If you’ve ever picked through woman’s magazine, chances are you’ve read how to “drop 3 pounds a week without exercise,” have the “best abs ever,” “uncover the key to more energy”, and “have the dream body”.

It seems these universal themes are the perfect trilogy that will make us all happy and fulfilled. Yet what I see over and over is that having a dream body doesn’t result in more happiness, more self-confidence or more success in life.

Sure, it may help… But it is not a promise of happiness.

Most of the time, what we are truly after is something more meaningful and more fulfilling.

So, here are three steps that will help you get the true happiness you seek on your quest to create the dream body

1. Learn to love your body

Magazine headlines and society as a whole often imply that we are “not good enough” and can’t possibly love ourselves unless we lose weight, get fit and have a dream body. They teach us that we can only love perfection.

However, dedication to a relationship, a new career, a healthy diet, or an exercise program is about loving yourself as you are… right now.

If you want to get in shape, but you’re constantly having negative thoughts, being hard on yourself and hating what you see in the mirror, you’ll probably take the wrong actions.

You must start by loving your body.

Compassion for yourself will go a long way in helping you get what you want, much more so than willpower.

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2. Stop believing ‘Lizzie’

You know, Lizzie, your lizard brain. Your resistance. That pesky inner voice that constantly reminds you you’re not enough, and you’ll never achieve your dreams of good health, love, and happiness.

Do you ever desire to simply enjoy life, have great relationships, a healthy body and find a job you like?

shutterstock_132960980Lizzie is lurking around the corner: “You’re not serious! Life is not meant to be fun. Did you see the economy? You’d better stick to your job.”

Lizzie is freaking out at the mere thought of change. So we manage to convince ourselves to change our minds and compromise our goals.

Lizzie is not bad; she wants to protect you. But if you believe her, chances are you’ll just freeze and get nowhere.

Whenever a negative thought comes up, say hello to Lizzie, and acknowledge her, but don’t believe her, and don’t let her crush your dreams. Follow your own path.

Being mindful. Doing this on a consistent basis will help you change the way you react when your inner voice puts you down.

3. Don’t bank on reincarnation: your life is NOW

We all tell ourselves, “I’ll be happy when…” fairy tales. We love them. That’s why we keep buying those magazines. A promise of happiness, someday in the future.

But our lives happen right now, at this moment. There is only the present. Even astrophysicists agree.

In order to be happy right now, without waiting until you’ve dropped two sizes, you must define what you are truly after and start doing more of it TODAY.

Maybe what you truly want is spending more time with your partner and your kids, time where you just sit and talk and laugh.

Maybe it’s cooking some of those healthy meals that are gathering dust on your Pinterest boards.

Or maybe it’s escaping the rat race, having a job you love, and feeling that your life has a purpose.Happy Diverse Young Couple Watching Comedy on TV while Sitting on a Couch, they Laugh and Enjoy Show

What you really want is doing more of what really matters to you. And you know it’s what you truly deserve. Now…not ten years from now.

What makes you really happy may be to see your kids smile, to share healthy family meals, to finally get those eight hours of sleep, to look at the sky, and to enjoy each moment with an open heart.

All this is much more important than all the shiny promises about having a dream body on glossy magazine covers.

Don’t fall prey to these ideals that tell women their happiness depends on whether or not they fit unattainable beauty standards.

Find out what makes you truly happy; define what you are really after. And make this a reality in your life, starting today!

Why Diets Don’t Work

The idea that modern diets improve your health is a myth.

When we go on diets, we expect to radically change our life. We want to feel healthier, happier, and fitter.

Unfortunately, that’s not what ends up happening most of the time: 95% of people who went on diet programs say it didn’t work for them.

The problem is, these people were duped into the diet myth.

The diet myth is the idea that to be healthy, you need to eat less, or focus only on a specific food group.

But those restrictions create problems of their own. They don’t address the real problem – the fact that we’re not getting all the nutrition our bodies really need.

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Anne Ricci is a nutrition expert and weight loss coach with a dietician training. Founder of AnnesHealthyKitchen.com, she is dedicated to empowering women to make healthy food choices, boost their energy and feel great in their body. You can join her tribe at AnnesHealthyKitchen's Community.