A recent beach vacation helped me to re-evaluate my body image. I am often way too hard on myself. Sometimes that inner voice says, “I hate my body.” I always want to cover up all of my imperfections. What I saw on the beach was so many women celebrating their bodies. Showing off curves, bellies, cellulite and more. Like the celebs in this picture, I loved how the women I saw embraced themselves and were not trying to hide every bump and bulge like I was.
I was so inspired by these women. I figured if they can do it, so can I. I need to forgive my body for not being perfect and embrace it for what it is. It is beautiful. It is healthy. It is strong. How do you feel about your body? Do you ever find yourself saying “I hate my body?” Do you cover up or share it with the world?
Like many girls, I grew up playing with Barbie dolls. I always felt that she had the “perfect” body. Did you know that Barbie’s measurements are 32″ bust, 16″ waist, 29″ hips, and 16″ thighs? The average woman is 35″ Bust, 35″ waist, 40″ hips, and 25″ thigh. How can anyone expect to measure up? It’s truly impossible.
Stop Saying “I Hate My Body”
10 Ways to Improve Your Body Image
1. Take a break from social media
It can be literally exhausting trying to keep up with the Jones’. Women are the first to log on to Facebook or Instagram and see the perfect body, family, the ones who have everything and then that negative voice starts to come out. Do yourself a favor and know that most social media lives are not what they seem. Not to mention, you would be surprised at the amount of time you have when it’s not spent online!
2. Pick up a new hobby
The great thing about hobbies is that you are good at it and it is not an obligation! Start crafting, take a cooking class, or go antique hunting. All of these things not only occupy your mind, which is less time for negative self-talk and great for your mental health, but you will find happiness doing something that you love. Also, if your hobby is something not everyone can do, it almost replaces body hate with self-validation without having to compare yourself with others.
3. Set a goal and achieve it
It doesn’t matter what the goal may be but set one. Think of short-term goals that you have always wanted to reach and start working towards it. Don’t tell yourself that you CANNOT do something. Instead, prove to yourself that you can, and you will. It will feel AMAZING! If your goal involves food in any way (overweight/underweight, eating disorders, etc.) try doing a little research then apply it to yourself in order to beat the feeling of being defeated.
4. Set aside time daily just for self-motivation
Everyone has a busy life whether it involves work, kids, a spouse, or extracurricular activities. However, it’s important you do not lose yourself along the way. By taking only 30 minutes out of your schedule for yourself will greatly improve your quality of life. I enjoy reading a daily devotional, preferably in the morning. But you could always plug this in whenever you feel anxious, unwanted, stressed out, or before bedtime. It doesn’t matter when you do it, just as long as it gets done.
5. Surround yourself with positivity
If you know there are things or people in your life that make you feel toxic, it’s time to start cleaning house. Nobody needs unnecessary negativity in their life. If you have friends that constantly bring you down, they are not your friends. If you leave every morning to go to a job you hate, look for a new one. Say your spouse and kids make you feel toxic, sit down with them and talk it out. Come up with a plan that will work for everyone.
6. Know that no one is perfect and be comfortable with that
First things first, stop comparing yourself to others. As much as it downs your body image, someone else is looking have the exact same thought about themselves. No one is perfect no matter what their Facebook post says or their Instagram stories. Start being comfortable in what you have and start working towards the things that you want. Body positivity can be found a lot easier once you consciously tell yourself that YOU ARE ENOUGH.
7. Stop obsessing and start focusing
Instead of obsessing over the weight you have or have not gained, start focusing on doing something about it. In order to gain control over your eating habits, you have to find out where the problem lies. Keeping a food journal or diary is great for tracking the nutrients you are taking in. Also, be sure that there is a section to write about your feelings. Put your voice on paper as to why you are or not eating, what happened that day to put you in a bad mood, and how can you change it. Everyone has to start somewhere, so start small. Make a few small changes and work up to the things that you feel are totally out of reach.
8. Build a support system
This goes back to cleaning house. By getting rid of negativity you can focus on mentally and physically building a strong foundation. Talk to your family and friends. Look online about meetings in your local area if you are struggling with a specific problem. Let people know what is going on instead of feeling alone, I promise you are not alone. Actually, you would probably be surprised to know that most people feel exactly like you in one way or another.
9. Buy clothes that fit
Stop refusing to buy a size bigger. If you think that you want to start losing weight, we all know it does not happen overnight. So, disregard what the tag size is, and buy what fits. You will feel so much more comfortable in your own skin, it’s unreal.
Regardless if you exercise to lose weight or if you love it, it makes you feel better. Also, if you struggle with body image, walking, running, or going to the gym gives you a sense of purpose of working towards something. This could also count for your daily motivation, your focus, and even goal setting. Exercise is really a time where it is all about yourself, and that is totally okay!
Nearly everyone has suffered from body dysmorphic and/or eating disorders at some point in their life. It is true! I nearly starved myself to be skinny after I graduated from college. Later in life, I gained 20 pounds from emotional binge eating. We all have issues.
Instead of saying, “I hate my body,” learn to love your body. It will take time. I cannot say that it is easy, because it’s not. But if you are trying, and use these improvements above, you’ll be heading in the right direction.
I recently saw an interview with Drew Barrymore. She talked about being happy is beautiful. Just sharing a smile can help brighten someone else’s day. Let’s focus on our happiness and our smiles and not on the imperfections of our bodies.