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5 Ways to Boost Your Body Confidence
How do you feel in your own skin?
Feeling body confident comes naturally for a small percentage of people, but for most of us it's a struggle. Despite the fact that people come in all shapes and sizes, we often feel self-conscious or awkward in our own bodies.
So what do the body-confident do, and know, that the rest of us don't?
Read on to find out.
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Test your body confidence
Before we look at what causes low body confidence and what you can do to boost it, take a moment to assess where you're at:
If you've answered yes to any of these questions, your body confidence needs a boost in some way.
1. The Hollywood connection (and how to disconnect it)
According to a Body Shop campaign slogan, "There are three billion women who don't look like supermodels and only eight who do."
And yet many people still strive to look like the unattainable “norm” that is represented in the media. Of course, most models and celebrities are far from normal – they are at the extreme end of the spectrum, where air-brushing, cosmetic surgery, and personal trainers are standard tools of their trade.
Measuring your own physique against these impossibly high standards of the media is damaging to your body confidence. However, it can be very hard to escape the influences when they're all around you. You have to find ways to disconnect.
Disconnect it: To minimise the impact of media perfection, you need to learn to disconnect. Remind yourself daily (and whenever you feel jealous of a billboard babe), that media images of beauty are not real. You are. You’re alive, breathing, thinking and being, and that’s beautiful. You might never be an image on the cover of a magazine, but why would you want to be? Redefine “the body beautiful” in your own mind.
2. Psst! What’s in your past?
Let go of your childhood labels
Most people were teased in some way as a child, but some carry the scars around for longer than others.
If you were teased for being fat, or even just “affectionately” referred to as “Chubs” or something similar by your friends and family when you were young, then you may never have shaken off that label. It could be making a significant difference to how you feel about your body now.
Let it go: Deal with the labels of the past by realising they came from outside, perhaps from people who were too critical or unaccepting, or just plain insensetive. To let go, you need to disown those fictional labels and negative images from the past. If you are trapped in a childhood or teenage image of yourself, it's time to develop your adult sense of who you are.
3. Accept yourself as you are now
You may have felt unaccepted as a child and been unable to change that, but as an adult, self-acceptance is within your control. Have you ticked your self-acceptance box lately?
When Jodie Cook, a 29-year old mother of two, decided to lose weight, she knew she needed to change more than her appearance:
"I also had to address the way I felt about myself - fat or thin I need to like who I am."
Accept yourself: To be body confident, you need to decide to accept who you are now, whether or not you need to lose weight. From this acceptance, your body confidence will grow. Jodie explains how she developed self-acceptance.
"I began to keep an eye on my self-talk and gradually began to replace negative thoughts with positive ones." Jodie explains. "I stopped calling myself a 'fat pig' if I enjoyed a piece of cake occasionally, and began to compliment myself on the things I was achieving instead."
Follow Jodie's lead and stop being overly critical of yourself. Start to compliment yourself instead of engaging in negative self-talk. Value your body for its good points instead of dwelling on the things you think are wrong with it.
4. Look after your body
Be good to yourself
Eating too much of the wrong types of food, drinking too much, smoking, not exercising and not taking care of your appearance are guaranteed ways to drop your body confidence.
Turn it around: To increase your body-confidence, you need to take good care of yourself every day. Nurture your body and mind with healthy food, moderate exercise, and adequate sleep.
Doing things that say "I care about myself" can be an incredible confidence booster. Try a new haircut, buy a nice item of clothing. Pamper yourself with bubble baths and body scrubs. Compliment yourself and learn to recognise your achievements with non-food rewards. Although these aren’t magic answers to your esteem problems, even the smallest of steps will lead to a more positive outlook.
5. Think outside the body
Who says the size of your thighs is a measure of your worth?
You are more than just a body, but if you focus only on your body, it's all too easy to forget about the rest of life. But if you think outside your body and involve your mind and emotions in concerns other than how you look, you'll find that the overall confidence that builds in those areas will trickle down and boost your body confidence too.
Have outer-body experiences! To boost your body-confidence, take an interest not just in how you look, but in how you act, think and feel. For example:
If you can be confident in general, it's easier to be confident about your body. A confident person doesn't constantly seek the approval of others, has realistic expectations, is postive about who they are, and, most importantly, accepts themselves. Your challenge is to do the same!
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Last updated: February 15th, 2007
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