So much of how us women feel about ourselves as humans is connected to how we feel physically about our bodies.  I mean, how twisted is that? But let’s ride with it. My friend Gill, currently on gardening leave from her job and living the dream except.. “I’m fat. The Peleton has cobwebs on it” she said not without a tinge of humour.  “Yeh, don’t know how you get out of bed in the morning looking like that” I said, rolling my eyes. Self-love (and other really corny stuff) comes from within so there was no point me protesting “You look gorgeous, don’t be silly”.  Gill is one of the calmest, most level-headed, self-contained, self-assured people I know.  I’d gladly swap a couple of muscles for a slice of that.

But all of us are lovely. We all have something to give this world but I’m no therapist and this is a health column where practical can-do tips are key.  It’s not about losing weight, it’s about small wins, little tweaks we can make to help nudge our self-esteem upwards.  Enter the smug-o-meter.  The maximum you can score in any week is five.  We’re aiming for two points this first week. We have to sustain those two for a couple of weeks then we can add another. You score by doing one positive thing.  First suggestion is ….no, not 20 squats…but rather to find a friend who needs some tlc, who has a bit of a broken wing.  Offer help, whatever is required.  Feel a rosy glow?  Good.  Now something for the blood in your own veins.  Try a morning smoothie.  Nothing fancy, just some almond milk and a scoop of protein powder (see below), and then some ingredients which take the smug points off the scale.  Turmeric drops, spinach, knob of ginger, some cinnamon. Antioxidants a-plenty!  Your body will love you. Love it back.

Stand tall and proud and remember that opinions don’t define your reality, happiness is found within, smiles are contagious and overthinking will lead to very bad nights’ sleep.  Oh, and things always always get better with time.

(Originally written for Woman magazine 7 March 2023)
Photo courtesy of a website offering women-only hikes and holidays

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