Do you ever have those days when you look in the mirror and feel like you’re not quite sure you love what you see? We’ve all been there, and we know the struggle is way too real.
Just know this: No one radiates confidence every second of every day, and every person on the planet has days when they’re just not feeling it.
But what if you consistently feel disappointed when you look in the mirror? Is it possible to change how you feel about yourself?
The short answer is: Yes, absolutely!
If you’re looking for positive body image tips to improve your relationship with yourself, we’ve always got your back. So, to get you started on your self-love journey, here are five powerful things you can do to prompt radical respect, appreciation, and love for yourself.
Ditch the scale and stop worrying about your weight
Does your scale make you feel bad about yourself? Then ditch it! If you had a person in your life who consistently made you feel bad about yourself, would you keep asking that person for their opinion? Heck no, you wouldn’t! (If you have friends who do this, ditch them, too. Nobody’s got time for that.)
Your scale only tells you how much gravity is required to keep your feet firmly on the ground—nothing more, nothing less. If you consistently weigh in every day, there’s a high chance you’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with the (largely inconsequential) number your scale displays.
Here’s the thing: Your scale doesn’t give you an accurate picture of your progress because it can only measure your overall mass. It can’t tell you how much fat you’ve lost or how much muscle you’ve gained, so even if you’re getting smaller and your clothes are fitting better, your scale weight might not fluctuate significantly.
Muscle tissue is denser than fat, which means that pound for pound, muscle occupies less space than fat. If you had five pounds of pure muscle tissue and five pounds of pure fat tissue in front of you, the muscle would appear smaller than the fat.
Or, in a real-life example, let’s say you have two people with identical scale weights. If one person has more muscle than the other, the person with more muscle will be smaller than the person with more fat.
Your scale isn’t telling you the whole truth, so if you’re trying to improve your relationship with your body, one of the first things you should do is ditch the scale.
Stop the crazy yo-yo dieting
Let’s get this out of the way right now: Yo-yo dieting is terrible for your health, your body, and your mind. Severely restricting your eating, developing cravings, and continually breaking your diet can lead you to develop an unhealthy relationship with food and your body. And, unfortunately, healing that distorted relationship can be a long and arduous process.
Ultimately, your body doesn’t know the difference between “bad” foods and “good” foods—it only knows the molecular composition of those foods. It knows what fat, carbohydrates, and protein are, but it can’t discern whether those macronutrients came from a doughnut or from a piece of toast with peanut butter.
Of course, your diet shouldn’t be nothing but junk, but when you repeatedly demonize specific foods because a restrictive diet told you they were “bad” (a.k.a. yo-yo dieting), here’s what can happen:
Severely restrictive diets can reduce heart function.
Repeatedly cycling up and down in weight can lead you to gain more fat mass, especially in the abdominal area.
Repeated weight loss and gain can lead to fatty liver.
Yo-yo dieting increases your risk of developing heart disease.
To improve your relationship with your body, rather than taking a restrictive approach, give your body the nutritious, wholesome foods you know it deserves. You’ll feel good about fueling your body with foods that help it thrive, and you’ll likely find that you appreciate your body for all the amazing things it does for you each and every day.
Create health goals for yourself, not weight goals
Tying your self-worth to a number on a scale simply isn’t healthy, because once you reach that number, chances are there will always be another (lower) one to work toward.
So what can you do instead? Rather than setting weight-related goals, set health-related goals for yourself. If you haven’t quite figured out your personal health goals yet, try asking yourself these important questions:
How would you like to feel?
What activities would you like to be able to do?
What types of nourishing, healthy foods would you feel great about eating?
Are you stressed? What can you do to reduce your stress? (Hint: exercise!)
Would you like to reduce your blood pressure? How about your cholesterol?
Your body is an incredible thing, and the better you treat it, the better you’ll feel about it. When you tie your goals to weight, you end up developing a negative habit of downplaying all the amazing things your body is doing for you behind the scenes. Your weight might not change drastically, but what if you can do activities that were once super challenging or impossible? That’s a huge victory in itself, and one you should be incredibly proud of.
Bottom line? If you’re trying to improve your relationship with your body, try approaching your relationship with yourself from a perspective of health rather than weight. When you change your mind-set, you just might develop a deeper appreciation for all of the incredible things your body does for you.
Drop negative self-talk
You know those negative words you keep saying about yourself, to yourself? They’ve absolutely got to let that go if you want to improve your relationship with your body. The more you tell yourself something, the more likely you are to truly believe it (even if it isn’t true). So if you’re constantly criticizing your body, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.
Positive self-talk, on the other hand, has been proven to enhance performance and goal achievement. So, if your goal is to improve your relationship with your body, start being kind to yourself. Try these super simple phrases when you catch yourself about to say something negative:
“My body is strong and capable.”
“I thank my body for serving me today.”
“My worth is not defined by my weight or size.”
“I honor my body in its current state. I feel beautiful in my skin, exactly as it is.”
“I accept my body, exactly as it is.”
“I am allowed to take up space!”
“My loving relationship with myself is my priority.”
What if those sayings aren’t your cup of tea? Go ahead and make up your own! What makes you feel good about your body? Do you love your eyes? How about your smile? What about your curves? When you find things you love about yourself, and you consistently remind yourself, sit back and watch as you gradually begin to improve your relationship with your body.
Remind yourself how awesome you are with love notes
Do you love yourself? Do you tell yourself often? If not, it’s time to start! One of the simplest ways to improve your relationship with your body is to tell yourself how incredible you are on a regular basis.
Try this: Grab a stack of sticky notes and write yourself a little love note. Stick that note to your bathroom mirror, so you see it every single morning. Each time you think about something you love about yourself, write another note and stick it in a place where you’re sure to see it often.
Sometimes, all it takes to feel amazing about your body is a reminder of how awesome it is. Every time your body does something amazing for you, or each time you accomplish a health-related goal, write it down. After you do this for a while, you might be astonished to look around and find that there really are dozens of reasons to appreciate and love your incredible body.
Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship in your life. Be kind to yourself, talk positively to yourself, forgive yourself when you mess up (because everyone does), and, most importantly, love your body for all the amazing things it does for you each day. When you shift your mindset, you might just be astonished at how much your relationship with yourself improves.