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Alex Allan Nutrition
By Alex on 18/07/22 | Lifestyle Tips

Ways to Restore Body Confidence

How often do you look in the mirror and criticise the image reflecting back at you? Or look at a recent photo and inwardly cringe at your arms / legs / bum / tummy?

Chances are...this happens quite regularly.

But what do you think your friends or family would say if they looked at the same photo? Would they criticise, or would they be more likely to mention how much fun you looked like you were having? How great your hair/skin/clothes looked?

We can be our own worst enemies when it comes to negative self-talk. Having objectivity and focusing on the good points is something that many people just don’t do. I’ll bet you promise yourself that the next diet will be the one that works, that if you could only lose a stone life would be so much better...

The reality is that feeling good is not a number on the scales or a smaller dress size. It comes from within, and no amount of weight loss will change that. If working on turning your inner critic into your biggest cheerleader is something that you need help with, then read on. I’ve put together a series of exercises to restore your body confidence and help you feel fantastic every day.

How to learn to love your body

Throughout history, and across different cultures, body shape has always been a determiner of attractiveness and desirability and is often linked to wealth, health, and status.

The rise of social media has made it easier than ever to compare yourself unfavourably with others and lead you to aspire to a way of looking that is unrealistic and unattainable for the majority of people. No wonder you are so dissatisfied...

In 2020, the UK Government’s Women and Equalities Committee conducted a survey on body image and found that 61% of adults and 66% of children feel negatively or very negatively about their body image most of the time.

Women spoke of needing to feel thin and curvy, while men expressed a desire to be taller or more muscular. Children as young as 11 gave ‘images on social media’ as being the thing that influences them the most, perhaps not fully understanding that these are often photoshopped and edited.

Does this sound familiar?

Learning to accept your body just as it is

You may not love your body right now, but even if it is not your ideal, it is important to accept your body for how it is. Constant negative thoughts and criticism will not only make you feel worse, but also make you far more likely to rebel with ‘what difference will it make?’ thinking. If you wouldn’t say it to your friend, then don’t say it to yourself.

Positive reinforcement is much more effective - if you use kind words and praise when you think about your body, you are much more likely to succeed in your health goals.

So next time you catch yourself focusing on your ‘worst’ bits in the mirror, switch your view to the bits you like best instead: start redressing the balance.

What can you do to improve your body image?

Mirror work: Look at yourself in a mirror for a few minutes each day. Work up to accurately and honestly describing each part of your body - but using no negative words. Stop the exercise if this happens and return to it the next day. This is all about creating an acceptance of your body for how it is now.

Wear clothes you look and feel good in – store or throw away anything that doesn’t fit.

Don’t weigh yourself more than once a week (less if possible).

Avoid influences which continuously push the ‘ideal’ and encourage you to compare yourself. Look for healthy, inspirational social media feeds to follow instead.

Use positive self-talk and affirmations to reinforce and support yourself. You can be kind and honest to yourself - what would someone who loves you say to you? Be your own supporter and you are much more likely to succeed.

Start being your own superfan

It’s all too easy to focus on how you look, without giving any time or energy to other areas of your life. So, let’s take a minute to think about your other strengths – do people tell you you’re an amazing cook, a wonderful mum or a great colleague? Are you incredibly organised, the life of a party, or always there for your friends?

Everyone has their signature strengths, strengths that are a unique combination. Take a little time now to think about three things that you really like and admire about yourself.

  • What three things do I like and admire about myself?
  • What do I consider to be my greatest strengths or personal characteristics?
  • What would a friend or family member tell me is the best thing about myself?
  • What do I do well that other people might not even know about?

Whenever you hear your inner critic starting to whisper negative thoughts, focus on these three things (from the exercise above) instead. Rehearse them regularly and they will start to be part of the way you think about yourself.

Reminding yourself of what is great about you provides the right balance to support lasting change.

Would you like to know more? Contact me for my full guide with exercises to help you restore your body confidence. I’m here to help.

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