In my recent Instagram story I polled the community to see if you struggle with body confidence over the summer, and a whopping 90% of you said yes! The truth is, I’m not surprised because I have struggled with body confidence issues for a large part of my life – so I totally get it! I am here to share 8 proven practices that you can begin to apply today to start improving your confidence in your body. I guarantee these practices work because they are the tools that helped me fall in love with my body and they have also helped thousands of women in my coaching programs.
Body shaming and feeling uncomfortable in your own skin seems to be a little worse in the warmer months. Summer means shorts, uggghhh… anyone else hate shorts? And bathing suits can make it feel like you are basically out in your bra and undies. No pressure right?
For the past 10 years I had my body confidence in check after years of working on myself, daily practices, journaling, affirmations etc. However after my Cookbook was released I put a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself to be perfect. In crept old negative, not so great habits and I found myself in a place I never thought I would return to. I am sharing this because I want to be honest and real. I know it is not easy, and I know it doesn’t happen overnight. But over the past two months I have done the work (see tips and practices below) and I am so much happier in my body. This translates into more confidence in the way I look, feel, show up, walk, act and dress. That is one of the main reasons why I am really excited to share this information with you, I want you to fall in love with your body and the way you look today and always. I want women to stop saying negative things about themselves and see their true inner glow.
So……What if you could shift the way you feel in our body today without losing weight or changing whatever it is that has you feeling less than in your skin? Poor body image can have a huge impact on your quality of life. A few negative thoughts can lower confidence levels, cause you to withdraw from social situations, and can possibly lead to depression. Negative body image isn’t something that should be taken lightly however it’s so common for women to come together and complain about their bodies. It’s time to change the conversation!
Honestly, there is no way we can truly live the life we want to live when we feel self-conscious about the way we look. That is why I am so passionate about sharing things that help me improve my body confidence, because it truly changed everything! It changes the way you carry yourself, the way you walk in a room; you become happier now in this present moment and stop waiting to be happy when “I just lose 10 pounds” or “get rid of my love handles”. I want women in all shapes and sizes to just love themselves today, exactly where they are. Because you are you, flaws and all — you are perfect. The flaws make us who we are and honestly, wouldn’t you rather be you?
It has taken me a long time to learn that I was enough. For years, I thought if I just “weighed this much”, then I would be happy. The truth is I lost the weight, and then some and it didn’t make me happy at all. In fact, I felt worse because I reached my goal and didn’t find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Through my journey I have learned that to be happy in my body was a choice, and it was one that only I get to make. It’s not always easy to decide and jump all in, I get it…..that’s why I wanted to share some tried and true practices that helped (and still help) me to overcome my body image hang-ups and allow me to feel confident in the way I look today and every day. I hope these tips help you as much as they helped my clients.
1. Change Your Mindset & Your Vocabulary.
Begin to pay attention to the thoughts you think and the words you speak. Our thoughts are the most powerful tool we’ve got because they create our reality! The liberating part is that YOU have the power to change your thoughts, which ultimately works to change your life. Most people are unaware of how the thoughts they think effect how they feel and show up each day. What do you find yourself saying when you think about your body?
Practice: Get a journal and write a list of all the things you think right now to be true about yourself and your body.
This one really helped me! Like I mean write everything, it’s a brain dump without any judgment or second guessing yourself. Review your list. Next, get out two pieces of paper, and on one page write down everything that was positive on your sheet. On the other, write down everything that was negative. See which list is longer. This next step is really transformative. Now, beside every negative thought or comment I want you to find a way to turn it into a positive one and add it to your list of positive thoughts. For example: “I hate my love handles” could be changed into ”I love my curves and so does my husband”. Take your positive sheet and place it somewhere you can access it easily. As soon as you notice a negative thought creeping in replace it with a positive one. You will be amazed at how this exercise can really begin to improve the way you think about your body and consistently improve your self-talk and ultimately, the way you feel.
