For seven years, I believed I needed to lose weight and change my body to increase body positivity. I thought I would become more positive towards my body if my body just looked better. Unfortunately, because of this idea, I lived in a way where I just existed. I was always on a strict diet. I tortured myself with endless cardio workouts. I stood in front of the mirror multiple times a day, picking apart everything I believed to be wrong with my body. EXISTING. Does any of this sound like your current life? If you said yes – I see you, and I get it. Because ohhh my gosh, I've so been there. But I am not anymore, and you do not have to be either!
What if I told you your life didn't have to be like this? You can accept your body without needing to lose weight!
From 5 years of struggling with every eating disorder in the book to an additional seven years of yo-yo dieting, I have figured out a way to finally be free of that treacherous cycle. I have a few tips that helped me increase body positivity, and I want to share them with YOU. So here are three easy things you can do today to take one step towards accepting your body!
Are you ready to begin living your life?!
These tips will allow you to finally accept your body so you can return to living your freaking life! Regardless of how far from body positivity you are, here are the most helpful tips to accept my body once and for all!
Step One: Increase body positivity by Exposing the Hate
If others' opinions didn't matter, would you still cover up those areas of your body? Here's the thing, when we cover up the parts of our bodies that we are insecure about because we fear others' opinions, we give those opinions power. We are giving others control over our acceptance of our bodies. And I mean, how twisted is that?! The only person who should control the approval of your body is YOU!
One of the best ways to increase body positivity is to expose what you hate. This idea does not mean I am saying you have to do a complete 180 and break out that bikini, but start with baby steps so you can stop giving those parts of your body so much power.
Step Two: Accepting your body stems from focusing on what your body DOES rather than what it looks like
After exposing the hate, keeping the negative thoughts out of my mind felt never-ending. I was beginning to reveal my legs a bit here and there, which was progress, but I still struggled with body positivity. Whenever I caught a glimpse of my legs in a mirror or a window reflection, I couldn't stop my mind from automatically going into negativity about my legs. What helped me increase body positivity was not reciting positive affirmations about my legs but describing everything my legs allowed me to do that day. By focusing on what my body allows me to do rather than what my body looks like, I found being positive towards my body a bit easier.
Whatever body part you struggle to accept, ask yourself, “What has this body part allowed me to do today?” Whenever a negative thought arises, instead of trying to recite a positive affirmation, what if you try replacing that thought with “today my __ allowed me to __.” Just notice how that shift in perspective helps break down the hate.
Step Three: Body Positivity will come from Letting go of Assumptions.
When I began accepting my body, I noticed I was holding onto many assumptions related to my view of my body. I realized to increase body positivity, I had to understand where the lack of acceptance was coming from. When struggling to accept your body, assumptions you are holding onto usually trigger the body hate spiral. Here are five common beliefs that keep you from accepting your body and how you can overcome them.
- My life would be so much better if I just looked like her.
This thought is fueled less by your body and more by the belief that you are not enough. Therefore to break down this assumption about your body, you must break down that belief about yourself. When was the first time you believed you weren't enough? Where in your life have you felt like you were not enough? What would your life look like if you thought you were enough?
- If I looked better, people would be more interested in me.
The old saying goes, “how can you expect others to love you if you don't love yourself first?” This quote is said repeatedly because it is ultimately behavior and personality that attract others to us. However, when we break down this assumption, we realize people who are uninterested in us have nothing to do with our appearance – and everything to do with our behavior.
- My partner would be much more attracted to me if I lost this weight.
Ask your partner what it was that attracted them to you. If you are in a healthy, secure* (key point here) relationship, I bet you nine out of the ten things they list will be about your personality. And, of course, there's that one cheeky comment about your sexy legs, bodacious booty, or a cute smile.
I don't know about you, but looks only go so far when it comes to attraction for me. So why do we think it is any different for our partner? Remind yourself that what will attract your partner is not the weight loss but more confidence, more independence, and more of you as YOU.
- My appearance is responsible for what has happened to me in my life.
This assumption is highly toxic because it puts you in a victim mentality. This mentality makes you believe you have no responsibility for what has happened to you, making you a victim of your mind. The problem is that many of us don't realize this is what we do when we engage in this assumption. The best way to break out of this victim mentality is to take responsibility for what is happening to you rather than blaming others.
- If I gain weight, people will think something is wrong with me.
We all want to feel accepted. However, sometimes we allow the opinions of others to mean more to us than our ideas – which, as you probably know, is a lonely place to live. Therefore, to break through this assumption, we must start by letting go of our care about the opinions of others. We can do this by keeping things in perspective, letting go of perfection and toxic people, setting boundaries, and learning how to be our friends. As they worry about others' opinions, this assumption will also start to fade.
If you are struggling with body image, let's try exposing the hate, focusing on what your body does for you, and dropping the assumptions you are making about your body.