A good body image is one of the most important things you can have. A positive body image leads to higher self esteem and self confidence, which in turn lead to greater happiness, closer relationships and more professional success. If you have a poor body image, you’re more prone to low self esteem and low self confidence, and you’re more vulnerable to depression, anxiety and obesity; you’re also more likely to develop an eating disorder and fall victim to one of its associated health risks. Here are some steps you can take to improve your own body image.
1) Stop Weighing Yourself
Weighing yourself daily can contribute to poor body image, especially if you weigh more than you’d like. Weighing yourself every day makes you focus too much on your weight and size, and not enough on how your body feels, how well it moves, how healthy it is and how strong it is. Weighing yourself all too often serves as a daily reminder that your weight isn’t what you’d like it to be. Step off the scale and you’ll find you worry less about your size.
2) Eat Right and Exercise
Eating right helps you maintain a healthy weight, no matter what your body type. If you eat mostly healthy foods and portions, you’ll have no reason to berate yourself for your unhealthy eating habits. If you’re overweight, eating right will help you find and maintain your own ideal weight, which can vary depending on your individual body type.
Exercising regularly increases your physical strength and endurance and helps you learn to enjoy your body for what it can do, rather than what it looks like. Try yoga, tai chi or mindfulness meditation; these disciplines can help to build your awareness of your own body, and they can help you learn to accept your body as it is.
3) Dress to Flatter Your Body Shape
Wear the styles and cuts that best compliment the body you have, rather than trying to dress for the body you wish you had. Wear comfortable clothes that fit well. You’ll find you look better and feel more confident.
4) Avoid Negative Messages About Body Type
Our society is full of messages about body type. Media images portray most women as thin and tall, and men as lean and muscular, when, in reality, few people fit this stereotype. Avoid fashion magazines, movies and television shows that present images that make you feel bad about your own body. If friends, relatives, co-workers or acquaintances tend to make negative remarks about your body or the bodies of others, find a way to ignore those statements, whether it be by talking to the person about your feelings, refusing to acknowledge the comments, or avoiding the person altogether.
5) Focus on What You Like About Your Body
No matter how badly you may feel about your body shape or size, there has got to be at least one thing you like about your body. Maybe you like the shape of your hands, for instance. When you find yourself thinking negative thoughts or making negative comments about some part of your body that you don’t like, replace that thought or comment with a positive one about the feature that you like.