Body Confidence Rocks — Love And Celebrate Your Body

Body confidence rocks, but sometimes it feels easier to focus on the negative aspects of our bodies rather than on all the positive features. You probably know all too well what I mean. It’s incredibly common for people to focus on the minutiae: How much they weigh, how big their thighs are, how many wrinkles they have, how they wish they were taller (or shorter), or now ‘not perfect’ they are in a myriad of other ways than it is to focus on all the things that make them freaking awesome. The reality is that we don’t do ourselves any favors by sabotaging ourselves, and our happiness, in this way, so let’s just stop it. Body confidence rocks, so can we make a pact to love and celebrate your body, and all our bodies, exactly as they are.

Body Confidence — And What Happens When We Are Critical

Body confidence is an important part of living a happy, fulfilled life. When you love and celebrate your body, good things happen. But in far too many instances, we are hyper-critical of ourselves and our bodies, finding fault in any number of ways. This creates negativity and insecurity, which is really kind of establishing a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure. That makes trying to accomplish anything—whether it’s in regard to a desired career move, a healthy relationship, a fitness or strength goal, a weight goal, or any number of other things, really, really difficult.

So instead of allowing self-doubt to muscle its way in, when you can develop body confidence, love and celebrate your body and focus on self-acceptance and self-love, you’re going to be in such a much better place, both emotionally and physically.

Take a peek at some ways to love yourself: On Body Positivity and Self-Acceptance

Body Confidence — Why Is Self-Acceptance So Hard For So Many People?

Why is body confidence so elusive? Why is the concept of loving and accepting your body so difficult for so many of us? Women are the absolute worst at this and I’m never sure why we are so incredibly hard on ourselves. And, it’s sort of a vicious cycle. Even if you get out of bed in a great mood and ready to tackle the day, you step on the scale and see you’ve gained a few pounds or not lost any…and you might feel disappointed. Your skirt might feel a bit too tight and your butt seems like it looks too big in the mirror. Sigh. You read a People magazine or watch a Netflix series and see fictionalized images of people who make their living by being ‘perfect’ and you inevitably compare yourself to them. You ride the train to work and see ads everywhere you look, showcasing society’s version of perfect bodies and perfect lives. Then you get on Instagram and are bombarded by pictures of people living their so-called ‘perfect lives’ with ‘perfect bodies’ never mind the fact that they are most often posed, filtered, and/or photo-shopped—or all of the above. It’s inevitable that you compare yourself to these uber-fake examples of real life, and find yourself wanting. That’s crazy! And yet we all do it, far too often.

But we, and you, have the power to just say no. We can collectively stop this cycle of not quite living up right now, if we put our minds to it. In order to pull that off, we’ve got to stop focusing on the flaws (or the perceived flaws) of our own bodies and start building confidence with a few minor adjustments. Let’s take a look.

How To Build Body Confidence And Love And Celebrate Your Body

You can learn to build body confidence and love yourself more by trying out these tips on how to love and celebrate your body:

Turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Every time you have a negative thought about yourself, kick yo’self—and I mean literally. Kick that negative business right on out of yourself. Then, while you’re still hurting a bit from that kick, get in the habit of immediately looking for the silver lining. Building body confidence is about turning those ridiculous negative thoughts into amazingly positive ones. For example, if you’re thinking for even one minute that your thighs aren’t as skinny as you’d like, think about how doggone strong they are, and how they never, ever fail you when it comes to all the things you count on them to do for you. Arms aren’t skinny enough? Do you think that when you wrap those arms around the person you love, or maybe around your kid, that they are thinking there is anything but amazing wonderful-ness about those arms and that hug? Of course they aren’t. Hips too wide? Well if they managed to give birth to some amazing children, then they are pretty amazing hips, aren’t they? Our bodies are so incredibly beautiful, strong, and perfect in so many ways—let’s focus on those things instead of the nitpicky things that don’t matter in the least. And voilá, body confidence reigns supreme.

Wear stuff you freaking love. I saw a great image on Instagram the other day with a young woman in a gorgeous red dress. In her post, she said “I used to feel self-conscious about my body, but one day I decided the heck with that. My body is awesome and when I’m wearing this red dress, I feel like a million bucks.” Body confidence is so incredibly sexy. Let’s all agree to do more of that, that believing in how beautiful we look when we are wearing things we love and less second guessing ourselves, what do you say? What we wear has such an impact on our self-confidence. So get out that favorite dress, tee shirt, awesome shorts, your favorite pair of earrings, or an amazing hat and WEAR that stuff! Body confidence is easy. What makes an outfit beautiful is you in it, baby—and don’t you forget that.

