What’s one thing you love about yourself? Is it your smile, your energy, your intelligence, your muscles-arms/legs/back, or your hair? A couple of the things I love about myself are my arms and my positivity. I wouldn’t be where I am today without a positive mindset and I love being able to see muscles that I’ve worked so hard for in my arms (mainly when I flex, but hey-they’re there).
Last week was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and it made me think about the importance of having a positive body image and positive mindset. I’ve never had a full on eating disorder, but part of my happiness used to depend on the number on the scale in the morning—something I really hate admitting. I used to run many hours a week and not fuel my body properly just to see a change on that stinkin’ scale. I wasn’t very knowledgeable about nutrition, I didn’t have the confidence I do today, and it caused unnecessary anxiety. The most important lessons I’ve learned from the scale— no one knows the number and no one even cares about the number, and most of all: Confidence is Sexy. I love seeing genuinely happy celebrities who exude confidence no matter what size they are.
Where was my big turn around? You can read my story: Part 1 & Part 2 to see more about it, but it mainly happened when I understood nutrition, started to love my body for its capabilities, and enjoyed new aspects of fitness– HIIT/lifting/cycling. I really credit my increased confidence from lifting and the empowerment it gives me.
Having a positive body image can improve your happiness, confidence, relationships, education/work, and reduce stress.
- Learn to appreciate what your body can do. Be thankful for it because some people don’t have arms or legs and can’t even walk. After all of my long runs, I always think about how lucky I am to have the ability to run, even when it’s a bad run.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Ever hear the saying you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with? If you want to feel good about yourself and achieve your goals, spend time with people who support you and bring happiness in your life.
- Do things for yourself. I always feel the need to say “yes” and help everyone out. But sometimes you need to say no and do things for yourself- not for others.
- Stop comparing yourself. The guy who eats pizza & cheeseburgers everyday, yet seemingly ripped? Or the girl who eats spaghetti & ice cream everyday & extremely lean? That’s because of their genetics. Everyone is made completely different and it’d be boring if everyone were the same. I know, I hate it too, but I’ve learned that it feels good to see results from working hard in the gym and understanding proper nutrition.
- Recognize your strengths, achievements and uniqueness. I like to write and think about all of the things I accomplish each week and how hard I’ve worked. Seeing your progress visually or even just mentally makes you feel better about yourself.
- Confidence. Confidence. Confidence. Did I mention confidence? Yes, confidence will help greatly with positive body image. Wear stuff that you feel attractive/good in. Realize your accomplishments and what you can do. I credit my confidence to lifting because I see visual progress with continually increasing weights during exercises and it makes me feel strong and it has helped me understand to fuel my body properly. Do what you love and don’t worry about what people think. Confidence is KEY.
Whenever you start thinking something negative about yourself, stop & remember how lucky you are for what you have. Know yourself and do what you love and execute it with confidence. People will respect you and it will help you respect yourself. Celebrate your individuality by sharing your passions with others, and loving yourself. Give someone a compliment today or pay it forward by buying someone’s drink at Starbucks, it will make you feel good about yourself & little things can make a difference in someone else’s life, too!