But did you know that body image issues start early? In fact, children as young as five express concerns about their bodies (source: Common Sense Media).
However, we don’t come out of the womb feeling this way. Body image issues begin in the mind, emerging over time as we’re influenced by external factors including culture and the media.
So there is hope. We can learn to rewire how we view our bodies and ourselves.
To get you started, here are 7 practical tips to show your body more love today – and every day after.
From airbrushed ads to photoshopped images, we’re bombarded with unrealistic body standards every day.
But now they’re not just on magazines and billboards. They’re in our phones and on our computers. #Bodygoals are flooding our social media feeds. And in turn, fuelling unhealthy thoughts.
That’s why it’s crucial to unfollow any people who make you compare your body with these unrealistic ideals (Kim Kardashian, we’re looking at you!). Also, try to unfollow any accounts that use your insecurities to sell their products or services – particularly beauty and fashion brands.
As a rule, if they post messages that imply you aren’t good enough as you are, unfollow.
Instead, curate your feed with body positive people, such as @bodyposipanda, @kellykkroberts and @miafreedman. Also check out @i_weigh – a body positive movement to help us to feel valuable and see how amazing we are beyond the flesh on our bones.
Who holds onto clothes that fit the ‘other you’? The one who can squeeze into smaller clothes that’ll one day, someday fit.
We’re all guilty. But this practice isn’t empowering. It’s destructive and deflating. Plus, it only prolongs your body acceptance journey. By clinging onto clothes that don’t fit, you’re more likely to feel sad and unworthy.
It also makes a loud statement to yourself: I can’t accept my body as it is right now.
Acceptance is the first step to self-love. So why not pack up your unwanted clothes and donate them to those in need? This might actually make you feel good about yourself.
Whether you hiked the Dandenong Ranges, ran a 20km race or gave birth, your body has done some spectacular things.
The phenomenal feats our bodies can – and have – achieved is something we should all celebrate more.
To do this, grab a pen and piece of paper and list all the amazing things your body has done. We’re sure you’ll feel proud of how powerful your body is. You may even start to view it in a different light.
Ah, scales. The most controversial bathroom appliance.
While stepping onto the scales is a morning ritual for some, it can create anxiety and obsessive thinking in others. That’s why it’s essential to reflect on your personal relationship – and weigh up whether this practice is helpful… or harmful.
If the scale is a source of agony, store it away. Or get rid of it altogether. Research also advises against adolescents regularly weighing themselves, as this negatively impacts their mental health – especially for girls (source: PubMed).
But for those choosing to engage in healthy self-weighing, remember: scales give a limited snapshot of your health. They don’t capture how strong and sensational you really are.
‘You’ve put on so much weight! You should start dieting.’
‘Oh why do you look so gross and tired today?’
‘Those jeans look terrible on you.’
Would you utter these words to your nearest and dearest? Of course not!
Yet so many of us say these self-destructive comments to ourselves – over and over. This in turn feeds unhealthy thinking patterns.
But it all starts with your self-talk. And you can begin changing it today.
Try this: each time you have a thought about your body, consider whether you would say this to someone you care about. It might be the rude awakening you need.
Sometimes, we need to see it to believe it. That’s why sticking positive body affirmations on your mirror can be a powerful way to transform your thinking.
Positive affirmations can plant healing thoughts in your mind – and help rewire how you view yourself. This can help you develop more confidence in your body.
Some statements to get you started include ‘I love my body as it is today’, ‘I am grateful for my body’ and ‘I feel strong and confident in my body’.
So find your closest Officeworks, fill your basket up with pastel-coloured post-it notes and get writing today.
Your body does a lot for you. But rarely do we give it the appreciation it deserves.
An easy way to correct this is by saying ‘thanks!’. The practice of saying ‘thank you’ is powerful. In fact, it can even be life changing.
But don’t just believe us – look at the research, which affirms time and again that gratitude is key to a healthier wellbeing (source: Psychology Today).
So how do you incorporate gratitude into your daily routine?
Well, start by putting away your phone around bedtime. Instead, use these quiet moments to reflect on the positive aspects of your body, including your good health.
Before you go to sleep, simply say ‘thank you’.
If you’re having body image issues, a psychologist can help. Call 1300 955 636 to book a consultation with one of our caring psychologists today.