10 Tips to Improve Negative Body Image

Body Image. An issue that plagues us all. Whether we like it or not, every woman has something she doesn’t like or wishes she could change about her body. When we allow those negative feelings about ourselves change our attitude, surroundings, or daily tasks, we are welcoming negative body image into our lives. And let me tell you, EVERY women has something.

You know that gorgeous girl on your Instagram feed that seems to always take the most beautiful selfies, has your idea of the perfect skin, body, height, complexion, etc.??? Even SHE has something about herself that she doesn’t like.

This is not to say that all women have negative body image. Completely not true! There are some women who love and accept their bodies and who don’t allow themselves to dwell on their insecurities. But, it seems these women are few and far between. I, for one, am not one of them.

However, just because we have something about our bodies that we don’t like, doesn’t mean we have negative body image. It is assumed that we have a negative body image if we…

  • Dwell on the negative thoughts we have about our bodies
  • Consistently compare our bodies to other women
  • Spend time wishing we looked like someone else
  • Body-shame ourselves every time we pass by a mirror
  • Don’t feel pretty or good enough based on our body characteristics
  • Refrain from living life because of our insecurities

These characteristics are the real trouble makers. They stunt our growth, our life and our sense of self. When we feel this way, we feel small. By all means necessary, we want to cover up and hide. These are the feelings that cause us to do things that kinda don’t make sense: wear long sleeve cover-ups over our summer clothes, apply tons of make-up for a day of swimming at the beach, wear over-sized t-shirts to hide our bodies that actually do the opposite of what we want.

I’m no expert. But, like you, I have struggled with body image issues and have learned so much along the way about how to combat these negative feelings. There is so much that we can do intentionally to start changing the way we think about our bodies, and the answer may NOT losing and/or gaining weight!

We shouldn’t feel like we must change ourselves in order to be happy! We may be feeding into negative feelings of having to be a certain size to feel beautiful or wanting to look like *insert random female*. By all means! If you are losing/gaining weight for you and you want to feel more comfortable in your clothes, become healthier, more active or fit, then go for it! Lose or gain that weight baby girl! We are rooting for you! BUT, always ask yourself…

WHY am I doing this?” 

Don’t worry, we won’t talk about deep-rooted feelings and/or why we develop these feelings in the first place. Let’s save that for another chat. Right now, lets look at ways that we can intentionally start feeling better about our bodies TODAY and work towards having a more positive body image in the future…

  1. First, take note that you are alive and kicking!

    • Congratulations! Your body works! We focus so much on the negative things about our bodies that we forget that it is the reason we are even alive! It is the reason why we are able to walk, talk, write, dance, sing, run, jump, etc. Yeah, your legs may be a little thicker than you want them to be, but you have legs. Sure, your eyes may be a lot bigger than the next girl’s, but they work. We have to always remind ourselves that our bodies have purpose, and that purpose doesn’t exactly include fitting into a size 4 dress. Just food for thought.
  2. Work on loving yourself just the way you are.

    • I know that this is a very broad and kind of cliche statement. But, it must be said. It’s unrealistic to think that you can just wake up one day, look in the mirror, and say you love everything about your body and mean it after dealing with body image issues. It’s not going to happen. This is a process. We can work on loving our bodies until we get there. That “work” can mean so many things.
    • For example, using positive self-talk throughout the day, combating negative thoughts with positive ones in your head, or even forcing yourself to wear that sleeveless shirt despite the fact that you want to hide your arms. We must be intentional if we want our body image to improve, and it won’t improve if we don’t make a positive change.
  3. Focus, then re-focus on the positive!

    • Sure, there are a list of things you feel you absolutely hate about your body. But, have you ever noticed that there is also a list of things that you love? Sometimes its good to re-focus our energies on the positive instead of the negative.
    • Instead of getting dressed with the goal of hiding what you don’t like, make your goal to accentuate what you do like. Everyday try to train your brain to do this, and eventually (yes, it will take time),  the negative thoughts will become less and less prominent in your mind.
  4. Re-evaluate your relationship with the mirror.

    • Mirrors. They low-key deserve their own individual post. Those of us with a negative body image hate the site of mirrors. It’s a constant struggle because our insecurities give us the urge to look every time our reflection is presented, but we also want to ignore it so that we don’t get sad and obsessive. Usually, we look, and if in the comfort of our own home, we suck in, tug on fat, imagine ourselves bigger, or push fat away from our arms to see how it would look if we lose weight.
    • This relationship needs to be re-evaluated, asap! If you have to ignore the mirror for a while, DO IT! Our reflection should not be a burden and cause us to feel insecure. If anything, we should walk past the mirror and think, “DAMN I look good!” and we shouldn’t feel the need to dwell on the image.
  5. Work on NOT comparing yourself to others.

