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Take a Moment to Appreciate

 

We are so often focused on tweaking, toning and improving our bodies (I am among the most guilty). In the spirit of summer loving, let’s take a moment to appreciate our bodies exactly how they are in this moment. Instead of listing another workout, another reason to stay motivated through the summer, or another healthy recipe, I’m giving you 5 ways to appreciate your beautiful body when you (finally) have a few spare moments this summer.

1. Take a solid 10 minutes to STRETCH.

Play your three favorite songs while you do this. See how many amazing ways your body can move and bend. Feel which muscles are the tightest (mine are always those under the arms and the hamstrings.) Focus on those areas, and breathe slowly and deeply while you stretch.

2. GET LOST on a run or walk.

Try a new running path, explore a new park, or walk down a street in your neighborhood you’ve never been down. Appreciate your body’s ability to carry you through a new place with confidence and strength in every step and your mind’s ability to navigate you through this new area. Take in every detail. Appreciate the beauty around you as well as your body beneath you.

3. THANK your body with a snack that is bursting with nutrition.

 

Try a protein smoothie, a baked sweet potato, or a grilled-chicken-filled lettuce wrap. Feel the energy you have just given your body surge through your muscles and limbs afterwards.

 

4. BUY clothes that show off your best assets.

Also, throw out old clothes that don’t fit (we all have those jeans from freshman year of high school that we secretly hope will fit again one day!) Love your body as it is, right now, today. If you have great legs, enjoy showing them off in a pair of denim cut-offs. If you’ve been working on getting Jessica Biel-worthy arms, don’t be afraid to flex while you reach for your iced coffee in a cute sleeveless blouse. If you’ve been doing your flys and rows, show off your toned back with a low-back dress or a top with cutouts.

5. Make a LIST of all the amazing things your body does for you every day.

Here’s my top 10 list to get you started: My body…

  1. Gets me out of bed when I’m still half asleep.
  2. Powers me through long, grueling spin classes.
  3. Carries my nearly 20 lb, oversized tote bag everywhere with me.
  4. Pushes me to take the stairs instead of the elevator in our 9-story condo building. (We live on the 9th floor.)
  5. Helps me keep up with my mom (one of the most fit people I know) in our strength-training and boot camp classes.
  6. Appreciates the good food that I nourish it with by rarely having an upset stomach or headaches.
  7. Lets me shake it on the dance floor into the AM with my girlfriends.
  8. Loves to do spontaneous cartwheels and handstands.
  9. Carries me through long, hot summer runs.
  10. Lets me know what it needs: food, water, stretching, rest. 
This summer, make sure you thank your body every day for the amazing things it does for you. From mastering your flips off the diving boards, to getting you up at an ungodly hour for your job every day, to powering you through your workouts, to letting you celebrate on the weekends to your friends, your body is amazing.  Don’t hate; celebrate.
 
Photo 1, 2
Ayla Kinney

Notre Dame '13

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