We have all been there at some point. You’re gazing in the mirror, not happy with what you see. You’re comparing yourself to others who have a different genetic makeup than you. You wish you were thinner, taller, more athletic, curvier – whatever it is that you think you don’t have. Your body image is suffering because of this negative self-talk.

I want to remind you – you ARE beautiful. You are unique and special and wonderful in your own way. No one is the same, and you shouldn’t want to be the same as someone else. This world is so full of negativity, the last thing you should do is bring it on yourself. I know how easy it is to say that, and how hard it is to actually do.

As a fitness professional, I have my own sets of struggles. I sometimes get caught in the mindset that if I am not super lean and fit, that people won’t want to take my Pilates classes because they won’t think I know what I am talking about. I have to remind myself that my body is beautiful and healthy and strong, and it’s MINE.

If you are struggling with your body image, here are a few tips to help you learn to love your body.

Stop negative self-talk

Have you ever mentioned to a group of friends how bloated you feel or how you don’t look good in a certain outfit? Have you noticed your friends coming to the rescue by saying that they look worse than you? This is so common with women. We think we are trying to help our friend feel better, but in reality, we are negatively affecting our own body image.

Take ownership when you find yourself having negative thoughts. If you can stop the thought before you verbalize it, even better. Negative self-talk is a constant battle we don’t even know we are having. It doesn’t even need to relate to body image to be damaging. If you can stop the negative self-talk, and replace it with a positive affirmation, you will quickly begin to notice how much better you feel about yourself.

List all the things your body is capable of

Instead of thinking about all the things you dislike about your body, I challenge you to make a list of 5 things that your body is capable of doing! Can you run a really fast mile? Can you hang with the guys in the weight room? Do you have strong lungs to play the trumpet? Whatever it is – write it down. Put the list someplace you will see every day.

So much of the time we forget what great gifts our body gives us. Remind yourself that your body image should not be wrapped up in being negative about appearance, but in being grateful for all the things you are able to do with your beautiful body.

Grab some post-it notes

The more colorful, the better in my opinion. Take the list you just wrote, and along with posting that up, I want you to write each one down on at least five post-it notes. Put these post-it notes in various places. Maybe on your car dashboard, in your planner, your favorite notebook, or right on top of your pillow. Put a few in places you won’t see that often like a cookbook with your favorite holiday recipe. When you open that cookbook in 6 months, you will see a wonderful note to yourself.

By hiding these post-it notes around, you will be continually affirming yourself for months to come. This is something you can even practice once a month. As your gratitude increases, you will find more and more things to love about yourself.

Pay the “body image” love forward

Take a moment to tell a friend or loved one something you admire about them. It doesn’t need to be something physical. I am a firm believer that our body image and self-esteem are almost interchangeable. Once we can build up our self-esteem, naturally everything will elevate.

By taking a moment to really pour love into another person, you will both benefit tremendously. They will be more likely to compliment you, and the love will continue to spread. Please don’t think that by this I am saying that body image and self-esteem are tied to what others say or think. What matters most is how you feel about yourself. However, I have never heard anyone report that their self-esteem decreased after paying a compliment to someone else. Just saying. 🙂

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