3 Tips for Improving Body Confidence
Body confidence booster
By Jana Spindler (Eating disorder Dietitian and online Nutritionist helping support dieting recovery, self-love and body confidence).
How 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.
- Some good examples of this are:
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.
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.
Hello Andrea and Jana,
Thank you for this wise and enlightening advice about body image, a challenge I struggled with for years.
Making the shift from shame to gratitude for the body that has been so kind to me, was cathartic.
Health Stand has been integral in my journey.
I wish every woman (and young girl) who punishes herself with body shame has the opportunity to read this post. Being kind to ourselves is loving and ever so healthy.
I’m 65 and it’s taken me this long to learn this vital truth.
PS – My forearms rock!
Thanks for your note here – we are thrilled that you are moving from body shame to body gratitude. This sounds easy but is difficult to practice and fully anchor so way to go for practicing self-love. We look forward to continuing to support you Lynn!
PS yes your forearms rock!
Thank you so much for this feedback Lynn.
I am so glad that you have been able to work towards that healthier relationship with your body with gratitude and kindness!
Keep rocking those awesome forearms!!