Body image

A healthier you on the inside and out: Cameron Diaz on positive body image

Feb. 26, 2014 at 7:34 AM ET

In "The Body Book", Cameron Diaz explains the importance of loving your body the way that it is and how to be your healthiest self. In honor of TODAY's "Love Your Selfie" series, Diaz offers insightful advice for appreciating your body. Here's an excerpt.

The Body Book
Harper Wave

Hello Lady! Thank you for picking up this book. Before we launch into Chapter 1, I want to tell you why I wrote it, what it means to me, and what I hope it will mean to you.

As human beings, when we have experiences that bring us great joy and fulfillment, all we want is to share that excitement with others. Like when you eat something incredibly delicious and immediately turn to the person next to you and say, “Taste this!” Or when you hear a really amazing song and then download it for a friend because you can’t wait for her to hear. Or when you learn a piece of information that just really blows your mind, something that feels so big and important that you want to share it with everyone you can find!

That’s how I feel about this book. Everything in these pages is information that I use to live my life, information that makes me feel so excited and joyous that I just had to share it with you. That’s why I’ve written it—because educating yourself about your body is one of the most important things that you can do. As you read through these pages, you’re going to learn about nutrition and how to feed yourself deliciously and nutritiously. You’re going to learn about fitness and how your body is affected by movement. You’re going to learn about your mind, so that you can become self-aware and find your inner discipline. Because nutrition and fitness and awareness and discipline are not just words: they are tools. They are power. They are ways to care for yourself that empower you to be stronger, smarter, more confident, and truer to yourself.

In the subtitle of this book are the words: “Your Amazing Body.” I believe just that: your body is amazing. Right now, whatever shape you are in, your body is an amazing machine that does so many cool things, from using the air in our environment to keep your brain alive to turning a bowl of cereal into an explosion of energy that allows you to run down the street to catch the bus. And knowing how to take care of that body is the most important information you can ever learn. Ever.

Because your amazing body is the only body that you will ever have. The same body you’ve had since you were a baby is the body you will inhabit when you are seventy-five years old. And along the way, yes, it has changed, and it will continue to change—but it is still yours. No matter what shape it is, how much you love or hate it, whether it feels tired and worn down or lively and invigorated, your body is the most precious thing you have.

Your body is your past, present, and future. It carries the memory of your ancestors, because you are made up of the genes given to you by your parents and their parents before them. It is the culmination of everything you have ever eaten, all the physical activity that you did or didn’t do, all the efforts that you’ve made to understand and take care of it. And how well you care for it will determine how well you are able to live your life. So whether you wish you had longer legs or smaller hips, bigger boobs or less pointy ears, this book is for you. It’s a guide to accepting what you have and loving it with everything you’ve got, to appreciating how incredible this physical vehicle is. It’s a guide to maximizing your strength and endurance so that your body can take you everywhere you want to go in life: to all of your success, to the love of your life, to your passions and adventures. The body that you have is the body that will literally carry you there. So if you want to get to all of those wonderful destinations, you have to build the strongest, most capable, most powerful body that you can. You must learn to live well in your uniquely beautiful body.

But you can’t do that if you don’t know how. Unfortunately, as women, we are constantly being pressured about being more beautiful, about being thinner, about looking younger, or sexier, or blonder or more brunette. As women in today’s society, we are encouraged to compare ourselves to other women when what we need to do is focus on our own strengths, our own capabilities, our own beauty.

That’s why I wrote this book: so that together, we can learn the science behind the words and have the power that comes with knowing the truth about our bodies instead of absorbing the bias and misinformation that surround us. I’m not a scientist. I’m not a doctor. What I am is a woman who has spent the past fifteen years learning about what my body is capable of, and it has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Everything that I have, everything that I am, relates to my knowledge about my body. And I want you to have the same thing. I want you to know yourself, your power. I want you to be the most powerful, capable, confident woman that you can be. I want you to know what it feels like to have a relationship with your body, to feel connected to it. I want you to know the true joy of living in a body that is yours and yours alone, of knowing how incredible it feels to nourish yourself with good food, to move and sweat, to truly care for your health. Because once you posses that knowledge and are living in the body that you are meant to be in, you will find that your energy is boundless and that you can see and experience the world in a way that you couldn’t before. And you will start to be able to use your energy in ways that you’d never even thought of before, just because you were too focused on what you thought you didn’t have or couldn’t do.

Because I want all of this for YOU, I spoke to people who are experts in medicine, nutrition, fitness, science, health, and psychology, people who have dedicated their lives and careers to understanding and helping the human body and mind be the best that it can be. It is their knowledge that I share with you, and it is my own journey of learning and taking care of my body that I offer to you as an example of how to apply that knowledge so you can enjoy the benefits.

When you have finished reading this book, when you have integrated this information, when it is really inside of you, in your body, in your habits, you won’t have to think about it anymore. It will become part of you. It will become you. When that happens, all of your energy is transformed into positive energy aimed at doing, accomplishing, being, creating things in the world, instead of worrying about how you look, why you feel tired, why those pounds just hang on and slow you down. Just think of all the amazing things that you could create in the world if you felt free, powerful, self-confident!

But that transformation doesn’t happen in a day, in a read, in a hope. The truth is that there is NO SUCH THING as a quick fix or a magic pill that will make you a healthy, happy human being overnight. To be healthy means that you must not only learn how your body works and what it needs to be healthy, but you must also apply that knowledge as consistently as you can toward making the best decisions you can to achieve that health. It’s an ongoing endeavor, not a one-time deal. That is why knowledge is so powerful—because when you really know something inside and out, you can see all of the opportunities to apply that knowledge through action every single day.

Here’s what this book is not: It is not a diet book. It is not a workout regimen. It is not a manual to becoming a different person.

Here’s what it is: a guide to becoming yourself. Because as you begin to learn more and more about your body, something amazing starts to happen: you begin to transform, on the inside and outside. You start to see how being healthy brings happiness into your life, how good it feels to be strong and able, how feeling good on the inside has an effect on everything else in your life. You will be the most beautiful and healthy and confident woman that you can be, and you deserve that, because YOU ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU HAVE EVER IMAGINED.

By the time you have finished this book, you will be informed about how your body works on a basic level. You will be aware of how your mind and body work together. You will be more powerful, because you will understand how amazing, how incredible, how beautiful your body already is, right now, right this very second.

So what I’d love for you to do is to use this book as a guide to understanding that amazing body and to help it to become what it has always been meant to be. Make this book your own! Get a pen and write in the margins. Take notes. Bend the corners of the pages. Ask questions. Seek answers. And get ready to meet your true, powerful, healthy, confident, amazing self.

Excerpted from The Body Book, copyright (c) 2014 by Cameron Diaz. Used with permission by Harper Wave, all rights reserved. 

TOP