For some reason, I get free copies of the fitness magazine, Shape. I don’t know why – I signed up for a special offer or something and was rewarded with, I don’t know, six months worth of free copies – but, over a year later, I’m still getting them…each copy warning me that the next one will be the last unless I subscribe.

It’s not that I’m complaining. I like the magazine, and hey, they’re free. Who doesn’t like free, especially in these economic times*?

Anyway, July’s edition showed up in the mail last week, and I was semi-surprised to see Jewel on the cover. Shape is always featuring a female celebrity who shares a story or two about her trials and errors with weight and fitness, as well as tips and tricks she uses to stay in shape. I don’t know why I was semi-surprised to see Jewel; she just doesn’t strike me as the fitnessy type.

Then again, I guess that’s the point.

So, I flipped to page 42 and started reading “Jewel’s Rules…” (cute) by writer Claire Connors, and it wasn’t long before I spotted this week’s lesson.

Jewel’s first rule (there are five) is that she cuts herself some slack.

The singer recounts the story of how, when she was first getting into the music industry and a newspaper article labeled her a “chubby Renee Zellweger,” her self-esteem took a serious hit and, despite working to prevent herself from developing an eating disorder, she struggled for years with “a self-defeating cycle of hating the way she looked and then soothing herself with food.”

However, it wasn’t too long before Jewel realized how erratic our society’s standards of beauty can be and that we women could learn a thing or two from men about giving ourselves a break:

I had to remind myself that standards of beauty are very fickle. One minute J. Lo’s body is considered beautiful, and the next everyone wants to look like Kate Moss. I’m all for people wanting to feel more confident, but altering your body to fit a current trend is serious stuff […] We should be more like men, God bless ’em. They can take their shirts off and show their man boobs, and they don’t give a hoot.

Visit Shape.com to check out the rest of “Jewel’s Rules…”

* And, if you’re stressing over the economy, head over to the Psych Central blog Anxiety & OCD Exposed and check out Dr. Laura Smith’s recently published Anxiety and Job Loss.

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