15 ways I learned to love my body
I used to hate my body. I mean like really hate my body. No matter how much weight I lost, it never felt good enough. Every time I overate, I felt guilty and hated my body even more.
To be honest - my weight was never the problem. My problem was that I didn't accept myself as I was. It was much easier to hate my body and try to change it than to work on self-acceptance and learn to like myself the way I am.
But now...? Now I love my body just the way it is, rolls, cellulite, love handles and all - and that's not something I ever thought I'd say (or even feel comfortable saying).
So, how do you go from hating your body to loving your body?
Loving your body doesn't happen overnight. If you've been hating your body for years, it's going to take a little time to repair that relationship. But it's possible and worth it because when you love your body, you take better care of it and healthy eating and exercise stops feeling like a punishment and starts to come naturally. So if you're ready to love your body as well...
Here are 15 ways I learned to love my body and boost my body confidence.
1. Get good at reminders
Honestly, guys? I don't think you can live in our society (where you are constantly being told you're not good/thin/hot enough) and not have bad body image days.
The key to better body confidence is to get good at reminders.
Here's how it works. When you tell yourself "I hate my body"... as soon as you can - remind yourself "actually, my body is perfect/fine/ok/worthy the way it is". Feel not good enough? Remind yourself that you are. Worry that your body doesn't look right. Remind yourself that there is no right.
The better you get at reminding yourself, the weaker your body hate voice gets. The longer you practice this, the more you believe it. In a nutshell, this is exactly what body love is. Constantly reminding yourself of your worth.
"Shout out to all the girls trying to love their body in a world that tells you not to".
2. Follow models with your body
The more reminders you have to love your body, the easier it gets.
I can't tell you how much following models with normal bodies (often referred to as plus-sized models, which I think is silly) helped me love my body. Each time I scroll through my social media, I get another reminder that they look amazing and they love their body at their size - therefore, so can I.
I love following Robyn Lawley, Ashley Graham, Bree Warren, Swimsuits for all, Katie Willcox... and many more.
3. Start with body acceptance
Feel weird to say "I love my body"? Try accepting your body first. Start with "My body is ok as it is". You don’t need to find yourself sexy or attractive or love your body from the get-go. That’s not nearly as important as being ok with your body. Body acceptance can help bridge the gap between body hate and body love.
4. Recognise when you see yourself incorrectly
Feel good about your body until you see yourself in a photo? Love how you look before catching a glimpse in the mirror? Do you find it hard to accept compliments? Are you constantly worrying about how you look?
If you've been hating your body for years, chances are you don't see your body correctly anymore. Body hate has clouded your vision. When you feel body hate, remind yourself that you don't see yourself correctly (yet).
5. Clean up how you speak to yourself
No matter how often someone tells you your body is perfect the way it is, you won’t believe them until you believe it.
So - don't bitch about your body to yourself, or anyone else. Complaining about your body won't make you healthier, skinnier, happier or help you love your body. Dissing your body actually makes it harder to look after yourself properly. When the negative thought pops into your head, give yourself a reminder. At a minimum, don't give the thoughts power by saying them out loud.
6. Do a closet cleanse
As a birthday present one year, I had a stylist come and help me clean out my closest. Wow - it made getting dressed, clothes shopping and loving my body so much easier.
You know those skinny jeans you haven't fit into for two years. Chuck them out. That 'too tight' top? Get rid of it. Having too small clothes in your wardrobe doesn't motivate you to lose weight and it doesn't help you love your body.
7. Don’t buy clothes that you need to lose weight to wear
Some things I learnt from the stylist that helped me love my body...
If you don't feel comfortable, you won't feel confident.
Never buy too small clothes that require you to lose weight to fit into them
Don't buy any clothes that are seethrough, that you need to wear another top underneath.
Never buy clothes without trying them on. Don't buy the first time you see them. Always go back.
Know your body shape and buy clothes that make you feel good.
Buy breathable fabrics that don't make you sweat.
8. Stop using the 'discover' feature on Instagram
To help boost my confidence and love my body (and myself), I stopped using the discover tab on Instagram. That's the one with the 'search' icon (a magnifying glass). Not only did I gain a lot more time in the day (for stuff that actually matters), but I noticed that I compare myself a lot less. This small change made a big difference.
Find you waste time on Facebook? You can turn off your newsfeed on Facebook with this app.
9. Unfollow fitspo and thinspo
My Pinterest (and Instagram) feed used to be filled with perfect bodies and before and afters that I thought motivated me to lose weight. “If I just ate healthier, I’d look like that”. I tried this strategy for 10 years. Guess what? It never worked! Forcing yourself to hate your body won't help you to lose weight. It makes you feel guilty and ashamed which makes you LESS motivated. You can tell Pinterest to stop showing you those type of photos.
10. Stop wishing you had another body
"Argh, her body is so perfect" or "if only I looked like that" used to be part of my vocab. Now each time a thought like that pops into my head, I remind myself (see how important these reminders are!) that "my body is perfect".
11. Throw out the scales
Sometimes the scales loved me. Other times the scales hated me. Either way, the scales were never good for me. Weighing yourself doesn't make you healthier - it makes you more obsessed with your weight. Health is a way of living, not a weight. If you want to love your body and be healthier, then throw out the scales.
12. Quit un-fun exercise
I only have ONE exercise goal; To enjoy every workout. If exercise feels like punishment, then you're doing it wrong. When you enjoy exercise, you do it more often. Sacrifice intensity for enjoyment - and you'll become more consistent and be on your way to loving your body.
13. Get a leaning mirror (and get rid of some mirrors)
Ever noticed that mirrors that tilt backwards are more flattering? Get a leaning mirror if it makes you feel good. Also, if you have lots of mirrors in the house and you find you become obsessed with looking at them, then get rid of some of them. I am often my most confident when I am away from mirrors - camping, on a boat without many mirrors, travelling... Why not recreate that at home.
14. Compliment others
Have you noticed that when you're the most self-conscious of your body, you tend to judge other peoples bodies? I know I used to! Now, I consciously find things to love about others and compliment them on it. It doesn't have to be a compliment on their appearance. Often, I just try to smile at other women (strangers) as a reminder that "I'm on your side".
15. Reconsider who you spend your time with
You know those friends who spend the whole catch up talking about other people... who's gained or lost weight - or you spend the whole time complaining about your bodies together? Reassess how you spend time together. Meet up in a group setting to break the cycle of body bashing and you'll both be better for it.