He & She Eat Clean | Healthy Recipes & Workout Plans

Breaking Through Negative Body Image

Body ImageWhitney Carlson2 Comments
5 Ways to Break Through Negative Body Image | He and She Eat Clean

Yesterday I posted about my "body image transformation" {and also shared a few 10 second transformation pictures}. I'm not a doctor or counselor...nor do I claim to be but I do want to share what worked for me with the hope that it helps at least one person. I would love to see women all over learn to love themselves first - where they are - while continuing to improve in whatever aspect they are working on!

I'll say this again (I mentioned it in my "How I Achieved My Dream Body" post)...

It doesn't matter what is or isn't on your plate or what is or isn't in your training routine. It's what is in your mind that matters most.

5 Ways to Break Through Negative Body Image

1. Stop Browsing Social Media for Motivation and/or Inspiration

I know it sounds weird coming from me as most of you probably found this website through social media (and you can still continue to follow us since we are positive ;-)). I'm glad you did find us but there are so many out there now that only focus on looks (with a million selfies) or post things that are not attainable for most people (whether it is stick meal plans and/or "perfect" body parts). Although I would have considered myself a strong person, the comparison on social media sucked me in so I quit browsing social media. Hard? Yes but SO worth it. I obviously still post on our accounts but then I log off. I also cleaned out my Instagram quite a few months ago. I did fine motivating myself for years without "fitspo" so I decided that I would become my own motivation again. Browsing social media (Instagram especially) only made me feel worse (except for those few fitness accounts that I still follow).

Right now you might think that you are on social media for motivation but have you met your goals? How does it really motivate you? Do you spend more time browsing for inspiration than you do actually working on yourself? Become your own motivation.

2. Think and Talk Positively

I covered this in my post on Building Up Your Confidence with Positive Thinking but it's also very important in the context of body image. If you are constantly thinking and/or speaking to yourself negatively you will only believe that negative talk. Once you change the way to talk to YOURSELF your entire life will start to change. It's true - your body hears everything your mind says so stay positive!

3. Develop Healthy Habits to Replace Unhealthy Habits

It's hard to develop good habits but it seems so easy to develop bad habits. Right? When you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle you develop new habits that replace your old habits. Now instead of ordering nachos with cheese, meat, and a load of other toppings maybe you order tacos or a burrito bowl with healthier toppings. The same habit changing techniques need to happen in order to combat the "bad" body image habits that have developed. For example, if I feel the urge to scroll through Instagram (I just use it as an example because that's the main one that affects me but maybe for you it's Facebook), I start reading a book. It becomes a habit. If I have time to scroll through Instagram than I have time to educate myself on another topic. Find a habit that will make you a better person and start doing that as soon as you find yourself doing something that negatively effects you.

Below are some ideas:

  • Go for a walk
  • Paint your nails
  • Read a book
  • Take a bath
  • Cook something {healthy}

4. Focus on What Your Body Can DO Instead of What it LOOKS Like

Can you do a "real" push-up? Can you run a mile? Maybe you can play a game with your kids without getting out of breath. This will be different for everyone but if you can do things that you've never done before that means that you are improving and moving in the right direction. Focus on these achievements instead of critiquing yourself in the mirror. I quit looking at myself in the mirror and critiquing everything about me. I quit beating myself up for no reason. I went weeks without taking a "progress picture" or trying to gauge my progress in the mirror and the next time that I did look at myself in the mirror I was truly shocked at how much I had changed and it was all because I changed my mindset (more on that here). Stop gauging your progress on looks and focus on how you feel and what you can do.

5. Try a Relaxing Gym Class and/or Go Outside

Weight lifting is my absolute favorite thing to do. I love the way it changes and challenges my body and I don't get bored. However, when I decided to "snap" out of this trap I was in I started incorporating other forms of training by taking a few yoga/Pilates classes each week. If your gym doesn't offer these classes there are a lot of yoga resources online and also yoga DVDs available. Yoga didn't replace my weight lifting but it serves as almost a "rest" for me and my mind. Trying something different, even if it's just a few times, is almost always a good idea!

Another one of my favorite activities is to go hiking - preferably where my phone doesn't even work. It serves as a mind clearing time and some of my best ideas occur during our hiking trips (which you can read more about here). Spending time outside, even if it's just sitting or a walk around your neighborhood, is time well spent! Try it!

If you are struggling with negative body image please try these tips. They helped me immensely and I feel like a completely different person. Depending on the severity, you may also want to consider seeing a therapist/counselor. I know that for the short time that I was struggling, these negative comparison thoughts basically consumed my mind and it was awful. Good luck to all of you currently struggling. You are so much stronger than you think!