Michelle Obama has incredible, toned arms. Jennifer Aniston has toned, sculpted legs. That woman who runs next to you on the treadmill at the gym has a core you’d die for, and your neighbor has a tiny waist you’d kill for. The truth is, comparing yourself (which everyone does from time to time) is normal, but maintaining a mindset of inner criticism and low self-worth (because your body is not as “perfect” as theirs) is not. And, it’s extremely detrimental to your physical and mental health. Here’s’ how to stop wishing you had “her” waist, and start loving your own.

Your Body Shape is Predetermined by Your Genes
The number one reason why you shouldn’t compare your body to anyone’s else’s? Your genetic makeup is completely separate from theirs. For example, you’ve probably noticed that you have certain areas on your body that is naturally stronger, or leaner than others—while other areas of your body is predisposed to gain weight first. It could be that your stomach is always a problem area, whereas your legs are the last place you’ll gain weight.

Other women have it completely opposite from you—and that’s okay. Your body shape is determined before you’re born, so even if your neighbor can rock a teeny tiny little shirt due to a three day a week exercise plan, doesn’t mean you can—or even should (instead, focus on your killer legs she would die for!)

Take a Different Approach (By Loving Your Assets)
There are studies that have shown that women who have a specific hormone variant (known as CYP19) have a higher estrorone level, which makes it more challenging to lose fat through exercise.

Fit people working out in weights room at the gymHowever, by learning how to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle you can become your healthiest, fit self. Here are some ways to start living that kind of life, today:
•    Be your fittest self by heading to the weight room. If you’ve lost some weight, but you feel as though you’ve reached a plateau, make sure your incorporating a strengthening workout to your weekly exercise plan. Remember: while cardio will help you to lose weight, a weight lifting plan will also you to blast fat and raise your metabolism.
•    Learn about your genetic makeup, and consult a nutritionist. Losing weight and staying fit is 80 percent the food you eat, and 20 percent exercise. Learn what your genetic makeup is (you can do this by speaking to grandparents, and learning your predispositions for certain health ailments). Then, consult and confide in a nutritionist who can help you come up with the best meal plan for your body type.

Becoming educated about weight loss and overall health practices is important, but the most fundamentally important health practice is learning to love the skin you’re in, no matter what size you are.