Strut yo’ stuff, you’re amazing! Body confidence is something that many of us struggle with. Negative thinking can be detrimental to how we view ourselves. These 5 healthy tips can help jumpstart you on a path of positive perspectives and confidence in how you look. Because after all, you’re so worth it.
Body confidence isn’t just about the physical part of us, it also has a lot to do with our mental health. Truth is, if you feel good about yourself on the inside, then that is what you’ll mirror on the outside.
I was recently reminded of this and I feel it is something that’s important to talk about. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, we gota talk about the heavy stuff too.
Many of us silently struggle with things like mental health and body confidence, because we live in a world that is obsessed with perfection and how we view beauty.
We are taught that certain body types are ideal and that “everyone” should strive for that certain body. Realistically it’s ridiculous, but many times it’s hard to fight.
So this all came about when I found myself really struggling with how I look.
I was feeling frustrated with myself, if I wasn’t doing a yoga pose the right way or the fact that I don’t eat healthy all the time.
In my mind I began to talk down to myself saying things like, “What is wrong with you, why can’t you just get it right?” or “Ugh, why can’t you just choose fruit over ice cream at night.”
However, I kept going about my daily routine, telling myself I was pulling myself out of it…but I wasn’t.
Things only got worse, I was more frustrated as each day passed, and my negative thinking really took a hold of me.
The Cupcake Debacle
Finally, I realized I needed to take drastic action when I ate a cupcake one day and I found myself thinking, “Well if you didn’t have that you’d probably have abs and now you’re gona have to workout even harder. Why did you have to do that?”
From a cupcake!
I am not one of those people that counts calories or keeps track of every little thing I eat. Having a healthy relationship with food is really important to me. This is why I do my best to keep a balance and listen to my body.
One week I’ll eat super healthy with lots of salads and greens. While other weeks it’s the opposite and I’ll have sweets or a few extra servings of french fries.
Usually I do a good job at going with the flow, choosing healthy options, and giving myself a break.
My goal is to take things slow with my body because that is how it responds best. But that doesn’t mean that my mind always agrees.
Immediately after the cupcake incident I knew things were not ok. And right when I had those thoughts, I knew changes needed to happen ASAP because that is definitely not like me.
I love food! We’re friends not foes.
But how do we help ourselves out of such a downward spiral of negative thinking?
It’s kind of like a tornado you get sucked into and it’s hard to find your way out.
For me, I decided to start by reaching out for help because I realized I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed someone else’s perspective because my own toxic thoughts were not helping.
That leads me to tip #1.
1. Talk About It With Someone
I think it’s helpful to ask yourself if thoughts about yourself make you feel good or bad. Then from there you can make a plan of how to help yourself get out of that tornado.
Talking about our struggles can be so helpful because they help us to get out of our own head.
The next day, after eating the cupcake (which was really good by the way), I asked Eric if we could talk because I had been really struggling with negative thoughts about my body image.
Of course being the great husband that he is, he sat down on the couch next to me and listened to me pour my heart out.
I cried because I felt frustrated. Frustrated that I couldn’t “fix it” on my own and how it kinda crept up on me!
I have been doing so good with my daily exercise, working on self-love, and feeling amazing. Then all of a sudden one day I bash myself over a dessert.
What the heck?!
From The Inside Out
While talking with Eric I realized it wasn’t just about how my body looks. The root of the problem also lies within my negative mentality.
For a couple of weeks I had all these negative thoughts swirling in my head and I didn’t know what to do with them. So they just sat there and festered into a blow out session of me tallying up all the body insecurities I have.
Once I got out of my own mind and talked about it with Eric I could already sense a change in how I felt.
Body image should not come first, mental health should be the main priority.
When you have a healthy mindset that’s when things can change including with what you see on the outside.
From the inside out is when true healing can happen.
Telling ourselves we aren’t good enough, why can’t we look different, what’s wrong with us – all lead to more negative thinking. This directly effects our bodies.
I am so thankful that I decided to talk about what I was feeling and thinking, in a way it kind of set me free to make changes.
I encourage you, talk to someone.
Whether it be your partner, friend, family member, sibling, even a therapist. Sometimes talking to a stranger can be helpful because we fear being judged by those who are close to us.
Whoever you choose make sure it’s someone you feel safe with, where you won’t feel judged, will listen and can help you develop positive perspectives.
You Are Not Alone
It was so helpful when Eric told me that guys have struggles with body confidence too. I think this is another important thing to talk about, it’s not just women but men too. We all have struggles.
I felt like I wasn’t alone in my struggles and it was nice to have an honest conversation with my partner.
Now, we had an amazing conversation and talked for a couple hours that day about body confidence. But it was not the cure all. I wasn’t healed all of a sudden, because this stuff runs deep. Negative thinking and lack of body confidence is deep rooted.
I’m talking about fighting generations of lack of body confidence. A lot has to do with how society views women and the emphasis that is put on how we look.
Years have gone by where women have been shamed for being too this or too that. And being told we have a certain place in life.
So it is up to us to dig deep into those roots and make changes for ourselves.
I no longer want to feel ashamed for not fitting through the untouchable hoop that society sets up for us, which then becomes an expectation for ourselves.
I have decided it is time to take charge and that starts within me.
So, talking with Eric was a great starting point and an important one, that’s why it’s #1 on the list.
After our conversation, I told myself I needed to continue putting in the work to continue shifting my negative thinking.
