Do you ever criticize your own body shape? Do you ever judge yourself as fat, frumpy, weak, gelatinous, flabby, flaccid, out-of-breath or any other unflatteringly descriptive adjective?

You will hear women say, “Ewe! My muffin-top has exploded.” “I look like a cow in this dress.” “I can’t wear those pants! You can see my cottage-cheese thighs.” “Does my stomach look fat in this?”

You will hear men say, “Man, I gotta do something about this beer belly.” “Yep, I’m outta shape. Bad knees…” “Used to work out… now I’m a couch potato.” “I’m too old to play sports.”

Being physically unfit has reached epidemic proportions in our modern day society. In fact, people have abdicated personal responsibility for their own body to the point that there are entire industries set up to create the illusion of physical fitness. Think about it….

If you have no stamina, all you have to do is grab the nearest source of false energy – a coffee, an energy drink, an energy pill or any other artificial stimulant.

If you don’t like your appearance and want to appear trimmer, all you have to do is head to the nearest mall for the necessary body-slimming garment. Or, if you have the credit card and want the longer-lasting illusion, all you have to do is head to the nearest plastic surgeon – get a tummy-tuck, liposuction, a breast lift, a face lift, a butt lift or whatever other kind of lift.

If you have no muscle strength, you can eat fake muscle-building formulas, take steroids or get implants.

However much you may wish for a quick fix to physical fitness, none of those external solutions actually produces any long-term results. Artificial stimulants eventually lead to exhaustion and breakdown, plastic surgery eventually sags, and nothing can create muscle strength besides naturally building muscle through regular exercise.

If you would like to look better and feel better, the solution is easy; stop complaining and take full 100% responsibility for your own physical fitness. Build a great body! Having a fit body feels wonderful. When you feel more physically capable, you’ll naturally be more vibrant, and you’ll therefore feel more attractive.

There is a universal law that says, ‘Use it or lose it’ – this applies to your physical fitness in every way because things that go unused atrophy. Here is how it works:

If you get winded going up the stairs, it is highly likely that you are not moving your body enough. If you want more stamina, you must decide to create it by increasing your lung capacity. Practice breathing more deeply. Try walking more often. Go back down the stairs and back up again. Gradually increase your level of aerobic exercise.

If you feel stiffness in your body, this is a good indication that you are not stretching your body enough to stay limber. If you want greater flexibility, you must decide to move your body to create greater range of motion. Don’t sit in the same position all day. Begin to bend your body. Learn gentle stretches. Do some squats holding onto a chair.

If you have trouble lifting or carrying a bag of groceries, it is likely that you aren’t doing enough weight-bearing to build strength. If you want to be stronger, you must decide to create more strength by building your muscles through lifting and resistance training. Start by lifting a small 2-3 lb weight in each hand a few times each day. Carry a 5-10lb weight as you walk across a room. Get a resistance band. Gradually increase number of repetitions. Increase weight incrementally as lifting becomes easy.

You don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment to become physically fit. Exercise can be done virtually anywhere, indoors or outside, standing, sitting or even lying down. If you are not sure what to do, google basic exercise on the internet. Libraries often have a good selection of books as well as basic videos on  yoga, Tai Chi, aerobics, stretching, dance – whatever lights you up. Or check out your local Y, community center or senior activity center for group exercise classes. For a higher level of fitness, try something new and exciting like joining a CrossFit box, signing up for a dance class or enrolling in an exercise boot camp. Trust your guidance as to what to do and how much. You may need to experiment. Whatever you choose, start small and build gradually in order to sustain.

This short blog is not meant to provide fitness instruction; it is meant to galvanize you to take 100% responsibility for the shape of your body. Take charge of your physical well-being; your body is the vessel of your soul. Stop complaining, criticizing or looking for the quick fix and begin to use your body to build strength, stamina and flexibility for lasting results. Make physical movement a regular part of your daily life. Your body will thank you. Your soul will thank you.

Many Blessings of Joy and Vibrant Freedom

Action Step ~ Stop complaining about your body and take full responsibility for your physical fitness. Declaration: “I am 100% responsible for the shape of my own body. I am now experiencing vibrant health and well-being as I breathe, stretch, lift and move my body daily.”

Additional Support: Listen to this 12-minute closed-eye process on body image; please refrain from driving while listening.

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