2. Get Inspired & Empower Yourself.
Do some daydreaming here! What does the best version of you look like? Truly, what would you do? Eat? In what way, and how much would you exercise? What does your dream day, and dream bod look like?
Practice: Write out (or talk n’ text into your phone) your ideal day from the moment you wake up all the way to your bedtime routine. Next, envision yourself going through your perfect day; how do you look and feel? Write it all down again.
Look at your list, and choose right now, today, one thing you can do to move yourself closer to this ideal day. Then, schedule it. Schedule it into your calendar today, and every day this week. It’s amazing what can happen when we focus on what we can do to be happy & healthy instead of focusing on what we are lacking. Next week pick another thing to add to your calendar. Then choose another. Do you see where I am going with this?
3. Change Your Limiting Beliefs.
To do this, you must first of all identify your biggest obstacle when it comes to loving yourself and your body. What excuses are you telling yourself? Ask yourself what is holding you back from being happy in your body? Dig deep and be completely honest with yourself. This is another exercise working towards shifting your mindset and empowering your choices in life. Common limiting beliefs that I hear often are:
– I don’t have enough time to (exercise, cook, eat healthy etc.)
– I don’t know how to (cook, exercise, fill in the blank).
– I will always be overweight, too tall, too short, too curvy, not curvy etc.
– Eating healthy is boring and tastes awful
– I don’t like exercising (healthy food, fill in the blank)
This is just a small list to show prime examples of the ways we hold ourselves back.
What does this have to do with body confidence? When we move our bodies, for example. we feel better, when we feel better we tend to be happier, when we are happier we have more positive thoughts, when we have positive thoughts we have a better reality. Do you see the ripple effect? And sadly, the ripple can spiral in the opposite direction too. I will show you another example because I find real life experiences help me learn. You want to work out but you “just don’t have the time”. You believe your limiting belief, become upset that you don’t have the time and so you didn’t get your workout in again, which leads to a feeling disappointed or maybe even guilty or ashamed, which can lead to feeling worse about yourself and feeling unhappy.
Can you see how finding and overcoming your limiting belief is SO helpful in feeling happy today in your body? So much work to be done here, right?
Practice: Write out your biggest limiting beliefs without judgment.
Use my list or Google other examples that fit you. Now, which one of these barriers is most impactful in holding you back? If “lack of time” is on your list I would lovingly suggest tackling that one first. Next I want you to write out 5 reasons why this statement is NOT true. Truly look at creative ways to prove yourself wrong with an open mind and heart. This investment is for you and your happiness, and although it is hard work, it does make a huge difference, I promise!
Here is an example to inspire you:
I don’t have time to cook healthy food or exercise.
5 Reasons this is not true:
1. I watch 1-2 hours of Netflix each night. If I have time for that then surely I can find time in my schedule to exercise, or perhaps I can ride a stationary bike, lift weights, or meal prep while I watch.
2. I spend over 1 hour a day scrolling through my phone. I guess I could limit my time on my phone and find more time to do mini preps or workouts. I know even a 10 minute walk outside makes me feel better.
3. I need to sleep in until the last possible minute every morning because I’m always tired. Theoretically, if I woke up 1 hour earlier to get my workout in before I go to work, or I could walk with the kids after dinner, I know that eventually I would have more energy. You get the idea look at your schedule and plug it in, because it’s a priority to you.
4. I take care for so many people; I have no time for myself. I will now check my schedule and see what things I could perhaps say no to so that I have more time to exercise, invest in cooking, ultimately saying yes to me and my goals for happiness. This is a big one for all of us, but some people are managing it! Say no to things that you can say no to, and don’t overbook. Schedule time for you in each day – it’s a non-negotiable meeting with yourself, so don’t flake out.
5. Asking for help means I’m weak. (Geez, this one should a number one for all of us.) We all value community, and tapping into yours will make it stronger! New belief: I could ask for help! I could ask my neighbour to watch my kids Monday so I could hit up that fun dance class and I can offer to watch her kids Tuesday. I could make a home gym, sign up for an online workout program, hire someone to help me cook, get my husband to help cook or watch the kids so you can do what you need to do.
