Last week on the first installment of Beyond Food Fridays I discussed my personal struggles with body image and a little bit about how I’ve overcome them. Today on the second Beyond Food Friday I’m here to provide you with some strategies to overcome body image issues (and it does not involve losing weight, “getting fit” or any other physical change to the body). So if you’re like me and you need a little help in this area, follow the steps I outline below and learn to love yourself a little more everyday!
Do something you do well, and do it often. Doing things you’re good at builds your confidence and this confidence in many cases is transferred to other aspects of your life. So if you’re a really good cook, cook up a storm. If you are super artistic, draw. If you are a bad ass athlete, keep training. You will feel confident in your abilities which will translate to overall confidence.
Do something you love. This kind of goes along with doing something you’re good at because we often love the things we are good at otherwise we wouldn’t do them. But sometimes we love something that we aren’t so good at but it makes us feel good anyway and this can help boost our overall confidence. For example, I’ve talked before about how I started lifting weights. Well, I’m not particularly good at it. I can’t lift all that heavy (yet) and I don’t really know what I’m doing. However, I truly enjoy it and as I get stronger I don’t just feel better about my weight lifting abilities; I also feel better about my body because of what it is capable of doing.
Ditch the scale. I’ve written about this a little before as well and I think this is one of the most important things you can do in order to love your body more. So often we get caught up on a number. The whole once I lose x number of pounds or once I weigh x amount, I will feel good about myself thing is a load of bull. Your self worth should not be based on some arbitrary number. And more often than not that number doesn’t tell the whole story. You could weigh more than what you want but be perfectly healthy because you have some muscle mass. Or on the other hand, you could weigh your “perfect” amount but stop ovulating because you’ve thrown your hormones out of whack by being at a weight that is too low for you personally. So get rid of your scale and start basing your progress on how you feel, your overall level of health, and how hot you look when you look in the mirror.
Practice self affirmation. Speaking of how hot you look in the mirror… tell yourself that and do it often. Self affirmation may seem silly and hokey (I certainly thought it was) but I’m telling you it works. Instead of pinching the fat on your body and wishing this or that “imperfection” would go away, look at yourself and say “I am beautiful” or “I am sexy” or whatever else you want. Appreciate your body for what it is and what it can do, don’t bash it because it doesn’t fit into a size zero. And if you’re feeling up to it, you can always dance naked to Kenny Loggins as Liz Wolfe suggests!
Maintain perspective. If you’re trying to reach a certain goal, whether that’s weight loss, gut healing, or some other goal, keep in mind that change takes time. Don’t beat yourself up because you didn’t lose 10 lbs in a week. Go easy on yourself and your body and celebrate the little things because it’s those small achievements that lead to significant growth over time.
Wear clothes that fit your body as it is now. I find that most of my slips into negative self talk revolve around trying on clothes. If I put on something that used to fit me and it no longer does, all of a sudden all I can think is “I’m so fat!” (even though the problem is usually muscle mass, not fat). And don’t get me started on trying on bras or bathing suits… the lighting in dressing rooms always seems to highlight every single “flaw” doesn’t it? These situations are somewhat unavoidable; sometimes you need a swim suit and bras are kind of necessary (but really, are they?). What you can avoid is actually wearing those clothes that don’t fit. When you wear clothes that you feel comfortable in and that show off your figure because they fit your body correctly, you feel good. That’s just a fact! So stop trying to squeeze in those two sizes too small skinny jeans or that top you wore in high school and find clothes that show off what you’ve got!
Stop comparing yourself to other people. This one is hard as it is human nature to compare yourself to those around you. But you aren’t doing yourself any good by doing so. Theodore Roosevelt said “comparison is the thief of joy” and I 100% agree. If you keep comparing yourself to other people you will never be fully happy with yourself. And you need to keep in mind that health looks different on everyone. Some people are skinny fat: they look skinny and healthy on the outside but they eat crappy food and their blood work looks terrible. Some people are super fit and lean but have issues with restrictive eating and/or excessive exercise, or they aren’t menstruating (and isn’t fertility the epitome of health as a woman?). Some people appear larger or have a little extra junk in the trunk and are super healthy. Every person is unique and every body looks and acts differently. So stop comparing yourself to the people around you and own your uniqueness because that is what makes you you. If we all looked exactly the same that would be pretty boring.
I hope these tips help you love yourself more because we are all beautiful and deserving of love, and who will love us better than our own selves? If you are interested in reading more about body image issues and self acceptance check out Stefani Ruper’s blog and her book. She tackles these issues way more eloquently and with way more knowledge than I can. And I’m always here to help as well so feel free to email me or contact me via social media!
In vibrant health,