “weird” things you do like eat salads or run on your lunch break.

It’s important to not let these comments or remarks get you down. Your motivation shouldn’t lie in what other people think or say about you. A great thing that my friend Lindsey said to me today was:

Don’t be any less of who you are because other people can’t be more of who they want to be. Don’t waste your precious time and energy second guessing yourself and wondering how to accommodate people who won’t step up to the plate to accommodate themselves.

Maybe you’ve reached your weight loss goal or you are “super skinny and perfect” according to all of your friends but you still want more of a challenge. It can be hard to be “that” person who’s always going to the gym or striving to see what his/her body can REALLY do when people around you already think you look great. You must be crazy or obsessive to think you still need to workout or lose more fat. Finding the right support groups can be hard in this phase. Just remember that this is a journey FOR yourself WITH yourself and not everyone is going to understand your reasons or feel the same desire or need to get in amazing shape.

keep-calm-and-ignore-negative-peopleJust as everyone’s opinions and thoughts are different, so are everyone’s bodies. There are an endless array of shapes and sizes that are gorgeous, sexy, defined, toned, lean, muscular, and curvaceous and not just one is the best one. These are all decisions we need to make for ourselves and we are certainly not going to have the same body our entire lives either.

The key is figuring out what YOUR goals are and realizing that many things will always change along the way. You may always have to battle with subtle insecurities and new clothes and people. But look at that as a challenge and a positive way to grow and nothing will stop you!

How to overcome binge and compulsive overeating

Believe it or not, there are people out there that stop eating when they are full. They’ve done this their entire lives. They don’t keep eating until their stomach hurts or they forget about their problems. It’s not that they have more self control, they just don’t have that thing about them that makes them want to eat a mountain of cupcakes.

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Me on the other hand, I’ve always been different. I’m like a puppy in front of endless kibble, and if I’m sad or depressed or angry, I will eat until I’m even more so. The thing is, I wasn’t always like this and sometimes I have gone years at a time without this problem. But every now and then I find myself running to the grocery store at 10pm and back home with Ben & Jerries, Cheez-Its, and the entire Netflix collection of the Office on continuous play.

It’s that moment when you think you might throw up, your knuckles hit the bottom of the goldfish bag, or your have to start tilting the pringles because you can’t fit your fist inside. It’s that horrible moment when you think a number of things:

Why am I eating when I’m not even hungry?

OMG I have a problem! I’m a monster!

NO ONE CAN EVER KNOW ABOUT THIS. I need to take the garbage out right now.

Am I pregnant?

Am I depressed? What’s wrong with me?

The truth is. You’re not alone. Around 3.5% of women and 2% of men experience a form of binge eating in their lifetime. And before you get scared and X out of this page because you don’t want to hear that you have an eating disorder. Stay with me. While binge eating is classified as a type of eating disorder by the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), there are times in our lives where we might be overeating or anxious and it doesn’t mean there’s something horribly wrong with us or that we are lesser human beings. Binge eating is also the MOST COMMON eating disorder out there and effects around 30% of people pursueing weight loss goals or treatment.

So why do people binge eat? And what’s classified as binge eating? And why am I just NOW facing this after having success losing weight?

Everyone seems to have too much food over the holidays or on their birthday. But sometimes we feel like eating alone, eating a lot of food alone, being secretive about it, and then feeling an enormous amount of shame and guilt afterwards. It’s that horrible feeling and promising yourself you’ll stop and that you’re done and then finding yourself in the same situation again.

For me, I’ve binged when I’m alone. I’m bored and sometimes I’m not even depressed or sad or angry about much or anything at all. But I know how good filling up my stomach with bad food will feel…momentarily. It’s a type of high. It’s a momentary feeling of pleasure that makes you forget about other problems. But it can destroy you inside and out.

When I was little, I would often sneak food. I was teased a lot in elementary school for having a tummy and if I was ever home before my parents I’d sneak as many Little Debby snacks as I could and eat them like there was no tommorow. Years went by and I got a lot healthier into my High School years. I would go running, 2-6 miles a day and I felt great, I wasn’t obsessed with my body but I was happy that I felt energized and was getting compliments on my appearance.

Even in college, eating wasn’t an issue. The dorms helped with pre-prepared meals and having roommates always held me accountable in terms of not overeating or snacking at night. It wasn’t until after losing 50 lbs and spending nearly 3 years so heavily focused on my body, my caloric intake, and my results that all of those impulses started to come back. For the past year I have truly struggled when I’m alone (usually Sunday nights) to not eat as much as I can.

Do I feel ashamed? Embarassed? Worried? Yeah, most definitely. But I know that sharing my story and finding ways to move forward will mean that I’ll find a solution faster and stop this cycle.

So why do we feel so compelled and out of control with overeating after we’ve made such amazing fat loss progress? Losing weight is a journey that will be more complicated than you’d ever expect. When you decide and committ to weightloss journey, you are transforming more than your body. You are changing your habits, the way you think about everything, the choices you make, and you start to look at your body with new hopes and admiration. Suddenly, you ARE capable of reaching goals and not only looking better but feeling better, too! It’s exciting and the compliments are endless and it’s this high of YEAH I’m taking control of my life! But it’s also terrifying. There are moments when we don’t see ourselves the way everyone else does. We get worried that we’ll gain it all back or that we are just as heavy as we once were. It can take months, even a year or more to truly see how small we’re getting and to stop picking up old bigger sizes when we go clothes shopping.

