“If I was slimmer I’d feel great, I’m definitely going back to the gym next week.”
“I look so fat in these jeans, why did I eat those biscuits last night?”
“I look huge, everyone’s going to notice that I’ve put on weight. I’m so annoyed with myself.”
Analysing and criticising my body was part of my daily routine for years. Unfortunately, the quotes I posted above are just a snippet of the thoughts I used to have whenever I looked at myself in the mirror. Looking back, I was never over weight but I just never felt good enough. Simply put, I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin and I couldn’t accept myself as I was. I used my body as a mannequin to display clothes and impress people with, always striving for perfection and hoping for compliments. After years of beating myself up over the size of my thighs, or whether my arms looked toned or not, I decided to make amends with my body. Loving myself and my body is the best decision I ever made. Here are the 10 ways I learned to love my body and boost my self-esteem.
10 ways to love and accept your body:
- Stop trying to achieve the perfect body. Losing weight for health reasons is one thing but striving for the perfect body is an unrealistic goal that will make you feel like a failure.
- Don’t compare yourself to other people. Comparing yourself to others is one of the easiest ways to feel bad about yourself. When you compare yourself to others you fail to accept your uniqueness, everybody has their own unique shape, embrace the body you have.
- Treat yourself the same way you would treat your best friend. You wouldn’t call your best friend “fat” or “wrinkly” so don’t say it to yourself. Our thoughts and words are very powerful, choose them wisely.
- Go through your wardrobe and throw out any clothes that don’t fit or make you feel good. Hanging on to clothes that you’re hoping to wear when you lose a few pounds will not not help you love your body as it is today.
- Ditch the scale. Numbers on a weighing scale can fluctuate for numerous reasons e.g. water retention, gaining muscle, not going to the toilet in a while etc. Weighing less does not mean you are healthy, do not let the scales dictate how you feel about your body.
- Give yourself compliments regularly. Focus on the parts of your body that you do like and compliment yourself. Look in the mirror and say “I look good today. I am attractive.” (I know this sounds cheesy but trust me it works). Admire yourself and appreciate yourself daily, eventually you will see yourself in a more positive light.
- Recognise the times when you’ve done something well and be proud of yourself. Celebrating your small (and large) achievements will increase positive emotions such as self-respect and happiness. Look in the mirror and say “I am so proud of you. You did it!” Remember to go easy on yourself when you make mistakes or when things don’t go according to plan, you’re only human.
- Be kind to yourself. Treating yourself with kindness, care and compassion is one of the best things you can do for yourself. If you are feeling down or you’re being harsh on yourself, ask yourself: What would I say to a friend who is feeling like this? Take some time out and be nice to yourself.
- Take care of your body, physically and mentally. Nourish your body with healthy food, exercise daily and take time out to connect with yourself. Making the commitment to eat healthy food and exercise regularly will teach you how to respect your body.
- Practice gratitude. Shift the focus from how you look to what your body does for you every day. Your body is incredible, think about everything it does to keep you alive, don’t take your health for granted. Ask yourself what your body has done for you today? When you focus on the positive aspects of your body, you have less room for negative thoughts.
Loving your body doesn’t happen over night, it takes time and commitment. Start today by paying attention to how you talk about your body and how you treat it. Treat your body like someone you love and you will change how you feel about it.