This Friday, March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s the perfect time to reflect on women’s rights and gender equality, to applaud women’s achievements, and to get fired up and inspired.
We are living in extraordinary times, and perhaps more than at any other time in history, women are on fire and excelling in the board room, business, politics, law, finance, arts and sciences.
Yet, paradoxically, it seems the more women achieve, the more women are influenced and obsessed with celebrity, and spending unprecedented amounts of both money and time on appearance and beauty (and unhealthy doses of self-criticism).
Throughout the years, I have worked with hundreds of extraordinarily successful, accomplished, and beautiful women, but too often, they experience feelings of inadequacy, like they never really measured up. I witnessed clients’ self-criticism, saw drug and alcohol abuse, anorexia, bulimia, cutting, and even exercise abuse.
That’s why this year’s Internal Women’s Day theme “Balance for Better” is so right on time, and the first things we need to balance are our brains and bodies. We need to detox from reality TV, ubiquitous beauty advertisements, and social media. We need to flip the script and rewire our brains with positive and loving self-images, nourish our bodies with healing foods, and exercise sensibly.
If you are blessed with full hips, a bootylicious derriere, thunder thighs, and a bountiful bosom, I say, embrace it and celebrate it. Use exercise to enhance and accentuate the positives, and just forget about your self-perceived flaws. Getting back to balance starts with self acceptance and self-love. Learning to love yourself (the way you are) can fuel you with positive energy that will set realistic fitness and wellness goals in motion.
While it may seem an obvious no-brainer, the simple truth is daily exercise would likely do more to improve women’s global health, well being, and self-esteem than a host of surgical procedures, the latest new pharmacological miracle drugs, and $300 beauty creams. Try something as simple as a 30-minute walk at a rate that you can comfortably carry on a conversation.
Even if exercising doesn’t make you look younger and you don’t shed a pound, do it anyway. You’ll feel better and improve your mood, too. In case you need some more convincing, here are three reasons to get started:
As little as 30 minutes of exercise per day can give you that much-needed pick me up and a natural infusion of endorphins. You’ll be on a natural high (and, the real bonus — better health). The key is being consistent and making exercise a daily part of your routine. Daily exercise is like a gift you give yourself.
In the United States, heart disease remains the number-one cause of death for both men and women. Heart attacks are often more fatal for women, which is why women need to be more proactive about exercise, stress reduction, and maintaining good circulation.
Most experts agree that exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. Exercise can be a women’s personal sanctuary, a moving mediation that can become a temporary vacation from the daily grind. Exercise can enhance your optimism and feel-good vibrations.