06 Jan 5 Ways to Improve Your Body Image
What do you feel when you look in the mirror? Love? Gratitude? Acceptance? Contentment? Or disappointment and shame?
Numerous aspects of life, including how you interact with people, how you present yourself, how people perceive you, what jobs you get, and even your physical posture, are greatly influenced by how you see yourself.
If you find yourself criticizing your appearance, or you’re preoccupied with how others perceive you, you’re not alone!
Here are 5 tips and tricks for how to improve your body image:
- Clean Up Your Social Media Feed. Social media is a world where it is easy to portray the best of yourself, even though behind the scenes may be less-than-glamorous. Unfollow accounts that leave you feeling bad about your body and try to follow more body-positive accounts. Additionally, try to surround yourself with friends who speak positively about their bodies and appearance instead of those who constantly bash their bodies.
- Buy Clothes You Feel Comfortable & Confident In. Get rid of clothes that make you feel uncomfortable when you wear them (that’s right, I’m talking about those jeans from college) and choose clothes that make you feel attractive and comfortable. There’s no one right way to dress, so throw out the rule book and experiment with different styles and colors. What matters is that you wear clothes that make you feel good about yourself!
- Challenge Your Negative Thoughts. Pay attention to the thoughts you have about your appearance. Evaluate and challenge these thoughts by asking yourself, “Are the statements I’m making based on fact or opinion? Is this view realistic? What evidence is there to suggest that this is true?”. Everytime a negative thought comes up, replace it with a positive one.
- Learn To Recognize Your Positive Qualities. It’s important to embrace your body and show it respect. Many people have a tough time accepting the body that they’re in because society has taught them that they should always strive to look a certain way. The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with being who you are and embracing the skin you’re in! Try writing down things you like about your body in a journal or repeating body-positive affirmations every day.
- Appreciate Your Body For What It Can Do. When you stop and appreciate the incredible things your body does every day it can dramatically change the way you see yourself and your body. Every person’s body has incredible capabilities, even if you feel limited by it at times. Did your strong legs help you to complete a long workout? Did your body help you to birth a beautiful child? Is your heart beating and your lungs helping you to keep breathing (I’d hope so)? Each day you can write down 3 things that you’re grateful for that your amazing body does.
Remember that improving your body image is an ongoing habit. I don’t always feel great about my body, but on those days I try to implement the tips above and focus on the positive! The more you practice these tips, the better you will feel about who you are and the body you naturally have.
Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD, CDE
Registered Dietitian/ Consultant