Feel Good About Yourself
If you're always thinking negatively about how you look, you'll feel bad about how you look. It's that simple. Even the most self-assured and confident person on the planet would start feeling insecure if they constantly listened to that little voice in their head whispering: "He's staring at your scar. She's thinking you shouldn't eat that chocolate bar."
There's nothing wrong with wanting to look nice. It's when worries and anxieties about your body start affecting your decisions and day-to-day life that it's time to take action. While there are no magic fixes (it takes time to change ingrained beliefs), the great news is that there are loads of things you can do to start reversing negative ways of thinking and behaving so you'll seeing yourself differently and feeling, yep, beautiful.
1. Stop weighing yourself every day
It sets yourself up for a 'pass' or 'fail' each morning which will dictate your mood and the rest of the day. Weight can alter by up to 4-6lbs in 24 hours and it tells you nothing about your health. We'd advocate ditching the scales altogether, but if you have to weigh yourself do so once a week at the same time wearing the same clothes (or no clothes). Hide your scales so you don't just stand on them automatically without thinking. Put them in a cupboard so you actually have to choose to get them out.
2. Fake it until you make it
Fake confidence if you have to. Like I said above, make an effort to walk tall and tell yourself positive things about yourself even if you don't believe them yet. In time, you will. I did.
3. Pay attention to compliments
People with body image insecurities will dismiss compliments or ignore them – they don't tally with the view you have of yourself so they must be nonsense, right? WRONG. For one week write down every single compliment you get, e.g. "great work", "your advice really helped", "that was funny", "I love your trousers", "you look nice". By writing them down you'll be forcing yourself to pay attention. At the end of the week re-read through them all. Accepting your good bits – you wrote them down so they're true -will make you look at yourself more positively.
4. Eat well and hydrate
To feel good on the outside, you need to start from the inside. I can't stress this enough. Eat good food and fill yourself up. Don't skip meals! Eat lots of fruits and veggies, and do not neglect proteins, carbs, and dairy if you can. Always eat a good breakfast and bring healthy snacks with you to school or work. Take a multivitamin with Omega 3s to make sure you're getting everything you need. You will feel so much better and nourishing your body will make you glow. Hydrating by drinking enough water or even tea will also help you feel amazing, refreshed, and healthy.
5. Remember to treat yourself
Do not deny yourself the foods you love. Try and eat healthy most of the time, but if it's a Friday night and you want to have some soul food, don't hold back. Life is all about balance, and you can't go the rest of your life not eating your favourite chips or going out for pizza at your favourite restaurant. If your friends or family want to go for burgers and fries, just go. If there are cookies at school or work and you really want one, just have one. It won't kill you.
6. Cut down on social media and online celeb stalking
Be honest now: do you spend hours analyzing celebrity bodies or pictures of yourself online? If so, how does it make you feel – better or worse about yourself? When we feel insecure we actively look for flaws, for things that back-up our view about ourselves. We'll pore over pictures of bodies that we think are 'better' than our own or pictures of ourselves that confirm our worst fears ("look at my fat legs!") or make us long for the past ("I wish I still looked like that"). This is incredibly damaging and unfair. Get rid of celebrity websites from your desktop or on your phone so they're not easily accessible and log-out of any appearance-related forums so you actually have to consciously choose to access them. Give yourself a two day ban and then ask yourself: "do I feel better or worse about myself not looking?" We'll bet big money (a fiver OK?) that you'll feel infinitely better.
7. Exercise regularly
Again, being all-around healthy is a crucial step in feeling good on the inside and outside. Find an exercise you enjoy and do it as regularly as you can. You don't need to become a fitness goddess. Just exercise at your own pace and on your own terms.
8. Do not pay attention to size
I know it's a cliché, but size really is just a number. I know it can be discouraging, but don't bother squeezing into jeans or shorts that are two sizes too small for you just because you don't want to buy the larger ones. (No one is looking at the label but you.) Please, just do yourself a favour and buy the size that fits you best. In the end, when you're actually wearing them in front of other people, you'll feel a lot more confident and not like you're about to burst out of them.
9. Stop comparing yourself to others
You will never be anyone else but you. Don't waste your time admiring the bodies you wish you had and start admiring yourself. I know this can be hard to do, but you're wasting your time otherwise.
10. Do what you love and what you're good at
Do things that make you feel proud of yourself, whether that's art, writing, cooking, whatever. Find a job you love and pursue your passions. Sure, this is easier said than done, but if you do activities that play to your strengths and make you feel good, you'll feel more confident as well.
So, I will leave it at that. Self-love starts with you and we can all learn to love ourselves a little bit more. Love yourself, and your life will become brighter. The only person stopping you is you.