Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts the week on a positive note!

Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!

Jenn Gibson of Roots of She wrote a powerful post last week about holding onto things that don’t serve us. (Thanks to Mara for linking to it!)

As Jenn writes, “We hold on to a lot of shit that doesn’t serve us, doesn’t lift or light us up, that color our days with a feeling of loss or regret or scarcity.”

She gives the following examples: “Ideas, beliefs, misconceptions, old hurts and aches, values that have evolved, feelings that have changed, the thought that unless things are a certain way it’s not right or good, the idea of perfection.”

This made me think about body image. (Doesn’t everything?) About our ideas, beliefs and misconceptions about feeling good about ourselves, about taking good care of ourselves and living a fulfilling life. The ideas and even the objects that hold us back from moving forward and feeling comfortable, proud and happy in our own skin.

So I’m wondering, what’s not serving you in improving your body image?

Your answer may be a slew of things, such as:

  • the stacks of women’s magazines that lay on your nightstand
  • the diet books you keep by the fridge
  • the idea that exercise must be punishing, painful or a chore
  • the idea that you can’t go to the gym unless you look a certain way
  • your size whatever jeans waiting in the back of the closet
  • the scale in the bathroom
  • a gnawing worry about your weight
  • lingering anger with your body
  • the idea that there’s saintly versus sinful foods
  • the idea that you’ve been “bad” if you’ve eaten dessert
  • the belief that those negative comments you make about your body don’t affect you
  • the belief that thin is beautiful or healthy

Think about the very things that aren’t serving you, and write them down. Jenn suggests the following:

I want you to take a few moments or minutes and think about the things in your life that are not lifting you up. They can be fears, thoughts, feelings, practices, people, ideas, beliefs, behaviors.

Grab a pen or pencil, heck, grab a crayon or sharpie and some paper and write ‘em all down.

Take a deep breath in and when you let it out, let the words just flow from you.

Of course the next important question is: How do you let these things go?

While Jenn will talk about this very topic on Wednesday on her blog, I do have a few ideas. I think first it helps to figure out why you’ve been holding onto these objects, ideas or beliefs.

Where are they coming from? How might you be perpetuating or refueling them?

Even if you’re still not sure, identify one action you can take to move forward and leave those things behind. To put a chink in their armor. To break the cycle.

Even if you have no clue why the heck you’ve amassed a stack of magazines, but you do know that they aren’t serving you, just toss them and cancel your subscription. (Recycle them first, of course.)

If you’ve always viewed exercise as a punishing activity, brainstorm a few activities you can try this week that are fun and enjoyable. Be curious. Experiment with a few different activities.

Also, toss the scale, no questions asked. Just get rid of it. You’ll be happier you did. Promise.

What’s not serving you in boosting your body image? What can you do about it today?