Tired Of Hating Your Body? You’re Not Alone.
By Nisa Z.
June 10, 2021
It always felt like I wanted to change something about my body when I looked in the mirror. Lose weight, erase the scars, flatten the tummy. The list got longer and the nitpicking grew.
The awareness of not feeling pretty enough has been there for as long as I can remember. My perception of my body has improved with age, but flashes of insecurity still appear sometimes.
If you’re struggling with your body image too, you’re not alone.
Most Americans (79%) report feeling unhappy with how their body looks at times, according to IPSOS.
Why do I hate my body?
How we view ourselves in the mirror is a collection of our life experiences. From what we see in the media, our friends’ influence, what our partner thinks is attractive, and even how our parents see us.
These external influences can be more powerful than our internal beliefs.
It’s important to remember that body changes are normal. We all go through them whenever we hit a milestone in life like puberty or pregnancy. Or go through a major life change like lockdown because of covid. I know I put on weight and broke out more during the lockdown.
The first step to self-acceptance is to identify what causes the insecurities about your body so you can remove them.
The long-term effects of negative body image
The awareness about being unhappy with the body starts from when we're young. Among teenagers, 37% felt upset, and 31% felt ashamed about their body image.
Research has found that higher body dissatisfaction is associated with a poorer quality of life, psychological distress like depression, and the risk of unhealthy eating behaviors and eating disorders.
If you’re struggling to overcome body image issues, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. You shouldn’t have to endure the insecurity alone. Open up to someone you trust or speak to a specialist about it.
5 tips to start loving your body
Loving my body is one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn. It’s a journey and not as simple as changing your mindset overnight.
But it’s extremely worthwhile when the result is self-acceptance and inner peace. Here are 5 tips to help you to start feeling better about your body.
1. Stop comparing yourself
It’s normal to look at another slender, stunning woman in a glossy advertisement and ask ‘Why don’t I look like that?’ The funny thing is, she’s probably saying the same thing herself about someone else!
We are all too busy admiring somebody else’s beauty that we don’t stop to look at our own.
So when your thoughts start to say, ‘I wish I had nicer … like her’ just stop and remember - your beauty is your own.
List down 3 things you love about yourself. And if you can’t think of anything, ask your best friend, parent, or partner. You’d be surprised how easily they can identify what makes you beautiful.
And if it’s hard to stop the comparison, put a positive spin on it. It’s ok to think ‘oh wow, this person is so attractive. And so am I!’
2. Do a social media detox
The next time you’re on social media, take note of the first ten posts you see. What type of images are they? How does it make you feel?
Whether it’s someone you know, a celebrity, or even an advertisement, social media can cause feelings of inadequacy.
About half of the 18-34-year-olds surveyed said their social media feeds made them feel unattractive.
Social media is filled with carefully curated pictures - our highlight reel. Remember that the online world is full of unreal images with only the best versions of ourselves. We don’t see breakouts, breakdowns, bloating, or bad hair days.
It might sound scary at first, but make a plan to do a digital detox. You’ll realize how much social media influences how you see yourself. Turn off those pesky notifications.
Now you can finally get back to focusing on the most important person in your life - you.
3. Be aware of negative self-talk
Have you ever accidentally spilled something and thought ‘urgh, I’m so stupid’. This might sound small. But how often do you insult yourself every day, or week, or month?
How you talk to yourself regularly can impact your self-image. If it becomes a habit to put yourself down, seeing yourself in a negative light will become normal too.
Whatever word you choose to end this sentence ‘I am ...’ is what you are inviting into your life.
So when you’re trying on a bathing suit in front of the mirror, zeroing in on the area you hate, talk to yourself with love and gratitude instead.
Life is too short to be mean to yourself.
4. Focus on being healthy, happy, and strong
It’s easy to see a skinny person and think he or she must be healthy. Or someone with clear skin and assume they must be happy. We put so much value on our physical traits.
It’s normal to want to modify your body and appearance. But don’t aim for the desirable number on the scale. Or buy smaller clothes in hopes it’ll fit someday.
Change the goal to how good it feels to be healthy, happy, and strong instead. Like the post-workout satisfaction. A healthy meal to keep you going. Or calmness after meditation.
5. Surround yourself with positive influence
When I wanted to lose weight, I followed several social media influencers who I thought were my ideal role models and body sizes. I was sure they would inspire me to train harder or eat less.
Sadly, the opposite happened.
The danger of this is it creates a false world of what is ‘normal'. On days when I was too lazy to work out, these accounts were reminders that I somehow ‘failed’ at my goal.
I realized it’s important to do a social media audit and unfollow any accounts that make you feel critical of yourself or the other person.
Distance yourself from people who lower your self-esteem. Their casual remarks about your appearance may seem funny or insignificant. But if it hurts you, it’s best to stay from their negativity.
Surround yourself with family, friends, or support groups that uplift you. And motivate you to be a better person each day. No matter what you look like.
1. Most Americans Experience Feeling Dissatisfied with How Their Body Looks from Time to Time, Including Nearly Two in Five Who Feel This Way Whenever They Look in the Mirror
2. Body image report
3. Is social media bad for you? The evidence and the unknowns
4. Oprah Winfrey, The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations
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