How to Love Your Body: Rise up to the Challenge

  • April

    While living in a small sleepy beach town in Uruguay, South America this past winter, I had the pleasure of getting to know Molly Galbraith, owner of Girls Gone Strong (see my spotlight here).

    This phenomenal woman went from being an over-weight and unhealthy teenager to a fitness competitor and everything in between. She has seen the extremes of both lifestyles and has finally found a happy middle ground.

    Molly Galbraith has gone from an over-weight teenager to fitness competitor and everything in between.

    Molly Galbraith has gone from an over-weight teenager to fitness competitor and everything in between.

    But her path to this point wasn’t easy. She’s had to put in a lot of time, self-reflection and still continues to empower herself.

    With all of her efforts and the openness of other female fitness professionals, she has been able to create the “Love Your Body Challenge“. A 28-day FREE challenge to start loving your body again (more on this later).

    The purpose of this challenge is to raise awareness that:

    1. You are NOT alone – Seeing that others have dealt with similar struggles as you can be comforting and empowering.
    2. There’s no shame in an “imperfect” body – Cellulite, stretch marks, birthmarks, scars, moles, wrinkles, etc are a part of us all and they also make us unique. Our bodies help tell our story and shouldn’t be hidden anymore.
    3. Even fit and very lean women have “flaws” – Belly rolls, cottage cheese legs, and loose skin can be hidden by lighting and camera angles, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Stop comparing your “behind the scenes” to a model’s “highlight reel”.
    4. Get clear about yourself – When Molly asked for photos of the unflattering parts of female fitness professionals, they kept asking,
      “Is this enough cellulite?”
      “Does this belly roll look big enough?”
      “Can you see my stretch marks well enough from this angle?” When the women tried to capture the “flaws” that have kept them self-consciously out of bathing suits they could hardly find them at all.
    5. You look amazing – Everyone struggles with body image and loving their bodies at some point, even fitness models. Consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, you are being too hard on yourself, and that you look amazing too.

    Click here to see the revealing stories and photos of 11 female fitness heroines:

    After reading how these female fitness icons exposed their most self-conscious physical flaws, I got inspired to show off my most unflattering part of me… my belly. The folds and rolls kept me worried about which posture and clothing were most unflattering.

    Going from a tiny and lean Nationally competitive gymnast to a recreationally active pubescent teenager was not easy.

    I remember every night I would lie in bed with my hands on my stomach and pinch as much as I could. Side-lying was the worst. Not even lingerie could help me feel sexy.

    But now I lovingly embrace my little belly. It makes me human, normal and healthy. Six-packs may make you appear to be intensely healthy but you actually feel like crap from the extreme dieting and excessive workouts. My body was not made to have a six-pack. Most women’s bodies aren’t.

    Comparing yourself to your 10-year old competitive gymnast body (left) is never healthy. And neither is a professional photoshoot. It's amazing what a little lighting, make-up, and oil will do to a picture (middle) versus the rolls, dimples and pimples that are the real me (right).

    Comparing yourself to your 10-year old gymnast body (left) is never wise. And likewise to a professional photoshoot. It’s amazing what a little lighting, make-up, and oil will do to a picture (middle) versus the rolls, dimples and pimples that are the real me (right).

    Today is Day 1 of YOUR Love Your Body Challenge

    Molly has created a FREE 28-day Love Your Body Challenge that you can follow on her website and newsletter or at the links below. I really encourage you to take on the challenges that really speak to you and do what you can. It only takes 10 minutes a day, and I’ll be doing it with you.

    So without further ado, let’s get started…


    First, before you get started, grab a notebook (or create a document) so that you can have all of your completed assignments in one place.

    Before you begin the Challenge, I’d like you to take a moment and rank how you feel about a few things on a scale from 1-10, 1 being the worst, 10 being the best.  Make sure these are written down in your notebook/document.

