Body positivity and self-love are two phrases you might have been hearing more in recent years. From social media posts to news articles, the topic of accepting, embracing, and loving your body (as it is) has become a growing (and widely-applauded) trend.
Whether you’ve criticized yourself for your imperfections, compared your body to others, or have felt embarrassed about your shape, you’re not alone. I can promise that nearly everyone (including the people whose bodies look “perfect”) have suffered from this negative self-talk at some point or another.
Fortunately, there are mindfulness techniques you can implement to change that.
My Body Positivity Story
For most of my life, I wished I was skinny with narrow hips and tiny legs. I have a naturally curvier physique and have a tendency to get muscular (or gain weight) quickly. I used to wish I was one of those gals who could eat anything, stay svelte and toned, and fit into a size 2 or 4.
At one point (in my early 20s, as I was starting to model), I worked out twice a day, was obsessed with what I ate, and fixated on how my body looked. To put it simply, I was miserable. I thought that achieving a goal weight or having certain measurements would make me feel more confident. But, in truth, it had the opposite effect. No matter how hard I tried (or how many compliments I got), I didn’t feel comfortable with or confident in my body.
In the past decade, I’ve changed my lifestyle, eating, and fitness habits. I’ve shifted from focusing on what I look like, to how I feel, and now I’m stronger and more confident than ever. I’ve learned to accept and embrace my body, to focus on nourishing it and caring for it, and choosing to give myself more self-love than ever before.
This simple, yet effective, mindset change has made a huge difference in how I view and treat my body. Instead of wishing, I looked like someone else, I’ve come to appreciate the body that I was born with (and the body I have created).
While I regularly workout and eat healthy foods, I have become more comfortable in my own skin and have learned to appreciate what my body does for me. Even though I strive to be fit and toned (because that’s how I prefer to look and feel), I still notice when I’m looking bloated or have gained a few pounds. But I no longer let those thoughts dictate how I feel anymore. More than anything, my outlook has changed.
3 Ways To Cultivate More Body Positivity & Self-Love
If you want to feel more confident, embrace and accept your body more, and learn how to have more body positivity in your life, here are 3 mindfulness techniques you can start using today.
Strive For Progress, Not Perfection
Instead of criticizing yourself for eating that muffin or not reaching your goal weight yet, focus on what you have done right today, this week, or this month. The more often that you reward and applaud yourself for creating progress, the more motivated you’ll feel to stay on track towards your goals. In the process, you’ll feel happier, more self-confident, and proud of all the work you’ve put in. From little wins (like fitting into your jeans again) to big wins (like finishing a 6-week at-home workout challenge), strive for progress, not perfection.
Don’t Compare Yourself To Anyone
It’s so easy to get caught up in the mindset that some people out there are perfect. Well, they’re not. Even women who are in impeccable shape usually have cellulite or other body issues they wish they didn’t have. For that matter, most of what we see (on social media or in magazines) isn’t reality, as most photos have been airbrushed or edited.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that each of us has a different perception of beauty. For example, when talking to a few girlfriends about body image, I mentioned that I had always wished I was skinny. The irony was, my skinny girlfriend, piped up and said, I wish I had curves like you! This proves the point that we all want what we don’t have. That’s why comparing yourself to others is wasted energy.
Focus On How You Feel (Not How You Look)
Do you love running because it gives you a sense of freedom? Do you enjoy lifting weights because it makes you feel stronger and more capable? Focus on how you feel, instead of fixating on how you look. By remembering that your body is your vehicle in this journey of life, the more often that you focus on taking care of it, fueling it with healthy foods and an active lifestyle, and doing activities that you love, the better you’ll feel.
An easy way to do this is to workout outdoors. From yoga to pilates, doing an exercise outside (away from mirrors) helps you reconnect internally with your body, by allowing you to focus on how you feel, rather than on how you look. The more you can focus on how you feel, the more you can appreciate your body for what it does for you.
By incorporating these 3 mindfulness shifts into your life, you’ll start to cultivate more body positivity and self-love.