Unfortunately, we can’t all be blessed with the long, lithe limbs, miniscule waist and perky boobs of, say, Cameron Diaz (check out her celebrity style here), but that’s no reason to hide shamefully under a mu-mu or full-body swimsuit. We say dare to go bare! After all, you only live once, and body confidence is an important key to both looking and feeling good.

We get some tips from Connie Sobczak, co-founder of California-based The Body Positive, an organization helping people overcome body dissatisfaction. That’s right; it is possible to love those thighs. Here’s how to get started.

1. Stop negative thinking
Sobczak suggests paying attention to what you’re saying about your body in your head. “When you hear a negative tone, stop yourself.” You have to honour who you are right now, in the present, not who you think you ought to be if you were a few pounds thinner.

Think about it this way: What would be going through your head if your partner suggested sex with all the lights on? If you’re not happy with your body, chances are the romp will be anything but hot and heavy. You’ll be too busy worrying about cellulite to relax and enjoy the ride. Trust us, an amazing orgasm trumps worries about hip-width or butt dimples any day!

2. Key into confidence
You’ve heard it before, but the fact that happiness doesn’t come from being a size zero is worth reiterating. “It’s not what you look like, it’s your life-force that attracts others,” explains Sobczak. “The more confident you are, the more people will be attracted to you, regardless of your waist-size.”

We’re not saying a short skirt combined with long legs won’t attract attention, but in the end, if you exude the self-confidence and energy of a genuinely happy person, people won’t see you as fat or thin, Sobczak says. People will be attracted to what you have to offer — your thoughts, ideas, sense of humour and intelligence. And a big bonus to feeling confident is that not only will you feel great in the buff, but you’ll also look and feel fabulous in your new Arthur Mendonca ensemble. Forget that studded clutch; confidence is the new ‘it’ accessory!

Learn how to make healthy choices on the next page …

3. Spread the bodily love
Sobczak explains that if you dislike any part of you, then you can’t be a complete person. Focusing on the parts we don’t like makes it hard to really see ourselves as we truly are. To counteract the temptation to focus in on the wobbly bits, try looking into your eyes when checking yourself out in the mirror, she suggests.

“You need to send love to your whole body,” she says. This may sound cheesy, but if you think about your thighs with disdain, how are you going to view them in the mirror next time you catch a glimpse? Probably with the same disdain you just thought about them with. If you stop yourself from hating on your hips, you may just be able to accept them. It’s the only body you have, and if it works — i.e.: allows you to walk, run and move with ease, then what’s not to love? Be thankful for all your moving parts, no matter how big or small they are.

4. Make healthy choices
The best thing you can do to look and feel good naked is take care of your health. This doesn’t mean logging three hours a day on the elliptical trainer or moving in with your Pilates instructor. It means making healthy choices such as getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, eating enough fruits and vegetables and moving, be it walking to work, running after a toddler or hiking on weekends. “Be active, stay active. We use our bodies to experience life,” Sobczak says.

In her extensive experience helping people learn to love their bodies, people who love and accept themselves are far more likely to make healthy food choices, exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle.

For example, we know you love your new pair of Michael Kors ankle booties (so do we), which means you will take care of them. You will make sure they are stored somewhere your dog won’t mistake them for chew toys; you will avoid wearing them in the snow. We take much better care of things we love. The same applies to our bodies, Sobczak says.

5. Embrace what makes you unique
Whether it’s the dimple in your chin, the fact one foot is bigger that the other or the giant birthmark on your lower back, learn to love what makes you, you. You can choose to look at things like this as negative, but do you really want to feel bad about yourself? We didn’t think so. Sobczak cites her own issues with her thighs — which she used to hate because they are big and muscular — as an example. Now she can look at them with love. How? She realized they give pleasure whenever her husband touches them. “Why would I want them to go away?” she asks. Focus on how your body brings you joy, not what you dislike about it.

Now go on, get naked. We know you want to!

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