Are you scared of swimsuit season? You’re not alone. According to a survey in O, The Oprah Magazine, 43% of women avoid the pool or beach because they didn’t like their appearance! That’s right 4 out of 10 of us are skipping summer fun, denying ourselves pleasure because of Bad Body Image.
If you’re part of that 43% or if you just want to boost your body confidence (and who doesn’t?) so you can feel beautiful in that bikini don’t worry. You have time to get yourself in shape for summer, and you don’t have to go on a juice cleanse or grapefruit diet, pop dangerous “fat-busting” supplements or beat your body into submission with the latest get-ripped fitness routine to get there.
Stop focusing on changing your body and start focusing on changing your mind.
Here’s the secret to feeling great this summer: Stop focusing on changing your body and start focusing on changing your mind. Boost your body image (how you perceive your appearance) and swap the body shame for body confidence. In my work and research with women who struggle with body image and weight, I’ve developed some very effective techniques that really work and FAST.
Use some of my 16 confidence tips below starting right now and by summer you’ll feel better about your body, your self and the beach.
- Smash Your Scale: Stop letting a number determine how you see, feel about and value yourself.
- Accept your body exactly as it is today. That doesn’t mean you have to love exactly how you look. It just means that you’re willing to appreciate and be okay with where you’re body is today.
- Step away from the mirror. Go for a day or even a week without looking at yourself. Ask a friend or your mate to check you over to insure you aren’t walking out the door with a hair out of place or toothpaste on your face.
- Pamper your body: Get or give yourself a massage, facial, manicure or a pedicure. Take a long nap or a bubble bath.
- Experience pleasure: Find activities that make your body feel amazing, and give yourself permission to enjoy pleasure. Remember, pleasure is the way we thank the universe for being alive.
- Move: Dance, walk, bike, hike or do yoga. Choose a fun physical activity that you don’t do in front of a mirror. Besides the numerous physical and psychological benefits, research shows that even a little exercise improves body image. Why? When you’re physically active you focus on what you’re body can do rather then what it looks like.
- Don’t Diet: Dieting doesn’t work, stresses you out and is an attack on your body. Self-improvement efforts like dieting that are motivated by disgust and self-rejection reinforce the idea that there’s something wrong with your body. Instead of dieting eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full and nourish your body by consuming healthy foods — particularly more plant foods and more unprocessed foods — that you enjoy. You’ll have more energy, fewer food cravings and a calmer, sharper mind.
- Trade your negative self-talk — “I’m fat,” “I hate my body,” “My stomach is flabby” — for positive self-talk — “My body is perfect the way it is,” “I love my body,” “I’m beautiful inside and out” and “The people I care about love me.” To accentuate the positive, make a list of five positive words or short phrases, that describe YOU, not your body. Write them down on post-it notes and place the notes where you’ll see them — on your front door, your car steering wheel, the bathroom mirror or your refrigerator.
- Look Good: Find clothes, including a bathing suit that fit you NOW, not in some imaginary future when you think you’ll be skinny. Celebrate your body by dressing in clothes that are comfortable and make you feel good. If you’re doing a mirror fast (see suggestion 3) go shopping with a friend who can tell you what looks good.
- Practice Self-compassion. Treat yourself the way you would a good friend, with compassion. Replace the scream of self-criticism with the song of self-kindness. Research shows that listening to Self-Compassion meditation podcasts, like those you’ll find on SmashYourScale.com significantly improves body image.
- Eat Right: Feed your body healthy food that you love so you’ll feel good inside and out.
- Be grateful: Rather than focusing on all the things you don’t like about your body, focus on all the amazing things your body does for you every, single day, hour and moment.
- Visualization: Fantasize about having fun at the beach or pool. Spend 5 minutes everyday recalling in your mind’s eye how much fun you had splashing around as a kid.
- Stop judging yourself and your body.
- Don’t worry; be happy. Be a kid again and have some fun. Enjoy life and all it has to offer. Let those good feelings saturated you, your body and your soul.
- Just do it: Set an intention to have fun and just go to the beach or pool!
Start working now so when summer is officially here (June 20th) you’ll be able to trigger positive, emotions, thoughts and sensations that allow you to enjoy summer, and yourself, in all its warm and wonderful glory. You deserve a day at the beach… take it!
Need some help? I’ve been working with women on body image issues for decades and I’d love to help you. Click HERE to contact me and apply for a free Compass Coaching Session.