Focus on eating better. Focusing on eating better can be part of the whole body confidence thing, but it does not mean you need to immediately go on a diet, embrace the Whole30, switch to the Keto diet, do a cleanse—or any of that insanity. If this is part of your path to body confidence, just resolve to pay closer closer attention to what you’re eating. As you make meal choices, it’s particularly helpful to ask yourself just one question: Does it grow like this? If the answer is no, that means it’s likely junk food or some kind of highly processed food. If you can learn to factor as much of that kind of no-value food out of your diet as you can, you’ll find yourself feeling better, looking better, and having a ton more energy. Think also about portion sizes. I found that when I got a kitchen scale and actually got in the habit of weighing out food portions, that I did a better job of eating the right amount of food at the right time. There are lots of little tricks when it comes to eating better, making healthier food choices, and mastering portion control, and you can master that in no time if you want to. Eating better doesn’t necessarily mean being skinnier, it just means that healthy food choices can lead to healthier bodies, and that can play a role in your overall body confidence.

Want more great food ideas? Start by checking out 5 Food Combinations That Pack a Powerful Nutritional Punch

Find what makes you happy—and do it! Part of self love and body confidence means doing things that make you happy, because you deserve it. So if you love to dance, sing, go camping, or get your nails done, find time in your schedule for these activities. I love working out. I decided years ago that I was tired of seeing my workouts go by the wayside as work, kids, and every other thing got in the way. I started scheduling my workouts like I schedule my client appointments, and you know what? I quit missing them because I made them a priority. My assistant did that with ballroom dancing, and today she’s competing nationally, all because she insisted on making time for something she loved in spite of her busy life. Whatever it is you love, whatever it is that makes you happy—do it. And if you find the needs of others, or your job, get in the way, figure out a way to treat yourself like a client—schedule these “meetings” for and with yourself, and don’t let anything get in the way of you making it happen. You’ll be so much happier as a result and your body confidence will be off the charts.

Make a list of your amazing-ness. We all can easily spout off about the things about ourselves we don’t particularly like, but what about the things we DO love? That is the ‘amazing-ness’ that each of us has and something we should definitely recognize and celebrate infinitely more often than we do. I’ll start: I have incredibly long eyelashes, strong muscles, and really, my weird personality and even weirder sense of humor is probably the most attractive thing about me. Oh, and I’m am amazing cook, how could I forget that? Sure, I could be skinnier, have a better voice, have better, thicker hair, be taller, or have a smaller butt, but overall, my amazing-ness far outweighs those things I deem not to be quite as perfect as I’d like.

Body confidence is about amazing-ness. When you find yourself criticizing something about yourself, stop it immediately and instead work on your list of amazing-ness. You’ll find that it’s way more fun to do than knocking yourself, I promise.

Get active. Being active is a lot like a drug, only it’s free. Exercise, whether it’s walking the dog, going for a bike ride, playing tennis, or hitting the golf course, is also a guaranteed mental health break. The physical act of exercise causes the body to release endorphins, which is a lot like a happiness drug, albeit a natural one. And a happy brain means a happy body—there’s nothing about that that’s not awesome. I call exercise ‘my therapy’ and it truly is. The stresses of the day melt away when I make time for a run, my favorite yoga class, or workout with my favorite Pilates teacher who pushes me harder than anyone I know. Exercise is truly the path to body confidence and overall physical and mental health. Exercise can help alleviate anxiety and depression, exercise can help relieve stress, depression, improve memory, boost brainpower, and even increase relaxation, and improve your sleep. Make sure getting active is on your personal priority list—you’ll never be sorry about that!

In fact, yoga has lots of benefits you’ll enjoy: Sleeping Better at Night with Yoga [And Other Things]

So please, embrace the concept of body confidence. Love yourself a little bit more. Love and celebrate your body exactly as it is, without any of the silly caveats or doubts that you might be tempted to let sneak in every now and then. Self-love is the truest route to body confidence, happiness, fulfillment, and leading a wonderful, satisfying life. Sometimes it takes us awhile to figure that out, but the sooner we do, the happier we are. That is my wish for you: That you figure out sooner rather than later how stinking awesome you are, and love and celebrate your body, and yourself, all day, every day.

More sources on ways to love and celebrate your body:

5 Pieces of Advice for Celebrating Your Body with Humor
Indulging, Gratefulness and 8 Other Ways to Celebrate Your Body
12 Ways to Love Your Body Starting Right Now

This article originally appeared on FitFormula Wellness.