Ever wake up and feel like your body is your best friend? You have a brunch date and your love handles have disappeared just for this morning and your stomach is surfboard flat. Then you had some coffee to help with the nerves, you know that you are lactose sensitive, but today your body is your best friend so you have some.
What could go wrong, eh? Just like that, now your love handles and bloated tummy are back and whilst you still contemplate squeezing yourself into your sexy jeans like a sausage, you know the best thing to do is to just put on a babydoll dress and call it a day.
Confident as you may have felt when you woke up, you don’t feel that anymore and are cursing your decision to have anything but water before your date. Sound familiar?
Being confident in your body is not a surface change, although most of us only make it on the surface. Body confidence is being discussed to death nowadays with hundreds of tips and tricks to implement it, but real confidence does not come from assuring yourself that you are comfortable.
Real body confidence comes from a change to our core beliefs about our body. Real confidence in our body comes from the inside and not the affirmations on your mirror.
What does it look like then and how do you create real confidence in your body?
How to Boost Body Confidence
1) Get To Know Your Beliefs
You may think you do not need a boost in body confidence, but think again. Have you ever avoided wearing a certain outfit because you think you look lumpy in it? Do you constantly complain about some part of your body so much that now the criticism just falls out of your mouth?
It may seem like these are simple, harmless words and actions that mean nothing, but these are indicative of how you feel about your body. Never mind the chocolate, it is your beliefs that hurt your body most.
Write down what you think about your body (don’t write affirmations, write what you really think).
2) Change Your Limiting Beliefs
Now that you know what you really think about your body, make a conscious effort to stop a limiting thought in its tracks.
Any time you find an old habitual thought resurfacing, stop it in its tracks and replace it with a better belief.
You see, it isn’t so much about your limiting beliefs being bad, but about how they are making you feel. The limiting beliefs you allow yourself to circulate and recirculate don’t help you feel better about your body. They don’t allow your mind and body to integrate and that is what makes them unhelpful.
Stop them in their tracks and fill that vacuum with the opposite thought. As an example, if you find yourself thinking “I have flabby arms,” immediately replace that with “I am grateful for my healthy arms that I have full use of.”
3) Notice Everything Your Body Does
Now that you have taken the step to identify and begin to change your limiting beliefs, begin to notice the miraculous marvel your body is. Did you know that wounds in your mouth heal faster and with less scarring than in other parts of your body? Did you also know that the liver performs over 400 functions and if two-thirds of it is removed due to any reason, it can grow back to its full size in just 4 weeks!
The human body is a miraculous machine and, as such, it deserves all the respect it can get from us.
Notice everything your body does. It endures long hours of work and still allows you to exercise to get rid of the cobwebs in your mind. All cuts and bruises that sting horribly are healed within a week at best, allowing us to be as comfortable as possible at all times.
Start to think of your body as a doing creature instead of something imperfect you are lugging around. You cannot have confidence in something that you do not marvel at.
4) Put Health Over Dress Size
Did you know that going on a strict diet is the most temporary and ineffective way to lose weight? We damage our body confidence by setting too much store by the dress size we are buying rather than giving any thought to our health.
Most regimens we qualify as “diets” are not mindset or lifestyle changes, but temporary band aid measures we employ to get to our goal dress size incredibly fast. When you think of your body, think of health rather than dress size.
If you were at your ideal dress size, but you didn’t have enough energy to walk two rounds around your local park, that “ideal size” is hardly ideal. When you feel healthy you will have energy, feel active, have a healthy appetite and a good digestion.
If you want to lose weight, focus on long-term lifestyle changes rather than difficult and unhealthy short-term diets. Losing weight doesn’t have to mean cutting out foods that make you happy!
Here are some examples:
- Add plenty of vegetables to your meals
- Replace sugar-packed sodas with sparkling water (or set a limit)
- Be mindful of snacks you keep in your home (for example, choose smaller bags of chips rather than Costco-sized bags)
- Set a daily exercise goal (this can be as simple as walking for 30 minutes every day)
5) Moderate Your Use of the Scale
I use these words carefully as I do not want to advocate complete ignorance towards the weighing scale. It is a useful device and extremely helpful for positive reinforcement when you are trying to return to a healthy weight.
But, it is important to ensure that you do not fall into a habit of running your life by the scale. It is important that we all remain within a healthy Body Mass index (BMI), but at more than one point in life, we have all been on the wrong side of it by either being underweight or overweight.