I honestly ask for help ALLLLLL THE TIME. I use to power through and think “I am super mom, I can do it all”, and really all it lead to was me feeling exhausted and running on fumes. There is no way you can show up as the kind of person you want to be when you feel that way. Asking for help is a game changer.
Do you feel more hopeful and inspired to find time for you? The idea is that if you make it a priority you will find the time to make it happen. The more you do it, the easier it gets. The easier it gets the happier you feel because you are nourishing your mind, body and soul.
4. Practice Gratitude.
Again this is nothing new or something that hasn’t been said before, but I find it’s a great reminder of the impact this practice can have on your body image and confidence levels. Having a gratitude practice is one of the most powerful ways to positively impact your life. When you focus on the things that you are truly happy and grateful for you begin to feel good emotions. Those emotions can improve your mental health and can improve your self-esteem. All it takes is a commitment to spending a few minutes practicing this each morning.
Practice: In your journal each day write down 5-10 things that you are truly grateful for in that moment.
Next write down 5-10 things that you are grateful for when it comes to your body. This practice is so important. When you do it daily you will find yourself looking in the mirror and seeing all of the things that you love instead of criticizing the things you dislike.
Example: I use to hate my legs because they are larger than most women’s so I would say mean things, I have turned it around by saying “ I am so grateful for my strong legs allow me to run well which is a thing that I love to do and it makes me happy”.
5. Act The Way You Want to Feel.
This idea came from Gretchen Rubin’s book “The Happiness Project”. Decide the way you want to feel in your body and than act as if you are actually feeling that way.
It’s amazing what that alone can do for your confidence and happiness; both choices we get to make daily. Sometimes we forget this or we let the world (or other people) drag us down. By the way, I highly recommend her book – I want to live a happy, inspired life and one of the ways I achieve this is to continually work on myself and read inspirational material. Identify what means the most to you and work on surrounding yourself with it. Bring all of these habits into your life one at a time. It won’t be long until you don’t need to “act” anymore; you will be that person.
Practice: In your journal answer the following questions:
How do you want to feel in your body and in your life? What do you need to do to show up as this person? Start doing it right now.
Examples: here is a few examples of what works for me – smile more, say please and thank you, be kind always, sit up taller, be grateful (I love to say the things I am grateful for when it comes to my body see tip from part 1), walk with confidence, dress for success to name a few. I have a good friend who truly changed her life with this technique. She once read a quote, something about, “She wanted to be a beautiful girl, so she became one.” This woman was a Mom, and always put everyone else first. She felt rundown and resentful. Instead, she wanted to be graceful, at peace, and elegant in addition to being loving. So she started to imagine herself as this. Gradually, she started taking better care of herself in all ways – drinking more water, eating better, saying no when she didn’t want to, or couldn’t, take anything else on and got enough sleep. She smiled and made eye contact, she held herself in a calm manner, and most importantly, she didn’t put herself down ever again. Read that again and let it sink in. To her amazement, she became graceful and elegant and people started to remark upon her beauty. Same woman; different beliefs about who she wanted to be.
6. Stop Scrolling The Socials and Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People.
Seriously you guys, stop comparing yourself to others. There are so many crazy apps, filters and professional photos that can easily make one feel less than if you allow yourselves to go down that rabbit hole. Do you want to focus more on rocking your sexy a%% self or focus on how other people are living their life? Really hoping you all said “rock my best self”. What’s that saying, “energy goes where attention flows”? Pay attention to yourself and how you want to feel and start acting as if you are that person and slow watch the magic happen.
Practice: Find ways to limit your screen time. Set a timer before you start scrolling. Maybe delete addictive apps or move them off the home screen, turn off notifications, put your phone out of reach or eye sight. Also make a promise with yourself that you will stop comparing and focus your attention on doing you. Be too busy living your own life and listening to your own inner voice instead of comparing yourself to others. Learn to recognize those negative comparison tapes that play in your head and get the journal out or go for a walk, but put that phone down!!
