Part of building a positive body image is surrounding yourself with positive things and letting go of anything that doesn’t nourish you.
That’s where women’s magazines and so-called health magazines come in. I’m talking about magazines such as Self, Shape, Women’s Health, and even Prevention. The kinds of magazines that glorify thinness, diets and weight loss.
Their advice doesn’t focus on nurturing yourself or building a healthier relationship with food.
It focuses on quick fixes, calorie counts, portion control and losing X inches before bikini season.
And never ever being good enough.
For many of us — me included — these magazines are a slippery slope into a world of comparisons, guilt, shame and misery.
Fortunately, we don’t have to buy what these publications are praising, perpetuating and selling. There are better ways we can spend our time and money.
There are better publications we can read. Magazines that are actually interesting, inspiring, informative and uplifting.
As self-love coach Mara Glatzel, said, “I love consuming magazines that enrich my life, or teach me something new.” Love that.
So, today, let’s talk about these better options. I asked around — both through email and Twitter — and below are some favorite magazines of fellow bloggers and friends.
Writer and wordsmith extraordinaire Alexandra Franzen reads Martha Stewart Living, which she called “elegant food porn.” (Hehe…so true!)
Several people also mentioned Real Simple. Amy, a writer and photographer, loves Real Simple “for doable ideas to make life easier.”
Mara reads Bust and Curve. Psychologist and eating disorder expert Ashley Solomon likes Oprah’s magazine “because it features lots of good ‘cultivating the best life’ stuff along with featuring real women who have done pretty awesome things.”
Eating disorder expert Susan Schulherr keeps Elle Decor, among others (see below), in her waiting room. I had a subscription to Architectural Digest because of the great writing.
Carrie Arnold, a science writer and blogger, reads National Geographic, Smithsonian and Scientific American.
Mental health + psychology
News + culture
Alexandra reads The Atlantic. “It makes me feel smarty-smart, like NPR.” Writer Mary Maxfield reads The Sun, Adbusters and Bitch.
Susan also keeps Newsweek and The New Yorker in her waiting room. Artist Elizabeth Patch reads the Sunday NY Times Magazine, which has “a good mix of art, music, style, science, news and food.”
Elizabeth also reads Threads and Sew Stylish. Carrie likes Interweave Knits, Crochet Today and Crochet World.
Elizabeth loves “flipping through seed catalogs, art exhibition catalogs [and] catalogs of all kinds.” She said, “I find it somehow inspirational to look at pictures of things, even if I never buy them!” I’m the same way! I love browsing through catalogs for J.Crew, Pottery Barn and West Elm.
KC reads Yoga Journal and Yoga Journal International because “they both remind me of healthy ways to take care of, love and appreciate my body.” Anna Guest-Jelley, founder of Curvy Yoga, also likes Shambhala Sun.
Alexandra reads Travel & Leisure. “I love fantasizing about renting a private island & stone castle, off the coast of Scotland!” (Sounds great to me.)
Ashley likes city magazines such as Chicago Magazine. “[Reading these magazines] helps make me feel connected to my city and know what’s going on,” she said.
My main goal for writing this post is to serve as a reminder. Our culture is so diet-focused and saturated with the skinny ideal that we forget there are alternatives.
Years ago, I used to think that I had to follow the weight-loss and fitness advice from women’s magazines. That if I didn’t I somehow wasn’t good enough.
But that’s not true, of course. We just have to remember that.
Read the magazines, publications and books that lift you up, that teach you something valuable, that add to your life in positive ways. Not the magazines that strip away your uniqueness and suggest you focus on shrinking your size instead of building your dreams.
What magazines do you love? What else can you get rid of or have more of to build a positive body image?