1. Commit to the process …
Congrats, you’ve already started! By reading this far, you’ve acknowledged that you need a change in how you feel. Now you’ve got to admit you have a negative relationship with your body and you want a positive one. Say it out loud and mean it.
Understand that as you go down this path, there will be times you may slide backwards. It is okay to have bad body-image days, everyone gets them. The key is to admit it, then tell yourself something you do like about yourself on that day. Don’t dwell on the negatives.
I said it will take time to reach a point where you feel good about your body. Don’t allow yourself to stop the learning process or you will end up where you were yesterday!
2. Changing your body won’t make you happier …
Women who undergo plastic surgery may feel happier, for a while. But soon enough they will find another flaw that makes them want to change their body again.
Looking a certain way won’t make you feel any happier if you don’t fix what is on the inside.
This idea comes from our insecurities, thinking if you were thinner more people would love you, accept you or not judge you. If you were more beautiful your man would pay more attention to you.
Remember that Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Garner are beautiful women, and they were all cheated on.
Some people do judge us based on physical attributes, but we can’t control the way they think. We can control the way we think. Is it worth trying to fit into someone else’s narrow definition of beauty? Or would it be better to adopt a new thought pattern that let’s you feel valuable the way you are. I think you know the answer to that.
You deserve love and acceptance as you are. Ignore and cut out the people and messages that tell you different.
3. Stop judging others …
If you judge others based on their physical characteristics, stop right now! You are telling yourself that someone’s body is a valid method of measuring their value. How can you believe that and learn to love your body at the same time? You can’t.
Everyone deserves to be loved and valued based on their merits, including you.
4. Stop comparing yourself to others …
When you compare yourself to other women, you create reasons to hate your body. Comparisons make us feel inadequate, which leads to unhappiness, so why do it?
Your body is uniquely you and doesn’t deserve that type of disrespect. No one is perfect, not the model, not the girl on social media who’s life looks amazing, not the TV, movie or rock star you love.
You are living in the only body you will ever have. Accept that and learn to love it rather than wasting time hating it because you don’t look like someone else.
5. Stop wishing your body was different …
The next step in learning to love your body is to stop wishing yours was different. Keep reminding yourself these thoughts aren’t helpful and that your body is perfect just the way it is. Again – looks do not equal happy.
6. Don’t allow body negativity to cloud your vision …
If you’ve been having body image problems for years, it’s a good chance you are not be seeing the real you. Your mind is focusing on things it doesn’t like and neglecting to step back and look at you as a complete person.
So when you find yourself thinking you look fat, or ugly, or insert a problem here … know that chances are you aren’t seeing yourself clearly.
That is one reason boudoir photography is so popular when women have negative body images. It allows them to see themselves through the eyes of another. The experience can be empowering and life changing if you are ready to accept and love yourself.
7. Change your inner narrative …
We all have an inner critic that loves to tear us down and make us feel bad. But that is all it does.
Hating your body won’t make you any thinner or healthier and it certainly won’t make you happier. Allowing the inner voice to play these thoughts in your mind makes it hard to love your body, so let’s change this!
The next time you hear the inner voice say something negative, tell it something positive you like about yourself. If it says: “Your thighs are fat,” you could respond with “but my legs get me where I need to go and let me do what needs to be done. Plus, my smile rocks!”
Change the critic into a voice of compassion and you will be one step closer to embracing your body with love!
8. Accept your body as it is …
A key step on your path is learning to accept your body as it is right now. At this point you may not find yourself beautiful and may not be in love with your body, but that is okay. Those things aren’t as important as treating your body with respect.
Realize that no one’s body is perfect. That isn’t a flaw, that is nature. Realize everyone has some body issues, that is human nature. There will always be people who judge, but that is their problem.
You can’t spend your life trying to mold yourself into “perfection” because it doesn’t exist. Once you reach one goal, you’ll find another and another.
Along the way you will continue to beat yourself up. So accept the fact you’ve got what you’ve got and it is time to make the most of it.
9. Clean up your social media feeds …
Every time you scroll through social media and you see a celebrity or model that looks skinny and glamourous, it takes a toll. Exposure to unrealistic body types lowers your self-esteem.
How do I know they are unrealistic? I am a boudoir photographer. I photograph models and real women. From my experience, I can tell you that models are real women that don’t look like you think they do. They experience the same self-doubts you do. Maybe more.
If you are following anyone that has you look at their photo and wishing you looked like that, or makes you feel bad about yourself – stop following them. You may not believe they are doing any harm, but trust me, they can affect you.
What you feed your mind everyday is important. You don’t need comparisons or bad feelings about your body getting in.
10. Follow social media accounts that show realistic bodies like yours …
If you are heavy, follow people who are also heavy. Follow people in your ethnicity, or age range. Seeing people who look similar to you being confident, doing things, looking happy, having fun and looking sexy will help you feel better about yourself.
