Oprah Winfrey once said: “The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the storyline that says you’re too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step towards transforming your experience of the world.” Despite a general consensus that all women are beautiful in their own right, as little as 11% of Canadian women are completely satisfied with what they see when they look in the mirror according to a survey by market research entity GfK. A positive body image is a vital component of a healthy self-esteem and something which needs to be nurtured constantly and with great care. The following guidelines will help you shed some of the negative perceptions you have of yourself and have you blossom into a strong, happy and self-loving woman or man.
Take a break from social media
As entertaining as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram may be, they are also breeding grounds for self-doubt and insecurity. Being constantly bombarded by images of photoshopped models, gorgeous celebs and even friends and family members that we perceive as attractive can be rather debilitating to one’s self-image. As hard as we try not to, we tend to compare our own bodies, eating patterns and social standing with what we see on social media. This can often lead to a very negative body image as well as poor eating habits. Instead of spending all your free time scrolling through Facebook posts, seek out media that supports a positive body image such as travel and wellness blogs as well as business-related articles on strong, successful women in particular. Invest your time in reading material that will enable you to enhance your own natural beauty instead of forcing you to change who you are.
Be at peace with food
Food is not the enemy. It acts as a fuel for our body’s which allow us to accomplish many great things. Sadly, food has become a crutch for many of us which often results in terrible guilt. When you eat, you need to do it respectfully, being mindful of what you eat and of what benefit it is to your body. Cast aside the unhealthy sweets, cake, crisps, soda and biscuits and indulge in the good food that will not only boost your metabolism but your energy levels and mood as well. If you stumble and find yourself binge-eating, don’t punish yourself too harshly. A healthy body image and self-love cannot be derived from starvation. The more you practice healthy eating, the easier it will become to have a healthy relationship with what you consume.
Attempt to see yourself in a positive light
Take a good, hard look at yourself in the mirror and, one by one, replace any negative thoughts you have about yourself with positive ones. It’s also a good idea to sit down and write a list of what you like best about yourself. Stick this list on your mirror or fridge and read it whenever you are feeling down. For every negative thought you have about yourself try and come up with a positive one to counter it. It is not going to be easy in the beginning but if you persevere for long enough you will find it easier to see yourself in a positive light. Stop focusing on your flabby arms or the cellulite on your thighs and instead praise your killer smile, beautiful eyes or shapely legs.
Building a positive body image is an ongoing process and one that should not be hurried in any way. Be patient and kind to yourself, allowing positive thoughts to slowly replace any negativity. When you walk past a mirror, or see your reflection in a shop window, turn to yourself, smile, and acknowledge just what a beautiful and unique being you truly are.
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