It’s not our fault that we can grow up with a negative body image. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that values thinness. It constantly tells us that we need to change our body, so we start engaging in behaviours, mostly destructive and unrealistic. This means that are brains are so caught up with our body image that we don’t have any space or energy left to pursue other things which means that we miss out on moments in life. And then we can't sustain these behaviours, we feel worse and more miserable and the cycle begins again.
Body image is something I have struggled with most of my life, and I never believed I could have body peace. But I now I do, and I want to share with you the top 10 things that helped me achieve body peace so you can feel better in your body right now.
1). Respect your body
Body respect is different from body love. It is hard to love our body, and it can be unrealistic for some of us to go from having a negative relationship with our body to one of love. Having good body image doesn’t mean we have to love our body, but what we can do instead is accept and respect it. This means treating our body with nourishment and kindness. It means letting go of the negative self-talk and behaviours, so we can live our lives in happiness, and do the things we want to do. Once we start respecting our body, we can be more present and enjoy life
2). Know there is nothing wrong with your body.
Always remember that there is absolutely nothing wrong with your body. It may not be what we want it to be, but it’s your body, it belongs to you and it deserves respect and kindness. What can you do today to treat your body with kindness?
3). Be grateful for what your body can do.
Each day I wake up and I am grateful that I am breathing, and that I can get out of bed easily without any pain. I am also thankful for everything that my body has done for me, despite everything I have put it through over the years. I am also grateful that I can walk dance and swim freely. Make a list of things that you are grateful for about your body.
4). Know that body weight or size is not an indicator of health.
The BMI is not an accurate scale. It is is simply a tool that divides weight by your height (squared). It was only designed to monitor the trends in populations over time. It was not designed to measure health. In fact, the old BMI scale was previously 27 for the “overweight” category and was reduced to 25 in the 1980s. This meant hundreds of thousands of people who were a “normal” weight suddenly became “overweight” overnight.
Recent studies further support the inaccuracy, a meta analyses study conducted in 2013, looking at death rates from BMI found that those with a BMI of 25-30 (the “overweight” category) had the lowest death rate, and those in the “obese” category (25-30) had the same death rates of those in the “normal” BMI category . Sadly, it is still used as a measure of health today.
5). Have a wardrobe clear out
Have a wardrobe clean out and donate any clothes that don’t fit any more. Holding on to these clothes, or trying to squeeze into them, just make us feel worse about ourselves and causes us stress every time we open our wardrobe. Once you have a clear out, you will feel free and liberated I promise! This also means you can go also shopping and buy yourself new clothes that make you feel comfortable.
6). Let go of the comparison
Comparing ourselves to others causes us emotional pain. Instead start to focus on all the things that make you who you are. We are all unique and respecting our body means appreciating everything single thing about us, including our flaws, as these are the things that make us who we are. How boring would the world be if we all looked the same? Let’s celebrate our uniqueness and individuality.
7). Change the negative self-talk
How many times have we found ourselves in front of the mirror listing all the things about our body that we don’t like? Reframe our negative thoughts and challenge them when they arise. For example, rather than, “I hate my thighs”, reframe the thought that these thighs enable me to walk each day.
8). Practise BODY POSITIVE positive affirmations.
Affirmations are statements about the way you perceive yourself in any moment of time. A negative affirmation is, “I’m not good enough”, whereas, a positive affirmation is “I am honest, loving and kind”. Writing and reciting body positive affirmations will change your negative thoughts around body image, the more you practise the more you will change those perceptions.
Here are some of mine to help get you started:
“My body deserves love and respect”
“My self-worth is not defined by my body”
“I am good enough just the way I am”
“I respect and accept my body”
“I am so much more than my body”
9). Let go of the idea that you need to change your body.
Instead focus on treating it with nourishment, kindness and respect. This means decreasing stressful behaviours in life, getting enough sleep and resting when your body needs it. It also means nourishing it with gentle movement and food. Never forget you are enough just as you are.
10). Follow body positivity accounts on Instagram.
Have a total social media refresh and unfollow any accounts that promote unattainable body images and any accounts that make you feel rubbish about your body. Instead follow body positive and diverse body types. Start seeing the beauty in all bodies and know that all bodies are good bodies.
If you would like some support in achieving body peace so you can finally be free to live your life the way you are meant too, then you can download week of my Nourish Me intuitive eating and wellbeing program here.
1), Flegal, K.M., et al., Association of all-cause mortality with overweight and obesity using standard body mass index categories: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA, 2013. 309(1): p. 71-82.