Our first assessment of people is usually based on how they look. And let's be honest... we can be so cruel! Especially to ourselves.
Poor body image is an issue that many of us struggle with. It doesn’t matter how many articles we read that tell us it’s what’s on the inside that counts; standing in front of a harshly-lit changing room mirror can make us feel defeated.
We are in week 10 of our 90 Days to Your Best Body challenge. This week, I want to challenge you to re-frame the way you view, think and talk about your body. It's time to make friends with the mirror...
What do you feel when you look in the mirror?
After 48 years of being female, I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter if you are young, old, fat or thin, maintaining a healthy, positive body image isn't easy. As we’re constantly bombarded with glossy images of the ‘perfect’ woman it’s easy to let our self-confidence and sense of self-prettiness slip; however, that doesn’t have to be the case.
Feeling pretty starts with thinking pretty!
7 Ways to Improve Your Body Image...
1. Do a reality check - Whether you’re looking at magazines, television or movies, if you consume media, you’re going to see a lot of beautiful, exceptionally well-proportioned, carefully honed and professionally perfected bodies — bodies chosen and groomed for starring roles precisely because they are extraordinary. News flash: Those people don’t live in the same reality we do. It’s simply not realistic to want to look like them. The truth is, even the supermodels and celebrities you see in these pictures aren’t quite as perfect as they look. They appear the way they do, at least in part, because they are professionally lit, professionally made up, professionally posed, and — by the time you see their photographs, professionally digitally retouched.
As soon as you do a reality check and realize that you don’t actually have to look like a poster girl, you’ll find it much easier to see the beauty in yourself and feel pretty.
2. Find something you love about yourself - Instead of zeroing in on the negatives when you look in the mirror, take a look at the positives for a change. Focus on things you love about yourself – be it your smile, your eyes, or your legs – and tell yourself how awesome they make you.
By embracing all the things you love about yourself, you’ll find it much easier to admire the things you perceive as flaws, too.
3. Learn to say thank you - For most people, when we get a compliment, we tend to deflect it instead of just accepting it. I bet that more than once when someone’s complimented you on your outfit, you’ve blushed and mentioned how it doesn’t fit right, criticizing yourself instead of accepting the compliment. That’s something that needs to stop now.
The next time you get a compliment, simply smile and say, “Thank you.” No criticism is necessary.
4. Do things that make you happy - Do something nice for yourself--something that lets your body know you appreciate it. We all have our "thing", our own little way of pampering ourselves. Take a bubble bath, make time for a nap, go shopping! I am a true believer in the motto: If it makes you feel pretty, do it. Sometimes just hitting the spa for a day or wearing a new outfit can be all you need to boost your confidence and make you glow. Now I am not advising you to layer yourself in makeup and nice clothes to make yourself feel pretty, but every now and again when you really need a boost it wouldn’t hurt to indulge a little!
5. Wear clothes you feel comfortable in - Don't wear clothes that feel too tight or restrict movement. Don't hide your body with bulky clothes that don't fit right. And don't hold off on buying clothes you like -- do it now! Dress to express yourself, not to impress others. You should feel good in what you wear.
6. Surround yourself with positive people - It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking yourself just as you are. Avoid relationships where the other person makes unflattering remarks about your appearance or tries to pressure you regarding your body.
Surrounding yourself with positive people is important, but being a positive person is key. Be kind to yourself. Don't speak harshly about your body, and avoid judging others based on their appearance.
7. Reject the notion that you are "flawed" - There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, and working toward that goal. After all, that is what 90 Days to Your Best Body is all about! But while you are on the journey to your best you, keep this in mind: You are not "flawed". If you want to lose weight, do it because you love your body, not because you hate it. If you want to get Botox, do it because it makes you feel pretty, not because you want to "fix" something.
Remember my motto? If it makes you feel pretty, do it! Just make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.
Positive self-image is a habit, not an attribute.
I don’t always feel great about every aspect of the way I look, but if I’m feeling less than supremely confident, I pull my shoulders back, hold my head up and fake it ‘til I make it. Even if you’re not feeling capable of loving your body just now, commit to respecting it. Stand still for a moment, close your eyes, and send your body a message of appreciation for hanging in there with you, day in and day out. As long as you’re alive, you’ve got your body to thank for every heartbeat, every breath, every step — each and every day.