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Self-Confidence

Steps to Improving Self-Image

 

There are some simple things you can try

Being critical of your body is one of the hardest things to overcome. We tend to be our biggest competitors, which has its pros and cons. It’s great to strive to be better, but being overly critical to ourselves will only set us back.

If you are someone who hates your body, answer this: has hating the way you look helped you reach a healthy weight so far? Has dwelling on your imperfect body parts helped them become perfect? No one has ever said that focusing on their body in a negative way is helpful.

Now I’m not saying that you need to accept the way you look right now without changing it. What I’m saying is that it’s so important to respect and love your body during its transformation. Body image expert Judith Rodin couldn’t have stated it better- “You don’t need to lose weight first in order to take care of yourself. In fact, the process happens quite in reverse!”

If you are constantly thinking negative thoughts towards yourself, this will only put you back into the diet/perfection mentality, which will lead you to another diet, which does not work.

Here are some examples of common body hate thoughts people have about themselves (and I used to think ALL these things about myself):

  • I hate my thunder thighs
  • My muffin top is nasty
  • The way my stomach jiggles is gross
  • My arms are so flabby
  • My butt is ugly and not round enough

Do you think similar thoughts about yourself? Do you think different ones that are just as mean?

So how do you get passed this body hatred? It’s likely that losing weight is your primary goal right now. This has caused you to become so harsh on yourself and go through the diet cycle. What you need to do is rearrange your priorities a little. Move losing weight from your primary spot to the secondary spot, and put loving, respecting, and nurturing your body as first priority. This may sound scary to you, but if you are kinder to your body throughout this process, you won’t go back to the strict diet mentality. You won’t go through the cycles of weight gain and weight loss. It’s normal to feel panicked when thinking about respecting your body. But remember-this doesn’t mean you are accepting the way you look without w
orking to change it! If you love, respect, and nurture your body, you will be happier with yourself AND move towards your healthy weight.

Here are some ways to respect and love your body:

    • You don’t have to like every single part of your body in order to love and respect it. You don’t have to accept your current weight as your final weight. Respect and love means treating your body with dignity, meeting its needs, and being gentle throughout the process.
    • Instead of focusing on the negative body hate thoughts, focus on the things you love about your body! One thing I did was instead of focusing on the fat around my stomach, I focused on how strong and muscular my back was.
    • Still take notice of the parts you want to improve, but be gentle and encouraging about it. For me, I still noticed the fat on my stomach, but I would think “I can still feel my abs getting stronger underneath. I am still beautiful and a work in progress. A couple months from now my stomach will be leaner and I will be even happier.”
    • Make sure you are comfortable. Often times people who hate their bodies feel they don’t deserve to wear nice and comfortable clothes until they reach their ideal body weight. If you wear over-sized clothes because you feel you are too fat to wear something nicer, this is not treating yourself with respect.
    • Stop comparing yourself to others! This is called the body-check game-you enter a room and c
      ompare yourself to everyone else. Just because someone weighs less than you doesn’t make you any lesser of a person! Also, what if they are just naturally skinny and eat like crap? Then they aren’t respecting their body either. Or what if they have an eating disorder? What if they are on an extreme diet and are super unhappy.

I believe that most people think negative thoughts about their bodies. It is fascinating how we can be the nicest person to someone else, but then treat ourselves so poorly. andriamkleis@gmail.com

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