I’ve struggled with my body image for my entire life. It’s easy to zone in on the things I don’t like about my body and ignore all the beautiful parts that make me who I am.
At one point, it felt more natural to be mean than loving to my body. Having a negative body image can really mess with your mental health and overall self esteem.
Slowly and surely, I’ve been getting a lot better at celebrating my body and all it does for me. It hasn’t been an overnight change, but multiple efforts have added up to help me embrace the skin I’m in.
Check out this list of big and little ways to improve your body image:
- Follow and subscribe to media that supports positive body image. There are more social media hubs and blogs that feature a variety of body types than ever. Search through some hashtags and fill your feed with good vibes.
- Unfollow and unsubscribe from toxic media. Get rid of any media source that makes you doubt your self-worth. Influencer who constantly plugs weight loss shakes? Ditch them. Magazine that only features a certain type of model? Peace out. If you find yourself getting triggered from all forms of social media, uninstall the apps on your phone. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break.
- Find a tailor. Clothing brands don’t do a great job of creating a true variety of sizes. So many people struggle with manufactured measurements. I often find myself fitting between two sizes. If it’s difficult for you to buy things off the rack, find a tailor who can make adjustments. Tailoring does not have to be expensive and it can truly change how you feel and fit in your clothing. Clothes that fit correctly just feel better!
- Steer the conversation away from body-bashing. I remember being in high school and complaining about “flaws” with my friends. These types of conversations are SO unhelpful and usually end with you feeling worse about yourself. If you’re in a social situation and the conversation becomes negative towards bodies, do what you can to deflect and change the subject.
- Do nice things for your body. Massages, exercise, face masks, sex, sunbathing… There are so many ways to give back to your body and make yourself feel great. Treat yourself now and then.
- Surround yourself with body-positive people. While we don’t get to choose our family, we do get to choose our friends and lovers. The people in your life should make you feel great. Period. Have friends who tell you how bangin’ you look in that outfit. My current partner is great at making me feel beautiful and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Ditch anyone who makes you feel shitty, you don’t need that kind of energy in your life. If your family talks negatively about your body, you have a choice to stand up for yourself, ignore the bullshit, or minimize your time with them.
- Make your space more body-positive. If the scale is your enemy, get it out of your bathroom. If the full-length body mirror in your bedroom gives you anxiety, sell it or donate it. If old photos are triggering, then don’t keep them. You do not need to have any object in your home that makes you feel bad about yourself. Focus on filling your home with objects that make you happy, like plants, comfy pillows, or artwork.
- Interrupt negative thoughts. If you find yourself comparing your body to someone else’s or focusing on something you don’t like about yourself, do what you can to change your thought process. Replace the negative thought with a positive one. Have a body-positive mantra ready to go, like “I am beautiful,” or “I am capable and strong.” It might be hard to stop the cycle at first, but with some practice you’ll be able to improve your mindset overall.
- Write a little or a lot. Stick a post-it note in your bathroom reminding yourself that you are beautiful inside and out. Make a list in your journal of all the things you like about yourself. Delve deep into your past and pinpoint moments that made you question your beauty. Writing can be extremely therapeutic and helpful when it comes to improving your body image.
- Stand up for others. I have a family member who has a bad habit of pointing out physical traits about random people they see in public. Whenever they do this, I very quickly reply that commenting on someone’s appearance, someone whose story they do not know, is just plain rude and that it’s none of our business. If you start standing up for others, you’re more likely to stand up for yourself.
- Question Your Own Judgements. Related to the above point, if you find yourself randomly judging someone else’s body for one reason or another, ask yourself where that judgement is coming from. Is it societal bullshit that’s ingrained in you? Are you actually judging them for something you similarly don’t like about yourself? We often project our own insecurities on others, so check yourself.
- Make your change positive. If you deeply desire to change something about your body, then that is your decision to make alone. Try to frame your change with different vocabulary though to encourage a positive body image. For example, instead of focusing on solely trying to lose weight, focus on getting physically stronger, staying hydrated, or improving your energy. Add how you want to feel to the equation.
- Get help. If bad body image has had an impact on your mental or physical health and you find yourself struggling, reach out to a professional. Check out my previous post on finding a therapist.
Please know that you are not alone if you’re struggling with negative body image. It is a widespread issue in our appearance based society. The more we fight back against societal standards, the better body image will be for future generations.
Share your body image experiences in the comments. I’d love to hear from you! Always remember that you are beautiful and you are enough.