I Used to Bash Myself in the Mirror Every A.M.—Here's What I Now Do Instead

What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed in the morning? A well-rounded morning routine sets the tone for the day and gets you prepped—both mentally and physically—before diving into a packed schedule filled with emails, chores, happy hours, workouts, and more. Our series Morning Person profiles those who have mastered the art of the morning routine. Tune in every Monday morning here and on our Instagram to learn exactly how the pros get it all done before the sun comes up, from their go-to breakfasts to their a.m. workouts.


(Image credit: @barbellblondie)

If you're reading this right now, it's probably because the headline of this article hits home for you. And let's be honest: Is there anyone left in the world who hasn't spent some portion of their morning routine critiquing our appearance in mirrors, reflections in windows, and photos of ourselves on the internet?

Natalie Carey, a fitness trainer at Tonal who's now Body Positive Fitness Alliance–certified, used to be one of those people too. She admits that she struggled with her appearance all throughout her teens and 20s, until suddenly she became much more interested in body positivity—it seemed so much more productive than picking herself apart every morning in the mirror.

If this is a part of your morning routine you're looking to kick, keep scrolling for some tips on incorporating more body acceptance into your day.

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6:40 a.m.

"My alarm goes off, and I hit snooze because the first order of business is snuggling my cat, Manolo! Manolo insists on sleeping right on top of me every night for reasons that are beyond me. I smother him in kisses before he realizes what’s happening."

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6:50 a.m.

"When my snooze alarm goes off, Manolo hops off to go finish his breakfast (an automatic pet feeder has literally saved my life). I'm not a morning person, so instead of being grumpy about getting up, I remind myself of two things: I love my job! and I love money! because both are true."

6:55 a.m.

"Before I discovered body positivity, I'd start every morning by inspecting my stomach in the mirror, and if it didn't look 'perfect,' I'd vow to eat less and work out more that day. I did this every day for so many years that I still turn toward the mirror every morning, but now I mindfully tell myself different messages like Good morning beautiful! or I'm grateful my body feels so good today!"

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6:57 a.m.

"My 'Goonies Never Say Die' mug (authentic from Astoria, Oregon, thank you very much) is next to the bathroom sink so I can chug a glass of water first thing in the morning along with my anti-anxiety medication. My meds, along with reminding myself every morning to be grateful for all the blessings in my life, are how I'm able to bring so much joy, love, and energy to my day. I interpret Tonal's motto of 'Be Your Strongest' to mean discovering how to be physically, emotionally, and mentally the strongest version of yourself, which for me means being a lot kinder to my body and my mind than I was in my 20s."

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7:15 a.m.

"Every night before going to bed, I've always tossed the spandex I'm planning to wear in a pile next to my backpack, but thanks to reading Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, at least that pile is now tidily rolled up into cute bundles!"

7:25 a.m.

"If the drivers of San Francisco are behaving themselves, I'll listen to an audiobook. Right now, I'm listening to Doing Harm by Maya Dusenberry, a book about how the medical field has historically ignored women's health. Part of my work as a body-positive personal trainer is helping women reclaim ownership of their bodies and their health after a lifetime of being told that starving themselves to be skinny is 'wellness.' I think using fitness as a way to reconnect with what their bodies are capable of empowers them to be better advocates for their health."

7:45 a.m.

"I usually walk into the gym like a Broadway star with a follow spot on me and announce to the staff what great luck I had finding a parking spot (this is San Francisco, remember?). Then I pour some coffee and it's time to treat my clients like royalty!"

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Next: I'm a Former Rockette and an Expert on Routines; Here's What I Do Every Morning


This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.