Body image. It’s not something we love to talk about – it’s way easier to talk about the latest diet we are on – but it’s something that most all dieters are struggling with.
I’ve struggled with it myself. I spent 15 years dieting, all because I wanted my body to look a certain way. I thought I had overcome that hurdle, but I struggled with it all over again post-pregnancy, and realize that I still need to work on it on a daily basis. The problem is, we’ve been told and shown for so long what “beautiful” is (via media outlets), that we have a hard time loving ourselves if we don’t fit into the mold.
So today, I reached out to the experts for their take on body image and confidence. These five experts work in the health and wellness space, and in their own unique ways, teach women to love their bodies.
Read on, and get some inspiration on how you can love that beautiful body of yours on a daily basis.
My question to the experts regarding body image & confidence:
Having a strong body image is something I myself and many women struggle with on a daily basis. What is one thing you do everyday to allow you to love your body as it is and be totally confident in the skin you are in?
I’m definitely on the positive body image train, and I love this question because it truly is a practice of self-acceptance. We can’t expect to wake up one day and have things be perfect. Our negative thoughts will inevitably creep in, and it’s about learning how to handle them when they do rather than trying to avoid them completely. This has become even more evident to me now that I’m pregnant. My body is evolving by the day, and I’ve learned to embrace every additional curve, stretch mark, and dimple of cellulite with love rather than judgement. One thing I love to do that helps tremendously is journal. By writing down things I’m grateful for every morning and things that went well for me every night, I’m engraining positive thoughts consistently and creating less space for those negative thoughts, body image related or otherwise. I was never one to journal until I tried it, and it’s been life-changing!
Amanda Morgan, Nutritionist, Creator & Blogger of Healthy Wifestyle
I listen and connect with myself. What do I need right now? Am I hungry? Am I full? Do I want some ravioli or some greens and fish for dinner? Do I want to walk, go to a yoga class, run, rest, write? For me, it’s all about getting to know yourself and your body and honoring what comes up. And when I do that – listen and honor what my body truly needs – I FEEL good in my body. It’s a very simple concept, but it takes practice, especially when you’ve been living with a dieting mindset for a long time. But I’ll tell you it’s worth it.
Corinne Dobbas, Dietitian & Life Coach, of CorinneDobbas.com
First off, we have to recognize that “loving our bodies” and “having confidence” are not necessarily the same thing—and we have to expand our definition of “body-love” to something bigger and deeper than confidence itself. Loving our bodies—having a relationship with our bodies—starts with recognizing that our bodies are living, breathing, human beings; perhaps the single most important human beings in our lives.
I actively try to think about my body and talk about my body the way that I would any other person in my life that I love. That doesn’t necessarily mean *never* having a negative thought about my body…but it does mean recognizing my own humanity and acting accordingly. I think improved “confidence” can be an outgrowth of this shift in perception, but ultimately, “confidence” is an entirely separate conversation altogether.
I’m never totally confident… but I will say that every day I tell myself that I deserve to be good to myself.
Rebecca Scritchfield, Author of Body Kindness
As I was thinking about this answer, I found myself thinking of the toxic things I have removed from my daily life. Like I won’t even read mainstream women’s magazines while I’m getting my nails done anymore. Refusing to look at that stuff is a gift I give myself. Also, I remember for years while I was dieting I would wake up each morning and my first thought every, single day was “I hate this body.” And one of the most wonderful gifts I have ever given myself is freedom from that one thought that mawed at my soul. I’ve recently begun asking myself daily, “What does Virgie want?” It’s weird, but somehow putting it in the third person makes it easier and clearer to answer. I have been encouraging my clients to ask themselves, “How would my life look today if I believed that I was precious?”
Want my answer?
Most recently, I struggled with my post-pregnant body, which was not “bouncing back” like I hoped it would. About five months post-pregnancy, I got a stomach infection, lasting over a month, that made it hard to eat anything, let alone anything with flavor. After that month, I realized I need to be thankful every single day for the amazing things my body can do, rather than being mad at her for not being the size I wished for. My body can do amazing things – like digest food on a regular basis! My arms can hug my husband and baby! My legs can walk around this beautiful city I live in! Reminding myself on a daily basis that my body works in so many amazing ways makes it a lot easier to love my body. I need to be nice to her so that she stays healthy and allows me to do what I want to do, just like being nice to a loved one.
As for confidence? Like Rebecca said, I’m still not totally confident. But loving my body on a daily basis and reminding myself to act 100% true to myself and my beliefs allows me to be a (generally) confident woman.
Do you also struggle with body image and dieting? I’m hosting a 3-day Food Freedom challenge that teaches you to love and appreciate your body and enjoy food as it should be enjoyed. Click here to join us, it’s free.