When I was pregnant, I was so proud of my tummy shape and silhouette that I felt like a goddess. I wore clothes that showed off my new figure and carried myself with aplomb. But once my daughter was born, that hubris began to fade. I fell into a depressive state and lost my desire to look in the mirror. I knew I could exercise and eat better, but I wanted immediate results. I wanted to wake up one morning and instantly like my body more. I wanted to feel like a goddess again.
I assumed this would be impossible, but it turns out learning to like your body, even if just for a moment. is easier than one would think. Boosting body confidence is all about altering that inner monologue that says you aren’t pretty (which you are, BTW). Controlling the way you feel about your body means controlling how you look at your body, and not the way your body looks. (Which, might I add, is awesome.) Every woman has days where she feels down about her body, but the trick is to pull yourself out of that slump with a few exercises – the kind that don’t require you to go to the gym. Here are 12 simple ways to start liking your body more right now, because your figure deserves some serious praise.
1. Make A List Of Attributes
Even if it’s just a few features to start, acknowledging your attributes is a great way to start the body positive journey. According to Nia Shanks, leader of the Lift Like a Girl campaign, positive self-talk is a huge step to gaining body confidence. And don’t be afraid to get specific. Sure you love your legs, but why? Is it because they pushed you through a 5K? Or maybe because they look hella good in those gold high heels. By seeing these traits on paper and saying them outloud every day, you will soon transform the way you see yourself.
2. Get Naked
Loving your body in clothes is wonderful, but loving it when it’s not tucked into waistbands and hidden by fabric is even better. You don’t have to make a big deal out it either. Just drop the towel while you’re doing your hair or lose the pajamas while snuggling in bed. Being comfortable with your body in its most natural form is a great step towards building confidence.
3. Follow Empowering Hashtags
Instagram influences our food and fashion choices, so why can’t it change our confidence too? Social media can be a big component in building a better body image. So next time you’re down on your looks (or even feeling great about them), search the web for some body positive hashtags. Seeing how others love themselves could inspire you to do the same.
4. Do What Feels Good
Don’t let social norms stop you from doing something that makes you feel good. If you love the way you look in a certain cocktail dress, then by all means, wear it to the grocery store. Take me for example. I work from home, but I feel a million times better when I put on my makeup and jewelry, and get dressed as if I’m heading to the office. Who cares that 75 percent of the time I’m chasing a toddler and working on a Cheerio-covered kitchen table? I feel good, and that’s all that matters.
5. Take A Selfie
It may seem self-absorbed, but snapping pics when you’re feeling fierce can really boost your ego. You don’t have to actually post them anywhere – just keep them on your camera for days when you’re feeling less than fabulous. This way, you’ll have a reminder of just how amazing you actually look. My own camera roll has several pictures of me in my workout clothes because I like the way my legs look in them. And I’ll be damned if someone tried to tell me otherwise.
It’s no secret that music elevates your mood, so why can’t it increase your confidence?. Swinging your hips and shaking it off without abandon can make you feel amazing, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
7. Have More Sex
You already know that your partner digs your body, so why not drive them even crazier by loving your body just as much? Having more sex not only increases your overall well-being with all of those endorphins, but the more you see your partner enjoying your body, the sexier you will feel.
8. Treat Yourself Like You Treat Your Friends
Would you tell your BFF that her arms were too big? No. So why tell yourself that? Practice the Golden Rule on yourself, and the positive thoughts will quickly more to the front of your mind.
9. Borrow The Words Of Others
There are so many great positive body image quotes that can help build your confidence. Chant them, write them on your mirror, or add them to your growing Pinterest board. Whatever it takes to remind yourself that you are beautiful, no matter what you say (yes, that is a Christina Aguilera quote, and it’s worth writing on your wall.)
10. Find The Beauty In Your “Flaws”
I know from personal experience that this is one of the tougher tips to execute. I have stretch marks galore and there are days when I feel so utterly depressed by them that I don’t even take my shirt off during sex. But when I’m trying to empower myself and love my body, I trace those stretch marks and remind myself that they are there because I grew and gave birth to an incredible daughter. What’s more beautiful than that?
11. Tell Friends To Stop Body Bashing
You’ve probably endured your share of venting sessions that focus on body flaws. And, to be fair, it’s not always a bad thing. These sessions serve as a reminder that everyone has body image issues. But to love your body, you need to surround yourself with positive talk. Make a pact with your friends to end the body bashing once and for all. If you all really want to discuss your bodies (though why would you when you have so many other things going on in your life), focus on the positives instead.
12. Make A List Of What Your Body Can Do
So maybe you can’t run a marathon, but you can hold some of the most complicated yoga poses and bench press 150 pounds. Focus on all of the things your body can accomplish, even the stuff that seems mundane to you, like the ability to lift your sleeping toddler, a gallon of milk, and a suitcase out of the car alone. Your body is incredibly strong and you should never feel like it’s not doing enough.
13. Remember Who’s Listening
My daughter is one of my main motivations for staying body positive. And for a good reason. A study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that a mother’s concerns about her own body can cause body image issues in her children. So if I want my daughter to be a confident girl who’s comfortable in her skin, then I can’t let her hear me bash my own body. In praising my appearance, she learns not only what about positive body image is, but how to have one herself.