You’re five steps away from instant body love.
1. Buy clothes that fit + that make you feel GOOD.
One of the more popular (and, uh, problematic?) diet tips in circulation is to buy clothing a size or two too small to “motivate” yourself to lose weight. My advice? Don’t. Don’t do that. Buy clothes that fit you right NOW. Clothes that make you feel like a babe. Don’t squeeze yourself into things that are the wrong size, or worse, wait to live your life and feel good about yourself until you fit into smaller jeans–that’s ridiculous. Buy pieces that you’re excited to wear and that you’re mega confident in. Guaranteed to make you look and feel awesome. Seriously–what’s better than putting on an amazing dress and knowing you look good? Not much. It’s awesome for your self-esteem, self-image, and confidence. Get it, girl!
2. Limit your traditional media consumption and/or expose yourself to alternative forms of media.
Gorgeous celebrities. Tiny models. Air-brushed magazine spreads. Perfection, everywhere. Only wait–no. Even in Photoshop-free campaigns, there is a TON of manipulation that goes in to getting the shot, from perfect lighting to pounds of body makeup. It isn’t real. It’s impossible. Unattainable. If you know and are aware of that, and therefore don’t let it get to you, it’s fine. But seeing those kinds of “aspirational” (and manipulated) images 24/7 can make the best of us feel a little nutzo from time to time. To combat this, try exposing yourself to alternate forms of media, especially ones that celebrate diversity and depict a variety of body types. The website My Body Gallery was created specifically for this very purpose! Tumblr is awesome for it. Instagram is decent, too. This Pinterest board is gold. Aerie is spreading the body-posi vibes with their #aeriereal campaign. Redbook magazine did a “real women” style awards issue sans models. Mattel is even in on it with BARBIE makeovers, creating dolls with more realistic proportions. Bottom line: Alternatives are out there. The more body types you see, the more you’ll realize that pretty doesn’t come in a single shape or size.
3. Be active.
Working out is obviously good for your bod, but it also does excellent things for your mind. You don’t have to kill it in the gym on a daily basis to reap the benefits of active living, either…Just focus on moving your body in a way that you enjoy, one that truly feels good to you. Hike. Swim. Mall walk. Dance. You’ll know it when you find it, and you won’t have to force yourself to do it because *spoiler alert* you actually like it. Then, boom: endorphins and empowerment. Incorporating daily movement into your routine will allow you to shift your focus on all of the awesome stuff your body can do instead of just fixating on how it looks.
4. Ditch negative self-talk.
You know that crazy-relatable scene in Mean Girls when all of the plastics are criticizing every discernible inch of their bodies? WE HAVE TO STOP DOING THAT. Seriously, it’s awful. We’re so mean to ourselves! Would you talk to your best friend the way you talk to yourself? What about your mom? Your sister? Let’s get real–some of the things you say to yourself you probably wouldn’t even say aloud to your worst enemy. Even if you aren’t ready to give yourself more credit in the body department, at the very least you should be working on cutting yourself some slack. If you’ve been hyper-critical of yourself for a long time, ditching your negative thought patterns can be a major undertaking, but it’s a step that’s crucial for developing a positive relationship with your body. Check out this post from Greatist for 35 body-positive mantras to get started.
5. Compliment other women.
Women can get way weird about how other women look, and that’s a shame. Girls, the attractiveness of another woman doesn’t negate your own! Still, we sometimes allow other people’s appearances to make us insecure or judgmental, and both of those responses suck. Instead of responding with negativity–whether that’s internally or externally directed–stop, correct your thinking, and opt for positivity. Whether it’s posting a supportive comment on Instagram, or just thinking a nice thought about the girl in front of you in your yoga class, train your brain to be complimentary in its response. Positive thinking, good vibes, and the right kind of energy will get you far.