We have been blessed with an amazing gift: our bodies. However, we are our own worst critics. It is easy to count the numerous flaws we find with our appearance. Whether we view ourselves as fat, ugly hair, sunken eyes or a large chin most of us have a hard time loving one of our greatest gifts.

Take care of yourself

When you eat properly and exercise regularly, your body receives the fuel it needs to complete everyday tasks. You have an easier time fighting illness, you sleep better, and most importantly, you feel better about yourself and your appearance. Eating healthy and exercising will help boost your self-confidence and your self-esteem. You will begin to like the person you see in the mirror, and those feelings of sickness, fatigue and exhaustion will begin to diminish.

Additionally, when you take care of yourself, your family may begin to mimic your actions. They will have more opportunities to eat healthy food and exercise will be a part of normal life. Also, you can involve your family as you take care of yourself. Exercise as a family and eat a homemade dinner together each night instead of grabbing fast food.

Put the scale away

The scale can be your worst enemy. If you hop on the scale and see a number you don't like, you will begin to view your body negatively. It becomes even easier to pick out your flaws and compare yourself to others. Don't focus on what the scale tells you. Instead, concentrate on how you feel and what you see. Don't let some number tell you how proud you should be of your body.

Recognize and appreciate your body

The media is constantly filling our mind with ideas of beauty, but this information is false. The media has the ability to manipulate images and make them look a certain way. They are continually raising the standard to make you feel like you don't quite measure up.

Don't stress about what the media tells you. Instead, look at your body and recognize all the wonderful things it can do. Your body has the ability to complete a million tasks such as run, swim, write, see, taste, touch and hear. Each body is different and each person is blessed with different characteristics. Take a minute to think about your own body and the many traits you were blessed with. Your list should be long.

Maintain a positive attitude

It is easy to become discouraged with the way we look. Everyone has days when they have a hard time loving their bodies. However, even when those days come, try to maintain a positive attitude. Look at the good you were blessed with. Consider everything your body can do. Focus on the good and forget the bad. Most importantly, avoid comparing yourself to others. Remember, they have things about their body that they don't like, either.

It is also important that you maintain a positive attitude about your body around your children. Research shows that boys and girls between third and sixth grade want to be thinner, and 37 percent have already dieted. Children get the idea they are fat from their parents who are constantly critiquing their own bodies. Only say positive things about yourself. Only talk about the good your body does. If not, your children may get the wrong idea.

It can be hard to love your body, but once you realize all your body can do, you will be able to see the magnificent gift you were blessed with. Fall in love with your body and take care of it. You will reap the benefits.

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