All of that mental effort can be draining and if we don’t find ways to blow off steam and release some of that tension, our minds and bodies will find ways for us. Same goes for all stresses in life. It’s why disorders exist. We can’t prevent stress, but we can find better ways to work through it and not fear being weaker because of it.

I’m not going to sit here and right a list of reasons why binge eating or overeating is bad for you, you probably know why, with the worst part being the way it makes you FEEL. The way it takes away self-esteem and motivation.

So how can we overcome these impulses to overeat when we’re alone or with other people we’re comfortable with. How can we stop?

  • Take 10-15 minutes to write down what triggers you to overeat. Is it being bored? Lonely? Angry or sad? Do you want to overeat when you watch TV or when you get bad news? Understanding what makes you want to start binging or overeating will help you find ways to stop.
  • Once your realize what your triggers are, find healthy alternatives. Go for a walk, do 10 jumping jacks, take a nap, read a book, or call a friend.
  • Don’t deprive yourself of food during the day so you can eat more at night. I’m SO gulty of this. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tried to do 60 minutes of cardio and eating 500 calories so I can have 1500 left over for dinner. It’s a great way to set yourself up for failure, overeat and feel lightheaded throughout the day.
  • Write down a list of foods you crave when you want to binge and find ways to enjoy them in moderation or healthier alternatives. If you NEVER let yourself have chocolate because you want to lose weight, you’re going to end up invading the local grocery store later. Find ways to have just one of something and enjoy it.
  • If you are at a point where you feel like you can’t trust yourself when you’re alone, find someone or a resource to help you. Find a buddy you can text when you want to eat at night or a community forum online.
  • Empower yourself and take time after reading this to focus on the fact that you are finding a solution and already closer to ending self-turmoil instead of feeling bad that you’ve admitted you have something you want to work on.
  • Check out Top 10 Online Resources for Binge Eaters
  • Don’t hide – you are an amazing person and this will be something you will overcome and be proud of. It’s just one more hurdle in your transformation journey that makes you proud to be the person you are.

You can’t fail if you never give up.

Summer Body Image & 5 Steps to Healthier Thoughts

Recently I made the following post on my Facebook page: It’s July and all of the sudden it’s Summer. This is important, so listen closely. You don’t have to be a size zero or have a thigh gap or a 6 pack to be allowed to Summer. You don’t have to be skinny or toned to wear a swimsuit. YOU are bikini ready simply by wearing a bikini. The people who judge others at the beach harshly are the ones that are deeply insecure. While you may be out there thinking “OMG I’m fat” chances are so is everyone else. We all should strive to be healthy and keep up with our fitness, but just because you haven’t reached your ultimate goals yet, doesn’t mean you are allowed to punish yourself mentally and deny yourself the joys of Summer time. So take a deep breath and be proud of yourself for who you are inside and out. Because life will be a lot more rewarding if you start living it NOW and not “when” something happens or “when” you have a certain body.

Weight loss and fitness can draw a difficult line in our lives. We want to stay motivated and with all of the different ways to do that now with Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, or whatever means you use to look at progress pictures or healthy food, it can become overwhelming. It is easy to fixate on someone else’s body, someone else’s thighs or flat stomach and then use that as our motivation. While it’s great to find motivation through different means, it’s important to keep ourselves in check and make sure that we are striving for OUR OWN bodies and our own shape and unique appearance. It’s also important to truly work on creating peach within ourselves.  I love this article I came across on the Huffington Post that shows pictures of women (not supermodels) in bikinis and bathing suits.

Sometimes I have moments where I’ve been working out and I try on my swimsuit and expect to look like some photoshopped, at-the-gym-all-day, supermodel. And when I’m not, it’s a HUGE let down. Suddenly those feelings of insecurity and failure start creeping up and I have to observe them and not let them take over.

Be easy on yourself. We can’t all just snap out of our habitual thought patterns, but we can make strides and start with small steps forward. Don’t deprive yourself of the beach or any summer activities just because you aren’t where you want to be yet. Your body is beautiful and amazing, period.
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The next time you start to feel anxious or overwhelmed about your body or any aspect of yourself, take a moment to run through these suggestions:

  1. Take a few slow, deep breaths and calm your mind. Notice how relaxed you become after consciously taking a moment to slow your pace, clear your mind, and truly let yourself visualize and hear your own thoughts.
  2. Let your thoughts flow but try not to attach yourself to them. If you feel “fat” and “worthless”, let your mind roll that thought away. Then observe how that thought makes you feel. Realize that you don’t have to let every thought you have dictate your emotions or your responses. This is the practice of mindfulness and allows you to let your negative thoughts flow through and out of you. Trying to just stop your negative thoughts
  3. Avoid the All-or-Nothing mentality. When we tell ourselves that we have to be perfect in every way to meet a goal it leads to every little mistake becoming a huge failure. Set realistic goals and ways of praising yourself.
  4. Try to get away from “should”, “can’t”, or other negative suggestive words. While it’s important to observe our thoughts, the next step is changing the habits of past negative thoughts. When you think you “should” do something or “can’t” do something, your mind adapts to that mentality. You suddenly can’t see the small positives and feel too overwhelmed to take steps forward, ultimately feeling stuck and discouraged.
  5. Work on incorporating positive thoughts into your mind to replace the negative ones. Over time, you will make new habits of positive thoughts in the same ways you used to automatically come up with negative ones. Re-affirm your positive self-image. Focus on what you like and love about yourself and your body when you look in the mirror. Work on complimenting yourself, thinking about the good aspects of your body, and learn to accept compliments and say “thank you!” instead of down-playing something nice someone is saying to you.

Remember that Witnessing = Observing + Non-Attachment