15 ways I learned to love my body
I used to hate my body. I mean really hate my body.
No matter how much weight I lost, it never felt good enough. Every time I overate, I felt guilty and loathed my body even more.
To be honest – my weight was never a 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 accept 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, yet believing).
Got rolls? I don’t care. My body is still worthy.
I learned to love my body and it absolutely changed my life.
So how do you go from hating your body to loving it? It doesn’t happen overnight, or even after a week of nights. If you’ve been hating your body for years, it’s going to take some 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. Start with body acceptance 💗
It’s a HUGE leap to go from hating your body to loving it. If it feels weird to say “I love my body”, try accepting your body first.
- “My body is okay as it is”
- “I have more important things to do than to look perfect from every angle”
- “How my body looks is the least important thing about me”
- “My body is worthy of respect”
- “I am not an ornament”
You don’t need to find yourself sexy or attractive or love your body. That’s not nearly as important as being okay with your body.
I realised that my body will never look perfect. There will always be someone who thinks I’m too big or too thin or whatever. But I can’t waste my life chasing a ‘perfect’ body that doesn’t even exist.
We have far more important things to do in this world, don’t you think?
2. Get good at reminders😍
Honestly? 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.
Body love doesn’t come naturally. I have bad body image days, too. When it happens, instead of beating myself up – I practice body acceptance. That’s right. Body acceptance is a practice, not a destination.
I remind myself often that my body is amazing. Or if that’s too tricky on a particularly tough day, I remind myself that my body may not be perfect, but it’s perfectly fine the way it is.
Imagine your brain is a radio and decide it’s time to change the channel. 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”. Then decide it’s time to think of other thoughts.
Feel not good enough? Remind yourself that you are. Worry that your body doesn’t look right? Remind yourself that there is no right – and move on.
The better you get at reminding yourself (at changing the channel), the weaker your neg body hate voice gets. The longer you practice this, the more you believe it. In a nutshell, this is exactly what body love is, because as one of my favourite quotes says, “Loving your body requires constant practice and frequent reminders.”
3. Follow models with your body 👭
The more reminders you have to love your body, the easier it gets.
Each time I scroll through my social media and I see someone who is confident in themselves, I get another reminder that confidence and feeling amazing is possible at all sizes.
I love following Robyn Lawley, Ashley Graham, Jess Rae King, Kate Was, Bree Warren… and many more. I also love Nadia Bokody, Lizzo, Alex Light, The Birds Papaya and Pink.
4. Consider that you may not see yourself correctly 👀
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).
Simply ask the question: “What if I’m not seeing myself clearly right now?” “What if I don’t look the way I think I do?”
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 be hating on 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. Don’t ever bag out your body to someone else.
6. Do a closet cleanse 👗
As a birthday present one year, my entire family contributed so a stylist could 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 see-through, 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 ‘Explore’ feature on Instagram 🔎
To help boost my confidence and love my body (and myself), I stopped using the Explore 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 after photos 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 the way you feel in yourself, 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, too)
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, traveling – 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 people’s 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”.
I find we’re especially judgemental about the things we are most self-conscious of in ourselves. So notice if you’re constantly assessing someone else’s body, there’s nothing wrong with how they look. It’s a clue to look at your relationship with your body.
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.
If you feel like you need more support to eat healthily without obsessing about food, check out my online program to end emotional and binge eating, Keep It Real.