Improve your self-image with these steps
January 20, 2014
About 71 percent of Americans make it past the second week of their New Year's resolutions, with 38 percent of those intentions being about weight loss. Only 8 percent are successful in keeping their resolutions through the end of the year, which is why we instead propose focusing on building a foundation of resiliency. In a four-part series — with this week offering the second installment — the ColoradoFit team of trainers, nutritionists and mental health experts offer their best tips for being stronger in every way possible so that you can bounce back from whatever life throws your way in 2014.
To read earlier installments in the series — about coming up with a game plan and paying attention to what you eat — visit http://www.denverpost.com/fitness.
Love the one you're with, Rudy McClinon Jr. says, because that person is always going to be you.
"We all are unique, and we seem to have such a tough time just saying, 'This is what is special and good about me,'" the certified fitness trainer says. "Instead, we waste so much time worrying about what other people have. Meanwhile, they're doing the same thing, and no one is getting the most out of their amazing gifts."
If we can accept our bodies — and even appreciate them — then we can focus on reaching our highest physical potential, rather than trying to turn ourselves into something we can never be, he adds.
"I'm not saying you shouldn't try to achieve incredible feats, but you have to work with what you have," McClinon says. "You have a body type that God gave you, and you can only change it so much within that framework. Genetics do have something to do with some of the things you're going to be able to change, and it will help to come to an acceptance of that. But take that further and just love what you have."
McClinon didn't always feel that way about his own body. When he was 48, the former NFL player had both hips replaced and was nearly crushed by the resulting depression. "I couldn't run, I couldn't jump. I thought I was done," the owner of R-U-A-Pro Fitness (www.ruaprofitness.com), now 60, says. "What helped me get out of it was just getting out there, doing what I could do. I started feeling progressively better and better, and that kept me going forward."
McClinon lists three things you can do to help improve your self-image.
• Focus on what you can do, not what you can't
"When most folks start a workout program, the first thing I hear from them is, 'I can't do this or that because I have this issue or limitation,' " McClinon says. "They wind up putting a lot of energy into that, energy that could be put into succeeding."
He instead has them list all the things they can do, and immediately gets them started on that list. "It's amazing, because you'll see progress right away when you just go with the things you can do. And then when you see results, there's momentum and it just keeps building."
• Be realistic about your body
If you have a short, wide body frame or are curvaceous, embrace it rather than fighting it.
"Find out what the best ways are to use the body you have, how it can move and what it can do for you," McClinon says. "Spending time being sad that you aren't taller is such a waste."
• Watch what you say about other people's bodies
"When you put other people down, most of the time it's because you have a low opinion of yourself," McClinon says. "If you find that you are constantly pointing out when someone else is overweight or too skinny, stop for a minute and ask, 'What does this say about how I feel about me?'"
Do the opposite — concentrating on what you find appealing about others — and you may find that you start to notice your own body image improving. "Studies show that positive thinking is linked to better self-esteem and better health," McClinon says. "And it will rub off on other people; they'll pick up on it.
"When you give good things to other people, good things come back to you."
Kyle Wagner can be reached at 303-954-1599, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/ kylewagnerworld.
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