11. Forget the scale …
Weighing yourself makes you obsessed with your weight. It is going to fluctuate, that is natural. Some days you will like the number, other days you won’t. Weighing yourself has nothing to do with your health, so ditch the scale.
12. Appreciate your body for all it does …
I touched on this when we discussed changing your inner voice narrative. You can learn to love your body by focusing on what it can do instead of its’ appearance.
Every day tell your mind and body how much you appreciate the fact it lets you get around. The fact that you can walk, run, exercise, cook meals, hug your loved ones, do things for yourself, and the list goes on. Your eyes let you read, your voice lets you talk, your ears let you listen, your nose allows you to breathe.
The more you tell yourself what you appreciate about your body, the sooner you will learn to love your body for all it does in your life.
13. Get to know your body …
In order to have a relationship, you have to get to know someone. Learning to love your body means getting to know your body better.
One way to do this is to slow down and experience your physical self with an exercise called a body scan. You start by closing your eyes and breathing deeply to relax. Then you focus on various body parts to see how they feel.
Start by focusing on the top of your head and work your way down your body. As an example, when you get to your neck, is there tension? Stiffness? Is it relaxed? Is your throat moist or dry? How about your shoulders? Your arms?
At your butt, is what you are sitting on comfortable? Hard? Soft? Literally go through every part of your body to examine what it is doing and how it is feeling. Being more in tune with your body allows you to start feeling more comfortable in your skin.
14. Make your body feel good …
Start a new habit and do something that makes your body feel good each day. It might be giving yourself a hand massage or using a vibrator on sore muscles. It may be slipping on a comfy robe. You might find a face mask refreshing, or taking a bath instead of a shower.
By making your body feel good, you teach your brain to associate positive feelings to it. So show your body some love and you will learn to love it over time.
15. Use your senses …
Don’t just make your body feel good, allow it to make you feel good. Go places that allow you to see beautiful things. Listen to music to hear beautiful sounds that perk up your mood. Taste delicious things. Our bodies allow us to feel pleasure, so make use of it and your brain will start to realize how important the body is to your well being.
16. Do something different …
Challenge yourself to do something outside of your comfort zone to see your body in a different way. Consider exploring new places, hiking trails, bungy jumping, sky-diving or even a boudoir photoshoot.
17. Practice sensual dance …
Dance is a powerful method of reconnecting with your body. When you are alone, put on a song that makes you want to move. Then give your body permission to do what feels good and right. Allow it to express itself freely.
Don’t judge the movements, feel them, experience them. Breathe and think about the way your arms, legs, hips, torso, neck and head are moving. What emotion are each of them expressing?
Dance is a combination of stress relief, emotion and exercise. It will allow your mind and body to become one and further develop a positive relationship to each other.
18. Make exercise fun …
The word fun isn’t often associated with the idea of exercise. Let’s reframe that association to body movement that makes you happy. If you enjoy workouts, you will do them. If they feel like a punishment, you will avoid exercise at all costs.
We know that exercise can increase our energy, reduce stress and provide a variety of health benefits. So find an exercise program you enjoy and do exercise to help keep you healthy, not change the way your body looks.
Fun exercises may include:
- rock climbing,
- horseback riding,
- martial arts,
- Wii fit,
19. Change the way you look at yourself …
When most people look at themself in a mirror or a photograph, their eyes go straight to the least favorite parts of their body. They wonder how “that” looks. This is a negative thought pattern that needs to be changed.
From now on, make it a conscious decision to look for something positive that you can like when you see yourself. Look in the mirror and notice how shiny and smooth (or curly) your hair is. Look at a photo and notice your friendly smile and bright eyes.
When you start to look for the positive, it will change the way your thought patterns feel about your body.
20. Redecorate your body …
When you don’t feel comfortable, you don’t feel confident. So redecorate your body with clothes that make you feel both.
Buy clothes that fit you now, not the body you want to have. Ignore the size tags and look for pieces that fit and look good on you. The better you look, the better you will feel about yourself.
21. Get help if you need it …
When you hate your body, learning to love your body can be extremely difficult. If you struggle, reach out to a professional therapist who can help guide you through this journey. They can support, provide advice tailored to your needs and help you when you fall.
Learning to love your body again will take time. There will be ups and downs. At times you will be fine and others you will find difficult.
If you have to, let go of the idea of loving your body and focus on learning to accept your body as it is. That doesn’t mean you won’t take care of it, but trying to love your body when you aren’t ready adds guilt and shame to the equation that you don’t need.
Focus on the positive aspects of yourself, because I know you have them. You read this article and that means you want to make positive changes in your life.
I believe in you.
Ready to start planning your Boudoir Experience?
I would love to chat with you and go over all the details of our process, sessions and what you are wanting to create so we can plan the perfect boudoir experience for you.
Ready to chat NOW?
Text me at: 410-596-4127
Office Hours are Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm.
You may also email me at: email@example.com
Or just fill out this form and I will be in touch ASAP!