We’re all guilty of being overly critical of our own bodies. Chances are you look in the mirror and see plenty of things holding you back from fitting into the physical ideal you have in your mind — spots, rolls, wrinkles, cellulite, hair, discolorations, and more get in the way. You may tell yourself if only these things were fixed, you’d have the confidence to ask your cute co-worker on a date or the courage to go for your dream job. The perception you have of your body is so tied to your overall persona that far too often it holds you back from achieving the things you want.
At some point, this cycle has to stop. Your body does amazing things. It allows you to move, breathe, taste, and smell. It should be recognized for all it does rather than being reduced to a number on a scale or a dress size. Learn to love your body — this is a good place to start.
1. Stop criticizing yourself
The first thing you have to do is stop the habit of self-hate. When you look in the mirror, stop examining the dimples on your butt or the spots on your face. Instead of thinking, “I hate my hips,” say, “my butt looks great in these jeans” or “I love my eyes.” When someone compliments you, don’t brush it off or put yourself down in response. Think and talk about yourself with love.
2. Treat yourself how you treat others
It can be all too easy to be critical and hateful toward your own body. You have no problem criticizing your thighs, but would you bestow the same judgement on your daughter, best friend, or mother? Probably not. Make a point to stop speaking to yourself differently than you would to those you love. Make a point to treat and talk about your body in a way that aligns with how you would want the women in your life to view theirs.
3. Pay more attention to how you feel
If your body feels light and clean, it doesn’t matter what the scale says or what your body mass index may be. Focus on what you do and how it makes you feel. Do you feel great after eating an ice cream cone? If not, why? Feel strong and sexy after a Zumba class? Go again. If you listen, your body tells you what does and doesn’t feel good. Try to incorporate more of the food and activities that feel good and restrict those that don’t. When you focus on making your body happy and healthy, your weight and BMI will naturally drop.
4. Stop comparing yourself
Call it jealousy or a girl crush, but we all have that person whose physical appearance we envy. This habit can be dangerous. When you become absorbed in comparing yourself to another person, you’re damaging your sense of self. Not only will it make you feel jealous or competitive against the person, but it won’t even help you accomplish your goals. Remember the very person who seems so perfect in your eyes has their own list of insecurities and body image issues.
5. Do things that make you feel good
Treat yourself to activities that make you feel sexy and confident. Take a long, hot bath and lather yourself with coconut oil. Sleep in a sexy nightgown. Spend an afternoon floating weightless in a pool or take a calming yoga class. Do whatever makes you feel good about yourself and the negativity and self-hate will begin to diminish.