*Originally posted at TeamBeachBody.com on March 10th. Written by Maria Bertrand*
Did you have a nickname growing up? Mine was Chicken Legs. And let me tell you, it made me feel less-than-special. I had a complex about my legs and, being skinny, that stuck with me for years. But, as I got older, I realized how unimportant that nickname was. I realized that you cannot validate yourself on what others say about you.
I’ve worked around the world as a runway, lingerie, and fitness model and I can tell you that even the women you see on billboards have struggled with their body image – myself included.
We tend to be our harshest critics. We compare ourselves against the bodies of others and judge ourselves for not measuring up to our ideals. In doing so, we can do a number on our self-confidence. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthier or desiring to achieve a certain look, but don’t beat yourself up on your journey there.
It’s time we start loving ourselves, and our bodies more. Here are 11 tips to help you do just that.
1. Make a List of Positive Things
Write down at least 10 things you like about your body and who you are. This could include your eyes, the silver streak in your hair, your strong calves, your kindness, or your sense of humor. Then take a picture of the list with your phone and save it so you every time you’re feeling not so hot, you can take a look at it.
2. Focus on Improvement
When it comes to your body, focusing on what you think is a problem area is just going to make you feel worse. Once you’ve acknowledged what you want to work on, focus on ways to improve and what you’ve accomplished so far.
3. Get Rid of the Negative Nancys…
When you start to feel better about yourself, some people around you might not be comfortable with your new attitude (or look) and they could start to get a little…mean. If these people are meaningful to you, we don’t recommend dismissing them out of your life entirely, but if you can, try to distance yourself from them or chat with them about why they need to stop.
4. …And Find People Who Motivate You
There are so many people out there who are inspirational. Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Beachbody.com, whereever! Feed off their positivity and let them motivate you. You probably even have some positive people in your life, get out there and spend more time with them!
If you’re finding yourself heading towards an emotional ditch, get moving. Stat. Go for a walk, Press Play on a Beachbody workout, just move. Doing so will help the endorphins kick in and help your brain get back on the right path.
6. Wear Clothes That Accentuate Your Shape
Wearing baggy clothes can make you look bigger than you are. Instead, dress in ways that flatter your body type using these tips. And, ladies, make sure to get a bra that fits properly. An ill-fitting bra can make even the best outfit look less than stellar.
7. Talk to Yourself
This one might feel a little hokey, but especially if you’ve been engaging in negative self-talk (“My stomach is too big,” “my nose is ugly,” “I don’t like the size of my hands,” etc.) it’s important. The next time you look in the mirror, I want you to say (or at least think) something positive about your body or your features. Can’t think of anything positive? Fake it until you make it. Even though it doesn’t feel genuine, forcing yourself to be positive will get your brain moving in a healthier direction.
8. Pamper Yourself
Do something kind for your body. My go-to is a long, hot bubble bath. But you could enjoy a massage (which after all the working out you’ve been doing is going to feel incredible), relax in a sauna, try a new haircut, or get a manicure (guys – this one isn’t just for the ladies). By taking some time for you, and doing something that makes you feel physically great, it’ll help you’ll feel emotionally great too.
9. Help Others
One way to take the focus and pressure off of you is by helping others. Volunteering or helping a friend in need feels good and helps you connect with others in your community or with those you care about.
Not only does smiling look good on the outside, it actually releases endorphins that make you feel good on the inside. When I really want my smile to pop, I throw on some red lipstick or gloss to make my pearly whites look even whiter.
11. Accept a Compliment
When someone gives you a compliment, receive it graciously. Responding to a compliment with something self-deprecating is not only negative, it also strips the joy away from the person giving it to you. Accept the love you’re getting. You deserve it.
P.S. My new nickname–thanks to the short shorts and funky knee high socks I wear when I hit the gym–is Sock Girl. I like this one much better. Find your inner Sock Girl and don’t be afraid to be different and be you.