Have you ever listened or watched an interview with a sexy, totally-in-shape celebrity try to sound more humble by complaining about their bodies? When someone who is obviously thin moans about how “fat” they feel (so annoying!), it can really mess with your self image to hear this nonsense.
We asked an array of health and wellness experts their best advice for fostering a more positive self image to help you outthink the negative. Get ready to change your mindset!
Kimber Simpkins (Author of 52 Ways to Love Your Body)
To feel better about your body, find movement your body enjoys. You’ll show up for movement you love and you won’t have to force it. Never make exercise a punishment. A well-loved body gets the movement, food, and rest that helps it to feel happy and healthy.
Frances Largeman-Roth (Registered Dietitian and Author of Eating in Color)
Whenever I get down about my body’s imperfections, I try to refocus and think about how much my body has done for me and given me, from my three beautiful children to countless races and Spin classes. I find that coming from a place of gratitude helps me appreciate my body as it ages.
Torrey Newman (Founder of Fierce45 in Denver)
The best tip I can share is twofold: 1) Try not to compare! We are such a critical-minded society and always wanting what we don’t have. Instead try to look inward and be grateful for all that you do have. 2) Remember this mantra: “I am not my body, I am not my thoughts.” You are much more than that.
Nancy Donahue (Co-Founder of BelleCore Fitness)
I was anorexic back in my modeling days (Donahue was a supermodel back in the oh-so glamorous 80s), so I am always careful to monitor my thinking and NOT go back to that. Instead of depriving myself of food, I seek out new ways to get stronger and have competed in over 100 Olympic triathlons and six marathons.
Jen Ator (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and Fitness Director at Womn’s Health Magazine)
Talk about yourself like you’re talking about a best friend. This is a big one. And it goes for your internal conversations and thoughts about yourself, as well. While it’s fine (and good!) to have high standards for yourself, women can often be self-critical to a point of diminishing returns.
That “tough love” no longer serves a positive or motivating purpose. So think about how you would respond to a friend if they came to you and said “Oh, my workout was awful today. I’m such a slacker!” or “I look so horrible in these pants. I’m so fat!”
Likely, you’d be encouraging, positive, uplifting; you’d help them see the bigger picture, and to focus on something awesome about themselves. Now try doing the same for yourself!
What are your tips for gaining a better body image? —Margo