As a personal trainer and someone who has overcome my own body image issues, I am relieved and excited to watch more and more people say no to the pressures of the diet culture and yes to becoming their own best body. Our society has begun to reject the notion that there is only one acceptable or “healthy” body type and is embracing the fact that health and beauty really does come in all shapes and sizes. As more and more people recognize that they are uniquely designed and no two bodies are the same, the focus is shifting away from striving for perfection and more toward being healthy and positive about our bodies (flaws and all).
One of the first steps toward being positive about one’s body is self-acceptance and/or “feeling comfortable in your own skin.” It’s important to understand that self-acceptance does not mean you just “let yourself go.” What it means is that you will be kind to yourself and your body in every season and every stage of your life. It means that if you do need or want to lose weight, you will choose a healthy path that can be sustained long-term and won’t force your body to become a weight that is completely unnatural for it.
Being positive about your own body doesn’t always come easy. Most people, by nature, are compassionate and kind when it comes to how they look at other people’s bodies, but when it comes to things like our own cellulite or the extra five pounds we gained over the holidays, we can be way more critical. Basically, humans can be downright hard on themselves.
It may seem like no big deal to speak negatively about your body; however, over time, it can start to become your identity. This is why it’s so important to pay attention to the words that you speak when you are talking about yourself. Do you say good things about yourself or do you tend to be over-critical? It’s next to impossible to feel good about yourself if you are constantly bashing your body.
One of the best ways to know if you are picking on yourself too much is to ask yourself if you would ever say the things you say about your own body to your friend or your daughter. If the answer is “no way!” then it may be time to change the conversation with and about yourself.
Five ways to stop the body bashing, Feel Comfortable In Your Own Skin, and encourage yourself:
- Avoid comparing yourself to others. There is no one else like you on the planet so it is completely unfair and unrealistic to compare yourself to others. Sure, there are similar body types, however you can place twenty people on the same exact diet and exercise routine and they will usually all have different results. Comparison to others only causes heartache. Focus on being the best YOU that you can be.
- Create healthy boundaries. Complaining about one’s body parts has become a way that people connect with each other in social circles. As harmless as a comment here and there might seem, this is not only bad for your self-esteem, it can completely derail you from your healthy weight loss efforts or any other goal you are trying to achieve. If you notice that the conversation has turned into people criticizing themselves, address it head on with something like “Hey guys, no beating up on ourselves today, okay?”
- Hand out compliments. Compliments are the exact opposite of bashing which is what makes compliments so powerful. Give yourself and a minimum of one other person a sincere compliment every day for the next thirty days. You will be AMAZED at how good it makes you feel about yourself and the trail of goodwill that you leave behind you.
- Be unapologetically you. Life is way too short to spend it worrying about what other people think of you. Focus on being healthy and living your best life. Just say no to changing yourself for the purpose of acceptance from society, the media, and/or the diet culture.
- Create a folder of positive reminders. Being positive about your body is an on going process and no matter how good you get at rocking who you were designed to be, negative and critical thoughts can still pop up from time to time. Just last week I was looking at some old pictures of myself and judgmental thoughts like “you used to be so skinny” began to pop up in my head. Fortunately, I know better than to give those types of thoughts much airtime. I quickly reminded myself “yes, I was skinnier but I also had messed up hormones and my body was broken down. I am so much healthier and happier now then I was back then.” Positive thoughts are like powerful weapons used for good. Come up with a long list of kind things you can say about yourself. Then, when a critical thought pops into your head, pull something from your list to counter the negative thought.
FEELing COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN SKIN is powerful
One of the most powerful things that you can achieve is the ability to be comfortable in your own skin. In a society that places way too much value on the external and not nearly enough value on the internal, it can be difficult at times. I look forward to the day when it is more common than not for people to be comfortable in their own skin each and every day. Until then, let’s be the bold ones that step out and lead the charge!
Shared with love,