Do you despair when comparing the way you look with the way you feel you should look? Do you constantly pick yourself apart and dissect every imperfection? Many people struggle with a negative body image. This can impact your mood, which in turn can trigger overeating episodes. Consider these tips for loving and accepting yourself more.
- Recognize that you are more than your body. Write a list of your strengths and best features, and add to it often. Put a few self-affirming messages ("I'm strong and resilient!") on your bathroom mirror. Having positive self-esteem can help us manage negative thoughts about our bodies.
- Make a list of people you admire — from your parents or children to political leaders or world figures. Do they have perfect bodies? Does it matter? Or are there other characteristics you admire in them? You probably have some of these same characteristics, so give yourself credit for them.
- Exercise regularly. You'll tone your body and boost your self-esteem. In fact, a study showed that women who worked out on a regular basis rated their bodies as more attractive and healthier than did women who weren't as physically active.
- Appreciate the body you have. Think of it as a gift. Recognize all the things your body can do. Show it some respect by eating well and getting enough rest.
- Focus on your health instead of thinking only about your appearance. If you'd like a healthier body shape or weight, set small, realistic goals and work to meet them.
- Surround yourself with friends who don't focus on body size or appearance. Encourage one another to focus on healthy habits instead of appearance.
Choosing to view your body in a positive light — no matter how flawed you're used to seeing yourself — is important to your weight-loss success. To feel good about what you're accomplishing by improving your health, it helps to feel good about your body.