    • Comparing will get you in a lot of trouble! You are not her, and she is not you! We are all different for a reason. Maybe the reason you are so short and thin is because someday you’ll have to squeeze into a small space to save a very important person or a child. Sounds crazy, but hey, you never really know! Trying not to focus on being like someone else will save you a heap of discouragement.

      Once we realize that our individual bodies are beautiful, we can let others live and shine in their glory while you shine in yours!

  6. If you are trying to lose or gain weight, work on taking care of yourself in the meantime.

    • While you are trying to better yourself, for the right reasons of course, make sure that you are not shaming yourself in the meantime. It is a lot harder to make positive changes when they are fueled by negative feelings. The more accepting and loving of your body that you are now, the easier it will be for you to be successful in your goals. Negativity just fosters more negativity.
    • If you say to yourself, “I hate my body, so I’m not going to eat,” you will develop a negative relationship with what keeps you alive as well as binge later, completely shattering your attempts in the first place. On the other hand, if you say, “I love my body and I really want to change it, so I’m going to make healthier choices when I eat,” you are loving yourself while you make the change. Don’t make it worse on yourself. Appreciate your body while you are on this journey.
  7. Make an attempt to fix yourself up everyday!

    • We’ve said it on this blog before: when we look good, we feel good! Don’t settle for wearing baggy T-shirts and loose fitting pants everyday in order to cover your body. That’s us saying to ourselves that we want to always feel this way and we do not want to change. Try to make an attempt! Put on some clothes that make you feel good! Spend 10 more minutes in the morning doing your make-up. Make yourself look bomb because you are worth it, and it will remind you that you are fine as hell just the way you are!
  8. Take a daily or weekly social media break.

    • Social media really has a tendency to screw up our self-esteem. We start to scroll through our feeds and watching stories and suddenly the people we see are #goals. their bodies are ideal for us, they seem so perfect, and they are everything that we wish we could be. Bullshit. First of all, we are all on our own journeys! We are also all unique and look different for a reason (see #5). We tend to stay discouraged when looking at social media 24/7. We are CONSTANTLY putting it in our faces! That is our fault. Does social media bother you in this way? Put that phone away. Vow to stay off after a certain time. Or commit to engaging in it every other day. Give your self a break and enjoy a self-assuring spirit lift.
  9. Re-evaluate negative relationships in your life.

    • Are there people in your life that body-shame you? These are the people who say they care for you while also saying things like, “maybe you shouldn’t wear that because your hips are so wide,” or “Don’t eat that! You know you don’t need it!” We don’t need that kind of negativity in our lives. You’re out here trying to live fab, fine, and free and here comes some nay-sayer telling you that you aren’t good enough and that you have to change to be okay. Ummmm, no. Kick them to the curb and cling to those who want to see you happy and healthy, whether that means changing or not. Period.
  10. Change your vocabulary!

    • Last, but not least, change the way you talk about yourself. You do not have problem areas. Your body is not in progress. You are not waiting to buy clothes for when you hit your ideal weight. You do not have a crater-face. Your skin is not midnight blue. You are nobody’s tar baby. Your legs do not look like they come from a chicken. We must be kinder to ourselves and realize that our bodies are ours and only ours, and it is the only one we will ever have. We must take care of it and treat it kind so that it takes care of us later. And not believing or using negative terminology when referring to it is a great start!

Fostering a more positive body is not easy, but it is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. Not only will it help you, but it may have an impact on others as well. If you are a mother, your children (especially daughters) are watching you suck in in the mirror. Even if they don’t mention it, they notice when you stare at your reflection with disgust or try on everything in your closet every morning before work.

Improving in this area will make our lives and the lives of our loved ones better, but its up to us to decide to attempt to feel better. There is no miracle pill, but daily intentional actions can go a long way.

Like I said, I’m no expert. But, I’ve been where you are and, in some ways, I still am. I take my own advice and I’m better for it today. No, I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way.

Do you have any tips to improve body image? Let us know in the comments! We can all work to help each other! 🙂



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Maya is the founder of FabFineandFree.com and Fab Fine & Free GLAM Services. She is a mother, pizza-eater and a lover of life. She currently resides in St. Louis, MO.

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