I am a positive person. I believe in the power of a positive thought, kind word or inspirational message. Keeping a positive attitude is my philosophy as a mom and as a fitness trainer/health coach. When you are positive, you see solutions, enjoy life more and spread positivity to others. I believe there is power in having a positive body image too. No matter what your size, shape, weight or BMI score, I believe everyone can benefit from a positive body image. Here are my most valuable tips to have a positive body image for yourself:
Realize we are all in this together.
We all see unrealistic images of beauty everywhere, every day. Who doesn’t look amazing with a professional makeover or a photo shoot with great lighting? Expecting to look like we stepped off the pages of a magazine or like a mannequin in a store is unrealistic. Let’s embrace our imperfections. We all come in different shapes and sizes. We all have different goals and are at different parts of our journey. You might want to look like you work out all the time, or you just want to drop a few pounds. Maybe you love your curves and you don’t want to change at all. That’s okay. My point is this: Love yourself today no matter how you look or feel.
Stop negative self-talk.
We only get one body. If you spend your time hating on your body, you are imprisoning yourself in a negative place. Why would you choose to hate on or feel badly about the one place where you spend all of your time? If you are your biggest critic, you aren’t likely to treat it well or make decisions that are good for you. What we think about not only affects our decisions, but also our mood and outlook. Why go negative when you can choose the positive? It takes practice to be positive, especially if you are more accustomed to tearing yourself apart, but you can do it. I always tell my clients during the hour they spend with me, that they are not allowed to say: “can’t, fat or old.” Let me tell you, it’s hard for women. Silence that inner critic and work to develop a positive habit. Aren’t you worth it?
Start with small steps.
Nothing productive can happen while being negative. You have to change your attitude to move forward. While you may tell yourself that you can’t imagine being positive, making daily small shifts in your thinking can make all the difference. Action is the cure for fear and negativity.
Stop comparing yourself to others. You will always find people you idealize as better than you, just as you will always find people worse off. Simply stop comparing. Shift your brain to accept differences in people and only concern yourself with your own healthy path. Know that we all have different strengths and limitations. Focus on your assets and your potential. Use positive affirmations and set realistic goals. Celebrate wins, however small.
Don’t tie self-love to a number.
Yes, many people who lose weight discover their self-esteem and confidence go up when they are no longer overweight, but loving your body shouldn’t be tied to three numbers on a scale. You should love yourself throughout the process, even if you want to change. In fact, the better you feel about you, the more likely you are to prioritize your health.
Recognize different views of beauty.
Not everyone desires to be super fit and that’s okay. Instagram banned the hashtag #curvy for a week due to some people posting lewd photos with that hashtag … but they quickly lifted the ban because so many curvy women wanted to know why they didn’t ban the word #thin. You don’t have to be a gym rat or fitness enthusiast to care about your health. Small, healthy decisions count so let’s not judge anyone else—thin or curvy.
Related: How To Have a Positive Body Image
Keep a journal.
Keep a journal of both positive body attributes and your negative attributes. You need to address the negative to get rid of it. Confront thinking distortions by writing about how you feel and where they came from. Challenge misleading or false assumptions and perceptions you have of your body. Give yourself a compliment each day and jot down compliments you receive from others. If you are a work in progress when it comes to feeling positive about your body, start to list in your mind what you love about you. Maybe it’s your eyes, skin, strong shoulders or your cute toes. Train your mind to scan for the positive and soon you may realize you love a whole lot more about you than you first thought!
Dress for success.
There are so many choices in compression clothing for a smoother look and to accentuate your shape! With compression clothing like Spanx, Lisse Capri Leggings and pants, as well as Body Shapers you will love how you look. And when you love how you look, you will feel great too.
Surround yourself with body positive friends.
Who you surround yourself with matters and influences you more than you realize. When you feel good about you, not only is it easier to share your good vibes with others, but you may naturally make more body positive friends and you can lift one another up. You can exercise together, encourage each other, swap recipes, set new goals together and enjoy the friendship of like-minded souls.
Extend a positive body image to your children.
What you say and do about your body is picked up in your kids. Modeling healthy behavior for your kids will not only help them, but it will help you too. WomensHealth.gov recommends these steps to help your child develop a positive body image and relate to food in a healthy way:
- Avoid negative statements about food, weight, and body size and shape.
- Allow your child to make decisions about food, while making sure that plenty of healthy and nutritious meals and snacks are available.
- Compliment your child on her or his efforts, talents, accomplishments, and personal values.
- Keep the communication lines with your child open.
Having a positive body image is really an inside job. Your mind holds the key. And when you feel body-positive, you will more readily listen to your body. You will want to schedule that massage or take 15 minutes to meditate. You will realize when it’s time to take a recovery day from your workouts or run yourself a bubble bath. You will tune in to when your body is telling you it needs sleep or water. You will notice if you need to stretch or take a restorative yoga class. You will know when you have been feeding it well or when you need to take a break from indulgences.
Ultimately, changing your body means changing how you think about your body. You can learn to develop a healthier and more accurate view of yourself. The first step is to accept and love yourself as you are today. Building a positive body image is a journey, just take the first step.