Many women (and men) struggle with body confidence. For some of of us, body dissatisfaction can be constant and can affect the quality of our lives.
When I ask a client how many thoughts she believes she has every day, she often answers somewhere in the 3,000 range. And when I ask her how many of those thoughts she believes to be negative toward herself, she often says “at least half”.
The average human actually has about 60,000 thoughts per day. If we extrapolate what my client believes – that about half of her thoughts are disapproving – that means she likely has at least 30,000 negative thoughts toward herself every day. And based on my work with women in the wellness field, I’d say that’s conservative.
It’s no wonder we’re never satisfied with our bodies!
10 Steps to Building Body Confidence
Developing body confidence and a more positive attitude toward the body can do wonders for self-esteem. These are some of the tips and tricks that have helped me and my clients.
- Take a moment to appreciate all that your body does. You don’t have to love every part, and it may not look the way you want it to…but your body still does a lot for you. Our bodies carry us from place to place, grow and birth babies, and allow us to experience the full joy of life through movement.
- Carry yourself proudly, even if you don’t always feel it on the inside. Body language is incredibly powerful to changing your mood and developing body confidence. Set your shoulders back, smile, stride confidently, and swing those hips, girl!
- Make a list of at least five non-physical attributes that you like about yourself. Are you kind-hearted? A good listener? A great cook? Philanthropic? Remember that you are more than just your body or a number on a scale.
- Keep good company. It’s easier to stay positive about your body when you spend time with people who accept themselves as they are, and you as you are. Cut ties with or reduce exposure to people who drain your cup!
- Become a critical viewer of media. Pay close attention to the messages you receive from all types of media. Unfollow body-centric social media accounts that promote unrealistic images. Take regular social media breaks. Remind yourself that most images are doctored, and rarely show true life.
- Look at real, un-doctored images of women and bodies. Notice and appreciate the unique, interesting, and beautiful variety of the human form. What a boring world it would be if we were all the same!
- Wear clothing that fits your now body. Does shoe-horning yourself into clothing that doesn’t fit make you feel better about yourself? Does it give you motivation to care for yourself? No! You deserve to feel comfortable right now! A big step toward body confidence is being more kind to yourself by wearing clothing that makes you feel comfortable and beautiful.
- Change negative thoughts into positive ones. Catch those self-deprecating thoughts and challenge them! When you see your reflection and you think, “ugh, I hate my stomach”, change that to “I may not love how my stomach looks, but it grew three healthy babies, and I can appreciate that.”
- Set health-related fitness goals instead of body- or weight-related goals. I’ve seen too many people give up on exercise and healthy eating just because the scale doesn’t cooperate. But exercise and healthy eating are beneficial for so many other reasons! Focus on the non-scale benefits of engaging in healthy habits.
- Live the life you want…right now. Too many women put off enjoying life while they wait to reach a specific size or weight. “I want to be two sizes smaller before I buy that dress.” “I’m not going to book that beach vacation until I’ve lost 10 pounds.” “I’m not going to go swimming with my kids because I’m too fat to wear a bathing suit.” Consider the possibility that your body may never be perfect enough. Don’t put off your life a second longer!
Building self esteem is all about brain training
The reality is that we are bombarded every day by images of how we are “supposed to look”. I’m not going to tell you that building body confidence is easy. It has been an enormous struggle for me. As a fitness trainer, I always feel like I have to maintain a very specific body type. But using these body confidence steps has helped me challenge the status quo and transform my life.
Getting more confident in your skin is a practice, just like yoga or tai chi. It doesn’t happen overnight. But with awareness and practice, this body confidence work can be life-altering.
Looking for a body-positive coaching experience that will teach you how to appreciate your body and improve your relationship with food? Check out Kelly’s website for information on mindful eating practices and health at every size!
Good news! Building your confidence will help your kids too! Want tips on how to help build your tween’s confidence? Check out this AOM post!