7. Find A Movement That You Love.
Honestly, I don’t even like to use the word exercise because it sounds like work. I love to use the expression “how am I going to move my body today?” It sounds hopeful and fun. Moving your body releases neurotransmitters that make you happier. This is proven science. The problem is that all too often we define “working out” as “going to the gym” or “running” and if you hate these, or had a terrible experience in high school gym (who didn’t?) you can see why it’s hard to stick to a workout routine. Instead focus on finding something you LOVE to do. Something that makes you FEEL REALLY GOOD. If you haven’t found your thing yet, it’s all good – Just keep trying new things until something clicks. It doesn’t always have to be a workout either, simply find a way to move your body daily.
One of the reasons moving your body improves your body confidence is that not only do you feel better in your body, often times you might feel proud, or strong in your body. You might also experience a sense of pride, happiness, gratitude and other positive things so add it in your schedule daily.
Practice: On Sundays, plan out your week and schedule in time for moving your body. Yesterday, was Saturday and the weather was perfect. I didn’t want to run so my movement was playing water tag with my kids, it was fun, made me feel good, and oh man, was it a cardio workout. As with all of our new practices, brainstorm in your journal – make lists. Ask fit friends how they do it. I guarantee you, they had to start somewhere too and work up to where they are today. Have courage, and move to the next practice below.
8. Be Your Own Bestie.
When you look at your body in the mirror what do you see? What do you say? Would you ever speak to a best friend that way? If the answer is No, why would you be that unkind to yourself?
Would you bail on your friend for a workout or whatever? No, then don’t bail on yourself. Would you trust the friend that always bails on you? No, you totally would think that they were a flake. So stop flaking out on yourself and your goals for feeling happier and more content in your body today. Show up for yourself, commit to doing what makes you happy, what makes you feel really good. Take the time to invest in you. You are in control of how you feel and how you choose to live your life. Take the time to ask yourself what you want. Take the time to ask yourself who you are and how you want to feel each and every day. Spend more time doing things that elevate your life, nourish your soul and leave you feeling empowered.
Practice: Love yourself today right now in this moment.
You are a beautiful human being that deserves to be happy, confident, and so loved. A great tool for this is a Body Confidence Mantra like this one: “I love my body as it is today”. If this mantra doesn’t work for you, then find or create your own and say it daily. I mean, several times a day. Fill your passport with stamps of affirmation on this journey to body confidence. I’m on this journey right alongside you.
Writing this blog post just made my heart happy and I hope you felt the same way. For years I told myself I was a terrible writer and would not write because I thought I was awful at it. That changed slightly after I wrote my first cookbook, and I realized I had to write. I also realized that I wasn’t as bad as I thought and in my experience the only way to get better is to do start. Right now, I am truly grateful for being able to share my voice, ideas, thoughts, struggles, successes and just helpful information with others. Writing this made me feel good. Sharing the tips I used and still use daily to work on my body confidence and my happiness leaves my heart feeling inspired. I truly hope these tips help you. I love this community so much and I want you all to feel that love, and truly always commit to loving yourself right here, right now.
I would love to know what you think of these tips if you find them helpful. Please feel free to share a tip that works for you in the comments below, I would love to hear. If you found this article helpful, and it would mean the world to me if you could share it with someone you feel would enjoy it.
Now go, grab your journal and pick a practice from the post (or from part 1) that resonates with you the most and write it down. Practice. Repeat. Smile and just love yourself.
I also wanted to take a quick moment to thank you for being hear and reading this, I never thought of myself as a writer. This blog was just my way of sharing my love for healthy eating and recipes with all of you. I am now also really excited to also share my voice and experience on how to lead a inspired, healthy, happy lifestyle too. Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article or these tips, and as always sharing is caring – if you know someone who would benefit from this blog post please share.
Thanks again friends this community is truly the best. You all have no idea how much you motivate and inspired me to keep going and work harder. I so appreciate you for being here and for doing the inner work to find and feel self-love daily.
In love and light,