A scale is important to help keep us on track with staying healthy, but it should not become a weapon we use to shame ourselves into skipping meals or overeating. Either is detrimental to our physical and mental health and definitely damaging to our body confidence.
6) Dress To Impress Yourself
Never mind anyone else, dress for yourself.
In order to grow in body confidence, you have to learn to admire the beauty of your body. Don’t bother with those clothes you keep for when you are “skinny.”
Whether your preferred style is trousers, skirts or dresses, shortlist the ones in your wardrobe that fit you the best and wear them every day. Yes, even the ones you save for evenings out or special occasions.
On that note, don’t be afraid to play around with new styles to see what makes you feel the most confident in your body. We all love a comfortable pair of sweats and a baggy t-shirt, but for many of us, they don’t do much as far as body confidence goes.
Trying new styles and filling your wardrobe with your favorite garments can be an easy way to boost body confidence. You may have never been inspired to purchase a bodycon skirt before, but you might be pleasantly surprised by how it looks on you!
7) Unfollow the Unreal
In a world obsessed with celebrities and influencers, we tend to mindlessly follow endless social media accounts. We don’t want to be left out in conversations with friends, so we follow multiple celebrity accounts and popular hashtags.
This can often lead us to feeling bad about ourselves, as every time we open social media we find ourselves accosted with enhanced images of fellow humans flaunting standards of beauty that only a camera lens or the Fairy Queen herself can achieve.
Spare yourself this masochism and unfollow anything that does not help you feel good.
Instead, follow accounts that add to your growth and intelligence. You do not need to replace aspirational body accounts with body-positive accounts, scrap the obsession with the body altogether.
There is more to you than how your body looks, invest in that. Follow some educational accounts for art history, a word a day in a language you aspire to learn, video clippings of a musical instrument you wish to learn, the list is endless. Grow your abilities to grow your overall confidence.
8) Listen To Your Body
In the early days of your body confidence journey, you may wish to sleep and eat more than you have been doing so far. This may occur due to the release of pent up tension your body has been holding. Tension from being constantly critical of itself, tension from having to worry about what to eat for the outfit you plan to wear that evening and generalized tension from not feeling good.
Whatever you crave in this period, allow yourself to give in to. Sleep that extra hour, eat that dessert and drink that coffee. Refrain from thinking of these as indulgences and take your cues from your body.
Eat and drink when you feel hungry and give in to your cravings. This does not form indulgent habits as is often popularized, but rather, it stops your mind and body from binging when it has access to the forbidden foods.
When you allow your body any food it is craving, it gradually requires less and less of it. Soon you will find yourself eating just as much as you need and making healthier choices.
9) Embrace Your Body Type
We all have a body shape, and there are 4 broad shapes which are often referenced when this discussion comes up. Body shapes are not an exact science and there are variations within even these 4 broad categories.
Spend some time trying to identify which category you broadly fit into and; are you a rectangle, triangle, hourglass or pear. Within these you may find yourself being an inverted triangle, spoon, bottom hourglass or diamond.
Identify your body shape and learn as much about it as you can. Knowledge is power and the more you understand your body shape and how to dress it for maximum impact, the better you will feel.
For example, I am an hourglass shape and drop waists are an absolute no-no for me. They contradict the natural shape of my body and frankly, make me look quite ridiculous. It’s ok to dress for your body type rather than the fashions you fancy.
10) Strengthen Your Resolve
It may be a long journey to get to the point where you begin to consistently feel confident in your body and treat it well.
Remember to protect yourself when environmental factors threaten to disturb that balance and make you regress. Ignore all talk of the latest diet, even if it promises to be the healthiest one yet and recommended by doctors.
Having spent time in training your body to consume all food types (barring allergies and sensitivities), do not ruin that delicate balance by giving in to fad diets. When others around you are criticizing parts of their body, sympathize but resist the temptation to join in.
If you feel pressured to participate, explain in simple words that you are working on eliminating self-criticism directed at your body. In short, do not let anything tip the delicate balance. Keep your focus on everything that has helped you grow in body confidence.
In conclusion, focus on your health and how you feel. That will automatically lead to body confidence, which will in turn lead to a healthier body. Your body is a powerful machine with infinite wisdom and it knows how to maintain equilibrium. Tune in to your body’s intuition and wisdom and you can’t go wrong.