Ever caught sight of yourself in the mirror and thought ‘YUCK! OMG! I can’t believe that my [insert body part] looks like THAT!!’ ?
And then you probably followed that with a proclamation of something drastic you were going to do, along the lines of ‘OMG! I sooo have to diet/workout/quit leaving the house’ or something pretty similar.
Yep, most of us fall prey to the body negative demons from time to time, and we end up feeling pretty s**** about ourselves.
So I’ve put together ten brilliant ways you can break out of that negativity, boost your body image, feel more confident, stronger and happier and realise just how amazingly unique you really are. Here they are:
#1: Stop comparing yourself (you’re awesome!)
We’ve all fallen into the trap of comparing ourselves with others- it’s part of being human. We lust after their amazing abs, we wish we had teeth as white and shiny as theirs, we go green with envy over their tight butt, and wish that we looked…well, frankly, more like them.
Can you see how crazy this is? We’ll never be someone else because we are our perfectly unique selves. We have our own unique inner and outer beauty, we boast our own unique talents, and let’s admit it- no one in the world has a personality quite like yours!
So why are we surprised that comparing ourselves to others is toxic and harmful to our body image? It’s madness.
Next time you find yourself comparing yourself to others, hit those brakes. Turn off the computer, close that magazine, take a deep breath and focus on something else instead.
#2: Avoid the media!
And on that note, I’d highly recommend that you drastically reduce your media exposure, including TV, YouTube, Netflix, blogs, social media (especially Instagram!) and magazines if you want to feel better about yourself.
Whilst it’s great to have entertainment, it’s not so great to be inundated with those images or even the message that to be successful and awesome, you must be pretty.
Instead look for media that shares messages of body positivity (check out the #BoPo craze for more inspiration), unplug as much as you can, get out there into the fresh air and surround yourself with people who love you exactly as you are.
#3: Appreciate your body (everything it can do)
Hey! It ain’t all about beauty!! Your body is completely amazing- just think of all the amazing stuff it can do.
Since you were in your mother’s womb, your heart has been beating, then (unless you are differently abled) you learned to breathe, walk, think, run, jump, surf, swim and a whole host of other amazing things besides. Your body can do all of these things without demanding much at all from you. Don’t you think that’s incredible?
So let’s celebrate it! Take a moment to count your blessings, send kind thoughts to your body and acknowledge just how awesome you are!
#4: Make a list of ten things you like about yourself
What do you like love about yourself? What makes you proud to be you? What are you good at? What character traits are your proud to have?
Grab yourself a pen, find somewhere quiet to sit and write down ten things. Not only will this remind you of how wonderful you are and shift your focus from your appearance, but it will also help silence that negative inner voice, boost your self-esteem and give your self-confidence that lift you deserve.
Hmmm I’ve always found this kind of list tricky (even though I don’t suffer from body issues) because we’re just not used to blowing our own trumpets. However, I’d really encourage you to break through the discomfort and, in the words of Nike ‘Just Do It’.
#5: Practice yoga
We all know that yoga helps you get beautifully flexible, strong and grounded. But did you know that it’s also a powerful way to lift your body image? Most people don’t.
By connecting your movement with your breath and pulling your focus inwards, it also helps you make sense of your thoughts and emotions, find your inner strength and live your life from a place of calm?
It doesn’t matter how old or young you are ,you can boost your body image easily with yoga. And you don’t even need to become a die-hard yogi- just a few minutes per day will make a massive difference.
I’m a massive fan of Adriene’s so I’d suggest you try this great sequence for total beginners.
#6: Get moving!
Exercise is the perfect way to make you feel better about yourself, get rid of that inner negativity and get healthier too. When you move more, your focus will shift away from your appearance and you’ll remember those awesome things your body can do.
And not just that- it will also get your blood pumping, give you that healthy glow, help clear up any niggling health complaints and even help offset depression, negativity and boredom. Awesome!
There isn’t really a right way or wrong way to exercises, provided you get off the couch, drag yourself away from Netflix and get moving! I LOVE running, wild swimming and long walks outside, but find what works best for you.
#7: Nourish your body
Want to feel better? Then start eating better. You see, the quality of your thoughts, emotions, attitudes, motivation, energy and health are all directly linked to how you nourish your body.
A happy body that feels positive is one that is well-nourished body with optimal amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients so it can be the strongest and healthiest it possibly can. It’s not not a body that has been subjected to endless rounds of slimming diets, or one that has been forced to binge or starve, or one that has been deprived of the nutrients that it deserves.
And I’m not talking about adopting a crazy fad diet, or eliminating whole food groups or anything extreme.
Simply fill your plate with enough of those brightly coloured, nutrient-dense wholefoods and enjoy every mouthful. Choose fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils, wholegrains, and healthy fats and you’ll be amazing as how much better you feel.
#8: Become more grateful
Every day, find five things that you can be grateful for, and write them down. That’s it- a brand new daily habit that will transform your body image.
Yes, I know that it can be so hard to feel gratitude when you’re feeling negative about your appearance and your life but it’s well worth doing.
Because when you make an effort to notice the positives in your life, you will actually feel more positive. The beautiful things will completely outshine those things you feel less happy about and you will feel fantastic.
#9: Silence the negative voice in your head
If you’re serious about boosting your body image. It’s time to do war with that negative voice in your head!
Because throughout our lives, most of us women have accepted the idea that we need to look in a certain way to be valued or loved. We’ve been programmed with Disney princesses, we’ve been encouraged to be pretty, we’ve been criticised if we put on a few pounds or our abs are less than supermodel flat, or whatever.
And all that time, our negative inner voices have been sucking it all up and getting ready to throw it back in our faces. For the sake of your body image, it’s time to fight back.
A great way to do this is by creating a strong positive thought or mantra that you can hold onto when toxic thoughts spring up. Try, ‘I am strong, healthy and thankful for everything in my life.’
#10: Give yourself a goal
And finally, show the world what you’re made of, girl! Find your mission, set yourself a life goal and start taking steps to move towards them.
How does this boost your body image? Well, when you have a special mission to accomplish, you’re far less likely to slip into self-doubt and negativity. You’ll less likely to care about the shape of your nose or whether your bottom looks big in a particular pair of trousers. Because after all, you have far more important things to think about.
What could be your personal goal? What would make your dreams come true? And most importantly, how could you take steps to achieve them?
Don’t waste your life comparing yourself to others when you could be out there living life to the max! Use the tips I’ve shared with you today to free yourself from negative body image, toxic thoughts and poor self esteem and completely change your life.
And when you’ve done that, don’t forget to come over and say hi on Twitter (@CharlotteWitts) ! I’d love to chat. x