This was written by Kelli Cooper of Crossroads Plus Size Dresses.
Living in a culture that places such a high value on appearance can be difficult. Adding to this difficulty is the fact that we are promoting a standard of beauty that literally does not exist as photos and advertisements are so heavily airbrushed they cease to be pictures of real people and turn into computer-generated images with a real person serving as the inspiration. We all have our physical features that we may feel self-conscious about and wish were different, but for many of us, our body image is highly distorted and causes us a lot of mental anguish that affects our quality of life and in some cases, negatively impact our health through the pursuit of unhealthy habits to look a certain way. Here are some ways to improve your body image and feel more comfortable in your own skin.
Do Not Weigh Yourself Obsessively
If your body image issues stem from thinking you need to lose weight, constantly checking your weight will exacerbate your issues significantly. Think how your mood affects how you view yourself and your life from one day to the next—nothing may change in a 24-hour period, but one day you feel great and love yourself and the next day, you are filled with loathing. Constantly weighing yourself will surely put you in a sour frame of mind and seriously distort your image of your body. If you are trying to lose weight and need to gauge your progress, do it only once a week or once every two weeks.
Engage in More Positive Self-Talk
We engage in an inner dialogue all day long and much of it is filled with criticism and judgment, of others and especially ourselves. Everything starts in the mind and you can change the way you feel about your body and your appearance by changing how you talk to yourself. All of this self-love stuff might make you roll your eyes, but it works. Commit to giving yourself at least three compliments every day—you can say them out loud or in your head, it does not matter. It does not necessarily have to be about your physical appearance, it can be about anything that makes you feel better about yourself, whether it is your sense of humor or helping nature.
Focus on What Your Body Can Do, Not What It Looks Like
We certainly take our bodies for granted; they are just there and we do not give much thought to how miraculous they really are. We spend way too much time criticizing them and not nearly enough in awe of all the amazing things they can do. By developing a greater appreciation for your body and all its functions, you will view it in a more positive light, even if you may not be 100 percent happy with how it looks. I assure you that if you woke up tomorrow unable to walk or missing one of your arms, you would give anything to go back to the days when cellulite or your slightly too-big nose was the worst of your body problems; the trick is developing that appreciation while everything is still intact and focusing on the wonders is a great way to do that.
Focus on What You Can Change and Accept What You Cannot
When it comes to making changes to your appearance, you have to learn to distinguish between what you can change and what you cannot. If you are more big-boned, you need to accept you will not be a size 2; you cannot make yourself taller or shorter or make your feet smaller. If you could stand to lose a few pounds, that is something you can work with. Getting some new clothes that flatter your shape and reflect your personal style can do wonders. Some make-up tricks may help make your small lips look bigger or your big nose look smaller. By shifting your focus towards things that you can do something about, you will boost your confidence and focus less on the things that you cannot do anything about.
Surround Yourself with Positivity
We take in information all day long that determines where we put our attention, how we view things and how we feel about ourselves and the world at large. If you want to improve your body image, spend more time around people who make you feel good and happy; avoid toxic people and try to change the subject when your friend who is always obsessively dieting starts talking about how she hates her thighs or how many calories she ate today. Stay away from television shows that focus heavily on appearances, such as ones that discuss celebrity fashions and involve ripping apart their appearance. Ditch the fashion magazines.
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