Whether you’re constantly worried about your weight, busy bashing your body or, from time to time, find yourself criticizing your appearance, we could all use a body image boost. Last week, we talked about food, body and eating disorder myths with some fabulous bloggers. Today, I’m happy to present their effective tips for building a healthier body image and being proud in your own (sensational) skin.
From eating disorder specialist Stacey Rosenfeld, Ph.D, who writes Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder?
1. Recognize that your body is just one aspect of your appearance, your appearance just one aspect of who you are. Focus on everything else you are, everything else you have to offer. Make a list of 25 things you like about yourself.
Margarita Tartakovsky is an associate editor at PsychCentral.com, an award-winning mental health website, and the voice behind Weightless, a blog that helps women deal with body image issues and disordered eating. She also writes a monthly feature for Beliefnet.com, covering topics such as patience and procrastination.
Editor: Muhammad Talha
2. Spend some time in front of the mirror without criticizing yourself. Focus simply on observation, not judgment. If you can’t do this at first, recognize the judgmental self-statements and try again another time.
3. Focus on what your body can DO rather than how it LOOKS. Are you able to swim, hanglide, enjoy a loving hug? The more you focus on your body as subject rather than object, the better your body image will be.
4. Think about how much time you’ve spent judging or criticizing your body and recognize how you could have better spent the time. Make a commitment to stopping yourself when you find yourself engaging in these behaviors.
5. Toss the scale. It’s not your friend, and you know about how much you weigh.
From Toni, Michelle and Tee of The Fat Girl’s Guide to Living, “a life hacker for the full-figured set.”
6. Body-image booster – Mirrors in your home. It’s easy to hide and never see yourself and then feel all bummed out when you see yourself while out and about or in photos others take of you. Look at yourself every day and say nice things to yourself when you do.
7. Wearing clothes designed to fit instead of hide lumpy bits makes a big difference. Curve-hugging shirts, jackets, and jeans look so much better than baggy ANYTHING when you’re overweight.
8. Accentuate the good. Dress for your body and stop fixating on the numbers.
9. Try a daily self-portrait project like Flickr’s “365 Days.” It may sound silly, but the number of women I’ve crossed paths with who’ve said it’s changed their whole self-perception blows me away.
From Sunny Sea Gold, health articles editor at Glamour magazine and founder of HealthyGirl.org, a website for young women who overeat.
10. Something that helped me gain a more realistic idea of what women actually look like was taking a peek around me in the gym locker room. Seriously! I don’t want to sound like a peeping Tomasina, but a quick glance at the incredible diversity of bums, boobs and bellies in one little locker room is enough to make any woman feel normal. We’re all so different–so how could there possibly be one perfect ideal look? That’s easy: there isn’t.
11. Most days my body image is pretty darn solid–I’ve done a lot of work on myself to get to that point. But a couple of weeks ago I found myself feeling really, really fat. It shocked me. Was I actually (magically) heavier than the day before? No, I knew it was all in my head. I was tired, worn down, anxious, and like so many of us do, I experienced those things as ‘feeling fat.’ Next time something like this happens to you, repeat after me: ‘It’s all in my head!’ and ask yourself what else is going on in your life that could be the real issue.
Thanks so much ladies for contributing your fantastic body image boosters!
And here’s one from me
12. Think about what you’re genuinely proud of, from the seemingly smallest things to the bigger ones. Is it that you’ve recently accomplished something great at work? Is it that you helped a friend? Ran a marathon? Had a great time playing with your kids? Started taking better care of yourself?
When a negative thought creeps in, take out your list, and go through it. Then, take that no-good thought and toss it, beat it with a baseball bat, stomp on it with both feet, slap it around a few times, tell it where to go and truly let it go (if it keeps coming back, use a gun :)). You have too many great things in your life to have a negative thought (or thoughts) color your entire existence and perspective of yourself.
What do you say to yourself or do when you’re feeling lousy about your body? How do you work toward a healthier body image and body acceptance?