    1. How do you feel when you think about how your body looks?
    (1 = absolutely terrible, 10 = freaking awesome)

    2. How often do you think about things you’d like to change on your body?
    (1 = constantly, 10 = never)

    3. How often do you look in the mirror and think, “I look really awesome!”
    (1 = never, 10 = always)

    4. How confident do you feel when you’re in a swimsuit?
    (1 = not confident at all, 10 = extremely confident)

    5. How confident do you feel about your body during intimate moments? 
    (1 = not confident at all, 10 = extremely confident)

    6. How often do you catch yourself saying/thinking negative things about your body? 
    (1 = constantly, 10 = never)

    7. How often do you catch yourself saying negative things about your body to other people? 
    (1 = constantly, 10 = never)

    8. How well do you receive compliments from others?
    (1 = not well, 10 = really well)

    9. How often do you have feelings of shame in regards to your body?
    (1 = constantly, 10 = never)

    10. If I told you that you could drastically change your perception of your body in 28 days, would you believe me?
    (1 = absolutely not, 10 = no doubt about it)

    Instructions:  After ranking yourself in each category, add up your total score and hang on to these numbers.  We will re-visit these questions again in 28 days so that you can see tangible and quantitative improvements.

    Each day you’re going to check back to my website to see the challenge for the day.  And each day there will be a reason to love your body, a mantra associated with that reason, and a small assignment/action step to cement that reason.  And the posts will be short, so they should take less than 5 minutes to read, and the action step should take less than 5 minutes.

    Keep in mind, some mantras and reasons will resonate with you more than others.  If you find one that works, stick with it.  Don’t feel like you have to use a new one if a different one is working.  And if the first few don’t resonate with you?  Don’t worry!  We have 28 days of this, so you’re bound to find something that sticks with you.

    There’s no official registration or sign-up or anything, so I recommend you find yourself an accountability partner and do the challenge together.  It will be fun, and you’re more likely to stay on track.  And you’re always welcome to comment on the post of the day to find community with other women also doing the challenge.  And, if you’re feeling inspired by this post, feel free to join me (and others) by sending your “less-than-flattering” photos to:
    and I’ll post them in my #LoveYourBodyChallenge album on Facebook.

    Let’s get started!

    Reason # 1 to Love Your Body:

    1. Because it’s yours.

    Sounds kinda silly, right?  But seriously — think about other things that are yours: your house, your car, your favorite pair of shoes or your puppy.  Think about how well you treat so many other things in your life that are yours.

    Even crazier?  Those things are finite.  They are replaceable (ok, maybe not *your* puppy, but you get my drift).  How ridiculous does it sound that we spend more time and energy taking care of our finite and replaceable possessions than we do our own body, mind, heart, and soul?

    Mantra: ”My body is my home. It’s the ONLY place I have to live.  I will treat it with the care and respect it deserves.”

    Repeat this (to yourself or out loud) 10 times right now, 10 times during your action step, and 10 times before bed.

    Action Step: Do one really nice thing to take care of yourself today.  Maybe it’s a bubble bath, maybe it’s deep conditioner in your hair, or maybe it’s a few minutes in the steam room at the gym, whatever.  Just do it, and while you are doing it, repeat your mantra to yourself 10 times.  When you’re done with that, then just simply enjoy what you’re doing.

    No work, no kids, no emails.  Try to experience what you’re doing with all of your senses, and clear your mind.

    That’s it for today!

    So here’s your checklist:

    1. Make sure you’ve signed up for Molly’s newsletter so you can get links to the new challenge every morning!
    2. Make sure you’ve filled out the 10 questions listed above so you have your “starting point.”
    3. Say your mantra 10 times immediately, during your action step, and before bed.
    4. Complete your action step, however small it is.
    5. Check in with your accountability partner if you have one.
    6. Check back tomorrow for more.
    7. (optional) Spread the word and share your experiences on Facebook and Twitter with the #LoveYourBodyChallenge hashtag.  If you’re on Twitter, and that’s simply too long, use #LYBC.  This will enable more women to find the challenge, and you’ll be helping to change lives!



This website is NOT to be used as a diagnostic or treatment tool. Always consult with your Conventional Medical Doctor or Naturopathic Doctor for specific concerns. In cases of medical emergencies visit your nearest hospital or call 9-1-1.