Feeling Confident and Sexy: 9 Tips for Improving Your Body Image
Research shows that 23 percent of women engage in body checking behaviors on a regular basis, and 11 percent report total body image avoidance. The same is true of 9 and 5 percent of men, respectively.
Do you ever do this yourself? Do you need help feeling confident and improving your body image? If so, listed below are 9 tips you can try today to make a change for the better.
1. Clean Up Social Media Feeds
If you’re struggling with negative body image or having a hard time trying to love your body, your social media usage could be playing a role.
The average person spends 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on social media. As you’re scrolling, let’s say you’re constantly bombarded with images of people who have bodies that are “better” than yours. This is going to affect the way you see yourself, right?
You don’t need to give up on social media altogether to change your body image. However, an excellent first step is to make some changes to the types of people you follow.
Go through your feed and consider the people who show up most often. Ask yourself if following these people has a positive or negative effect on your body image. If the effect is negative, unfollow them or “mute” their posts so that you remain following but don’t see their images in your feed.
At the same time that you’re cutting out certain types of images from your social media feeds, make an effort to diversify it as well.
Follow people who have bodies that look the way yours does, as well as those who have bodies that look completely different from yours. The more diversity you’re exposed to, the easier it is to see that everyone is genuinely different (and that there is beauty in those differences).
2. Dress for Comfort
It’s hard to feel positive about your body if you regularly wear clothes that are too small or that don’t fit well.
Some people hang on to clothing long after they’ve outgrown it because they believe it can be a motivational tool. They assume that if they’re reminded of the size they used to be, they’ll be more motivated to lose weight and attain that size once more.
This often isn’t the case, though. Instead, squeezing yourself into clothes that don’t fit properly just makes you feel worse about yourself.
Clean out your closet and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit right now. Then, replace the items you’re donating or selling with clothing that fits correctly.
When you’re restocking your closet, don’t worry about the number or letter on the tag. Focus on fit and comfort. You’ll be amazed at how confident you feel when you’re wearing clothes that fit your current body, rather than continuing to wish that you were wearing a smaller size.
3. Focus on What You Can Do
For some people, it’s easier to feel confident when they think less about how they look and more about what they can do. Maybe your body is larger than it once was, but is it also stronger or more muscular? What kinds of feats does it help you to accomplish each day?
Remember, you don’t have to limit your thoughts to what your body can do. It also helps to spend time thinking about what you can do in general.
What kinds of skills do you possess? What kinds of talents are you developing?
Your worth is not limited to the way your body looks or what it can do in the gym or on the court. Reflect on your value outside of your body, and you’ll find that confidence follows.
4. Challenge Negative Thoughts
What do you do when a negative body image thought pops into your head? Do you ruminate on it? Do you let it escalate until you’re putting down every single aspect of your body?
Instead of doing this, challenge your negative thoughts and ask follow-up questions. One of the most important questions you can ask yourself when this happens is “Who benefits or profits from me thinking this way?”
The diet industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars. When you think badly about yourself and spend money on weight loss plans or products to try and change that, the industry profits. The businesses that make up this industry need you to keep having a bad body image so that you continue buying what they’re selling.
5. Repeat Positive Affirmations
To take things a step further, try replacing your negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Positive affirmations are positive statements that you can repeat to yourself. Here are some examples:
- “I am worthy of love just the way I am”
- “I am grateful for what my body can do”
- “I am making progress toward loving myself”
- “I love myself the way I am”
Research shows that repeating positive affirmations lights up the reward centers of the brain. It can make us feel good on a deep, chemical level.
Positive affirmations can feel awkward at first, for sure. If you’re not used to saying nice things to yourself, repeating affirmations like those mentioned above might feel silly or cheesy. The more you practice, though, the easier it’ll be to say them (and believe them).
6. Reconsider Your Social Circle
For a lot of us, social media is a primary source of insecurity and body image issues. You might also need to reconsider the people with whom you’re spending time, though.
Do you have friends or family members who always say negative things about their bodies? Do they even speak negatively about your body?
If this is the case, it’s time to talk. Let your friends or family members know that you don’t appreciate hearing negative body talk and that you’d like to focus on other things. If they’re not receptive to your wishes, you might need to create some distance between them and you.
7. Nourish Your Body
In general, it’s easier to have positive (or at least neutral) feelings about your body if you’re taking good care of it.
This means eating nourishing food and, when necessary, filling in the gaps with vitamins or supplements to ensure you’re getting everything your body needs to function properly.
You don’t need to follow the latest fad diet, nor do you have to count calories and monitor every single morsel that goes in your mouth. Instead, aim to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Enjoy fruit or vegetables each day, along with healthy protein sources and whole grains.
Pay attention to how you feel when you’re eating healthfully, too. Are you more energized? Are you happier or less anxious?
When you make these connections between positive feelings and certain foods, it’ll be easier for you to make healthy choices without worrying so much about calories or how much you’re consuming.
8. Move Your Body
In addition to eating healthy foods, make sure you’re also moving your body on a regular basis.
Exercise is essential for reducing inflammation, increasing energy, and minimizing your risk of developing illnesses. It also allows you to focus more on what you can do rather than how you look.
Hate exercise? Think again. There are lots of different ways that you can move your body.
Lifting weights is empowering and helps you to feel strong and confident. You can also take up a fun new workout, like Zumba or barre.
The most important thing, at the end of the day, is that you’re moving. Don’t worry about what the most “optimal” workout is. Do what you love and do it often.
9. Seek Professional Help if Necessary
Some people need outside help to overcome their negative body image issues. If you’ve tried other strategies on your own and are still struggling, you might benefit from bringing in a professional.
Working with a therapist or counselor can help you get to the bottom of your challenges. They can also teach you healthy coping strategies for when you catch yourself having negative thoughts.
It can be intimidating at first to talk to a professional about your struggles. The more you practice opening up, though, the more natural it’ll feel.
Make sure you’re working with a therapist or counselor who specializes in body image issues. They’ll have a better grasp of what you’re going through and how to help. Remember, too, that you might need to talk to a few different people before you find someone who’s a good fit for you and your needs.
Get a Better Body Image Today
Feeling confident and loving your body isn’t natural for everyone. If you try the 9 tips mentioned above, though, you’ll be well on your way to improving the way you think about and carry yourself.
Remember, better body image starts from the inside out. When you take good care of your body, it’s easier to feel positive about it.
Do you need more help feeling healthy and energized? Check out some of the other wellness articles on our site today. This post on botanical supplements is a great one to read next.