3 Tips for Improving Body Confidence Print

Body confidence booster

By Jana Spindler (Eating disorder Dietitian and online Nutritionist helping support dieting recovery, self-love and body confidence).

Jana Spindler Calgary RD at the gymHow many times have you heard someone you care about picking apart their body?

“This is too big”, “that is too small”, “so lumpy here” or “bony there”.

Too many times!! The problem is we all have heard these comments and they are far too common. Maybe you were even the person saying these things.

How often have you overheard your friends and loved ones saying really positive things about their body? Unfortunately, this is rare for most. It can almost feel awkward to be that person who is happy with their body, because we have made it so normal to not be.

I want you to be obnoxiously confident in who you are! I need you to be okay in the body you have.

The way you talk about your own body affects your mood and your confidence. If you consciously choose to say or believe good things, or even neutral things about yourself as a person and the body you live in, you are going to feel better about yourself.

Many of us want to feel better about our body. I hope that we all want to feel our absolute best in our body.

The issue we see time and time again, is that most people believe that I will be happy when my body looks like “X”. But critiquing and picking apart the body doesn’t get us there.

You cannot hate your body into change. Hate or disgust or dislike is not a strong motivator! And the not-so-secret? If that is your method of motivation? There will be no end point, there will always be something to work on and improve and you may end up stuck only looking at your body through a negative lens.

How do you start learning body confidence?

Here are 4 of my tips for improving body image and learning to be okay with your body:

1. Find your neutral zones or body parts and focus on those (catch & re-direct)

    • Do you have strong feelings about your forearms? How about your skinbones? Or your earlobes? … Probably not. There are at least a few physical places on your body that you do not hate. Try to think of at least 2-3 of your own.
    • Better yet, find some places that you like!
    • Once you have that place, try paying attention to it next time you are looking in a mirror or walking by a reflective window. “Forearms, forearms, forearms” or “Check out my forearms today!!”
    • Likely, this will feel very awkward at first. You are probably used to looking at the places you wish were a little different, and finding yourself down the rabbit-hole of negative self-talk. But if you can focus on your neutral or positive places, or even re-direct to those locations when you catch your thoughts being more negative, this magical thing happens. You don’t go down that rabbit-hole. Ideally, you smile, at the very least you stay neutral, and likely, once you move away from that mirror, you can go about your day without even thinking more about your body.

2. Take care of yourself in a way that makes you feel proud

  • Remember how I said hate is not a good motivator? Well it turns out that being proud of yourself, is a much better motivator. Feeling good, feels good!
  • Now just to be clear, this does NOT mean doing everything perfectly. What I mean by this, is making conscious choices and taking care of yourself in a way that serves you best in that moment. Can you slow down, and ask yourself, what do I need right now? What would make me feel my best?
  • The best part of choosing what serves you best in that moment? Is that there is no guilt, you chose something and you rock that decision proudly.
    • Some good examples of this are:
      • Getting enough sleep. Try setting an alarm to remind you to start getting ready for bed.
      • Choosing what you want to eat. Make a decision and own that decision. I know that usually, I feel best when my meals are balanced with a starch, a vegetable, a protein and a fat or flavour.  But there are times, when I look at what I thought I wanted, maybe I had even meal prepped it, and I decide that I want something totally different. And that is okay. That could mean wings and beer with friends or breakfast for dinner or whatever I really want in that moment.
      • Joyful movement. Move your body in a way that you actually enjoy. Don’t do it just because you “should”. Now, I am a gym rat and I enjoy lifting weights, but there have been times when I went to the gym, starting my workout, and decided that that was the last place I really wanted to be. So I left or I decided to stretch and relax instead. That was what my body really needed in those moments.
      • Choosing to stay home and relax instead of a busy night out with friends when you are already tired.

3. Develop mastery

  • Do things that you love whether that is movement, adventure, art, music, or simply making memories with friends and family. Practice appreciation for what you can do, instead of focusing on what you look like doing it.
  • If you don’t feel like you have something that brings you joy, then find something! And yes,finding something new may take a few tries.
  • A new skill such as: speaking another language, crocheting, playing a musical instrument, learning photography, painting, or writing
  • A new activity such as: going to a trampoline park, going for a hike, try the monkey bars at the playground, or learn to slack-line
  • The goal of developing mastery in a new or current skill, is to re-learn to appreciate what your body can do.
  • Practice acceptance.
    • Let’s be honest. You really don’t have that much control over how your body looks and the size. So much of your physicality is out of your control.
    • I didn’t have a choice to be tall or not. I didn’t have a choice in my eye color. I didn’t have a choice in my body frame size. I just am.
    • Here is the thing, I don’t need you to love your body, but I do need you to start accepting your body and learning to be OKAY with it. Sometimes, it is the practice of radically accepting that there are some things that we cannot change, so why spend our time and energy focused on those things. We don’t have to love them, but we need to waste less time thinking about them.

My final advice to you, is the old saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” And specifically, I mean this in terms of your self -talk of your thoughts and how you speak out-loud about yourself.

Looking for more support on body confidence and eating?

If you are seeking support to help you feel more comfortable with your body and improve your relationship with food, Jana can help. Jana specializes in helping with weight issues, emotional eating, and recovery from a long history of dieting and weight loss attempts. Jana is a very well respected Calgary eating disorder dietitian by many psychologists in the city. She can work with you in person at our Calgary office or as a dietitian online as a personal nutritionist for eating disorder recovery such as anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder. As a past competitive athlete and sports enthusiast she also has a passion for working with athletes. As a Calgary sports nutritionist she can help with performance eating plans and establish a healthy relationship with food to complement your goals in sport or the gym.

For more information about our Calgary nutritionist n services and virtual nutrition coaching with our experienced Registered Dietitian team visit: NUTRITION COUNSELING or Contact Us.

Jana Spindler

Disordered Eating, Emotional Eating & Sports Nutrition Fitness enthusiast and lover of all things food, Jana is passionate about helping her clients improve their relationship with food and their body. She is a strong, motivational leader. Jana also offers the balance of a warm, supportive coaching style to nudge her clients from their comfort zone while feeling safe and supported. She specializes in mental health, eating disorders, body image and sports nutrition. ...Read more

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Adele Fox, Psychologist
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Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
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“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
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Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
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Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

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I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
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Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

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“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
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I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
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ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
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