So after a long emotional conversation, the next thing I did was get some good sleep, which is tip #2!
I don’t know about you but this is something I really struggle with as well. I can be exhausted but when I lay down I can’t fall asleep, or I’ll fall asleep but won’t stay asleep.
My sleep cycle is very sensitive too. If I stay up late one night, it takes me 2-3 weeks to get it back on track again.
I am working on this, but you know like most things, it’s taking time to understand what my body needs.
Unfortunately, many people today struggle with sleep. Stresses of life can keep us up at night like work, school or finances. But also electronics like TVs, computers, and our beloved cell phones.
So many things can get between us and our precious sleep.
When I don’t sleep enough I don’t function well at all. I think this also plays into mental health. Lack of sleep causes me to feel blah and have lazy or negative thinking. It gives me the feeling of not wanting to do anything and just laying in bed.
So, that night after our talk I went to bed early and thankfully got about 10 hours of sleep. Hallelujer!
The next day I felt like a whole new person, with a fresh mind and a new pair of eyes looking in the mirror.
Instead of “Ew who is that?” I was like “Hey you! I’m feelin’ good, yoga and squats here we come!” Haha.
Do a little check throughout the week to see if you get enough sleep. Everyone is different. Eric can thrive on 6 good hours of sleep, me on the other hand, I need at least 9 hours to be a functioning human in society.
Listen to your body and what it needs, because at night is also when our bodies heal and restore themselves.
Now, tip #3 is to try and eliminate stress.
Talking about how you’re feeling and getting enough sleep can already be so helpful in eliminating stress.
However, I do think reducing stress is easier said than done. I am definitely guilty of being a worry wart. This is why I work very hard on do things that help me feel a little more zen. This is where Yoga comes in.
Taking time to take deep breaths really does wonders for me.
Finding something that can help you reduce stress and be a little more calm throughout the day can really help to keep that positive mindset.
Mind, body and soul are so much more connected than we realize.
For me, I have learned that my body doesn’t handle stress well. I bloat in my mid-section and feel very sluggish and heavy.
I can do all the exercise in the world but if I don’t keep a handle on my stress level, my body will definitely respond, and not in a good way.
Speaking of Yoga, this leads us to tip #4, exercise.
If you do a daily workout keep at it! Especially when bouts of negativity creep up on you like they did for me.
I really think continuing with my daily yoga, despite how I was feeling, helped to keep me afloat. Not to mention I felt proud of myself that I didn’t give up once I started feeling better.
If exercise isn’t something that’s part of your day consider a time you might be able to fit it in. Even if it’s a short walk outside.
I practice my Yoga about 4-5 times a week and implement a few other body exercises like squats and planks.
By talking about my mental struggles, getting some good sleep, eliminating unnecessary stress, and keeping up with my exercise, I could slowly feel the negativity melt away. I probably even shed a couple pounds because the weight of that negative energy was so heavy.
So what else is left? If we’re feeling good and on the right path what’s missing?
5. What Makes You Happy
The fifth and final healthy tip is doing something that makes you happy. Because we’re here to live life not just survive.
Is there something you love to do that makes you happy? Even if it seems silly or you aren’t sure about it…do it anyway!
Some suggestions might be working on cars, playing sports, painting, hiking, or creating fun crafts.
The thing that always makes me happy and I know I will always come back to is writing.
When I’m in a negative head space it’s the best time for me to write because it’s another way for me to get out of my head and put my thoughts into words.
I can express those deep struggles with my body confidence, help myself understand where it’s coming from, and what I can do to heal from it.
Also, a little side note I’m a bit of a nerd and I love to put puzzles together and play board games. I’ve always loved to do this. So even though it may seem a little childish it makes me happy.
From time to time I’ll ask Eric to help me put a puzzle together.
I also have some coloring books in my desk drawer, you know the ones with cute animals and color by numbers. Nope they’re not for our little cousins or nieces and nephews who might come to visit (although I don’t mind sharing) they’re just for me.
Give in to your inner child and have fun.
This is a great way to switch up your mindset and I think it’s the cherry on top to the rest of the work we can do to develop positive thoughts about ourselves, which will create that amazing body confidence we’re working so hard to boost.
This Is Me
So to keep it even more real…this is me.
I don’t have rock solid abs, I get down on myself about the couple extra rolls on my sides, and I felt very insecure when I first started taking photos for this post.
I have struggled with feeling confident about my body all my life. And when I started having health problems in my early twenties and gained more weight than I was ever used to, it really took a toll on my confidence, self-esteem, and mental health.
But little by little I have been working on myself, not just the outside but the inner part of me. The part that counts most, in my opinion.
I think getting to know who I am also helped me to recognize the toxic thinking and behaviors that were happening over the past few weeks.
I am a work in progress and right now I am content with that.
The more photos I took this day the more I began to feel empowered. I’m sharing this with you because despite my fears and insecurities the message is so much greater. And that is…
you are beautiful, no matter your shape, size or color.
It’s time we stop allowing society tell us what or who we should be. Most importantly it’s time we tell ourselves we are worth so much more than the negative thoughts that like to come along and hang out.
From here, my goal is to continue implementing all of these tips and healing my mind and body.
If I can spread love to others, I can definitely show it to myself and you can too.
The community of people who lift up one another for their beautiful differences can start here. We’re just a couple of folks living life, breaking down barriers, and building each other up.
Let’s get the conversation started…
To a healthy mentality and incredible body confidence.