BOUTTE - You can learn to love your body - and look and feel like a million bucks at any size - with tips from Hanne Blank, author of Big Big Love: A Sourcebook for People of Size and Those Who Love Them (Greenery Press).
But donít get us wrong - you don't have to carry a lot of weight to take advantage of the expert's advice for Herald-Guide readers.
Her tips work equally well for string-beans and anyone else who's got a bad body image or just doesn't feel good about herself.
"The big secret about being beautiful, the thing that diet center ads donít want you to know, is that, in fact, beauty doesnít have anything to do with what size you are or how much you weigh," says Blank, who is based in Boston and crusades nationally to help women overcome self-esteem issues that stem from a poor body image.
"Itís about who you are and what you do: the way you think, the way you act, and the positive vibes you put out. Beauty is as beauty does."
"Feeling self-confident and secure in your appearance will help you in any arena of your life.
"Feeling good about the way you look makes you feel good about yourself mentally, too - and that makes you a happier, healthier, more confident person whose joy for living shines like sunlight through a gorgeous stained-glass window."
What's more, learning to love and appreciate yourself will help you keep your dignity and sanity as you sail the too-often-stormy seas of romance.
"Knowing youíre attractive helps you remember that you donít have to 'settle for what you can get' if someone who really isnít your cup of tea asks you out or propositions you," the expert says.
"Asserting that you deserve to be treated well and remembering that you donít have to 'compensate' for not being 'model thin' by giving in to whatever a partner asks for can help keep you from everything from boring dates to unsafe or unwanted sex."
To let your beauty shine through, adds Hanne, "you need to get comfortable with you."