I Haven’t Always Been This Way
Growing up I did NOT feel positive about my body, what so ever. Yes, I played a lot of sports and was active – but I never really felt in shape, or felt that I LOOKED the part. I constantly thought about what I was eating (yet didn’t exactly know what I should be eating, or how much). I basically would stick to salads, but drown them in salad dressing. Haha! I just didn’t have the knowledge back then about how much I should be eating, or what I should be eating.
Fast forward to college, on a basketball scholarship. Where the cafeteria was basically all you can eat (pre paid card to get in and out). I’m talking a burger station, sandwich station, chicken nugget station, salad station (but who really ate that, right?), there were SO many options! There was even an icecream station. I usually would get a bunch of chicken nuggets and honey mustard, and a homemade sandwich, everyday. Let’s be honest here, drinking also happened (I know, shocker), not every single day but a few times a week for sure. Long story short, half-way through the second semester I quit the basketball team. I DID keep up with my awful eating and drinking habits, though! Not good!
This is when my body image, and the way I felt about myself and my body really took a turn. I thought about it constantly, and hated the way I looked. It took over my thoughts with every step I took, and every time I saw myself in the mirror. I constantly said negative thoughts about my body and that I didn’t deserve ‘this’, or deserve ‘that’. I was awful to myself! When I would be drinking, is when those thoughts got even worse. I would see all these gorgeous girls at parties and feel SO low about myself. I would go into the bathroom (drunk), and basically start crying – or pinch/pull at my body where I hated it the most and get SO mad at myself. I hated my body and basically hated myself.
I’m sharing this because I want to be open and honest with you ALL. The road to having a positive mindset about yourself and your body is NOT an easy one, and it takes time. A lot of time and a lot of work.
Those college days are far behind me, but I want to share them with you because I want you to know that not everyone is born with that positive mindset, and no one is just born with the ability to have self-love towards themselves. I have not always been the way that I am now – I have not always loved myself and I definitely was not always positive about my body image either!
Negative Thoughts Damage You
When you think something negative towards yourself, you’re doing way more damage than you actually think. Negative thoughts can leave you feeling stressed out, which leads to hormone imbalances, which then affects the chemicals in the brain that make you happy, which can also hurt your immune system. They are all linked together!
Thinking negatively towards yourself is a problem that a lot people struggle with. Whether they tell you they are struggling or not. It might be about their body image, their work life, their financial situation, anything! Negative thoughts are like a poison for your body. If you are reading this thinking “I don’t ever say anything negative towards myself,” then I would say to you, that you are flat-out lying to yourself. This poison also includes negative thoughts about others and THEIR body’s, too. We have to stop these thoughts in their tracks right when they pop into your head.
If you’re still unsure if you do this, I want you to try to be SUPER aware of it today. I want you to stop those negative thoughts right as they happen – and replace it with something positive. You’ll be so surprised at how often this needs to happen in a day.
“ Brain: “That person runs so funny! Why are they running out in the street?”
— STOP RIGHT THERE—
Replace It With: “That is SO awesome that they are bettering their health, and outside running! Not a lot of people like to run in public. Good on them!” ”
Positive Affirmations Daily
Something I like to do, and it may seem silly to some of you, is to say positive affirmations every single day. Right when you wake up in the morning, or when you have some quiet time during the day, or even when you feel like you’re stressing out and those negative thoughts won’t go away. Take the time, and make it part of your day. Sit down and breathe, and say them out loud. Focus on them, and then move on with your day.
Positive affirmations are in the present tense, positive and are usually stated as a fact or the truth. They are short sentences and completely customized to you, for you.
- I am a strong woman.
- I will not compare myself to others.
- I am beautiful, and like no one else.
- I am right where I need to be at this very moment.
Some benefits of saying positive affirmations is that it leaves you feeling empowered, and down-right awesome. They also open your mind up to a new way of thinking. If at first you think a statement is slightly untrue, your brain is a creature of habit and will slowly open your mind up to that new thought. Since your brain is a creature of habit, repetition is key here. You’ll want to repeat it a few times, or repeat it a few times in the day.
Here are 7 other examples I found on The Happy Empire!
It Won’t Be Easy
Saying all of this is one thing, but actually doing it and practicing it, is another. It takes a lot of hard work and it is not going to come easy. Like I said before, the road to a positive mindset and having a positive relationship with your body takes a lot of hard work and time. You have to be consistent and really focus on it, if you want your mindset to completely change. Taking that time daily to say a few affirmations is so important. Taking the time to stop your negative thoughts, and replace them with positive thoughts is crucial! That right there can help set your mindset in the right direction. You will probably be pretty surprised at how often you need to stop those negative thoughts from creeping in. Not only the thoughts about yourself, but the thoughts you have about other people, too.
Since I’ve started doing this, I actually noticed that when people talk negatively about someone else, I just want to smack them! Those comments really bother me. It really affects me to hear negative thoughts and comments come out of someone elses mouth. How crazy that our brains REALLY are a creature of habit, and once you have been practicing these steps for a while, the brain starts to just do it on it’s own!
If you really want to change your negative mindset, you’re going to need to work on it. Plain and simple.
Fueling Your Body Properly
Another way that I like to work on my body positivity, is knowing what I put into my body and knowing that I am fueling my body properly. I notice when I eat out more than usual and I see the effects of bloating happen or I just feel awful because of the fried food, I am more likely to think negatively about myself.
Knowing that what you are eating is benefiting you and your health, is SO awesome for your relationship with your body! As an added bonus, it can repair that relationship with food, too if you had a bad relationship with food. For me, I used to think SO negatively towards food. It was the enemy and I would restrict myself so much! Now that I know how much to eat, what to eat and what is fueling my body, my relationship with food has done a complete 180! This has helped immensely with my road to body positivity!
Break A Sweat
I also make sure to exercise regularly! Working out releases endorphins and can set you up for your whole day! This can really help with keeping your mind positive and keeping your mind focused throughout the day.
Knowing that what I’m doing in my gym, is benefiting my mind AND body – that gives me the drive to keep going. Knowing that what you are doing in that very moment (though it may seem tough) is helping you in your road to body positivity – that right there should motivate you to break a little sweat!
Ditch The Scale
A major tip right here 👆🏼 you guys! One thing I have to thank for my body positivity, is the ability to forget about the scale and what the number says. I SOLELY rely on photos for tracking progress, and measuring myself. Ever wonder why I take so many damn pictures? Haha! THIS is why. With that being said, when I am measuring for progress, I only do it once a month, or every two months. This is not something to do daily.
Weighing yourself on the scale every day, or every few days can play so many tricks and mind games with your head. It can bring up BUTT LOADS of negative thoughts. This can impact your body positivity, your stress, your eating habits, your exercise habits, everything!
The scale just reads how heavy your body is at that moment in time. That is IT. It does not take into play your hormones, if its your time of the month, your muscle gains, your fat loss with muscle gains, your water intake, NONE OF THAT. Step off that scale, and measure yourself instead. Take those progress photos every month or two, and keep track of your progress that way. That is WAY more accurate for tracking progress than some silly number on the scale.
Pictured below is my current progress, and the scale has only gone up. Perfect example at what the scale does for you – NOTHING.
I recommend for you, if you are just starting out on your road to body positivity, to ACTUALLY get rid of the scale, or hide it completely. Heck, tell your significant other to hide it on you so you can’t find it! However, since I am being honest, I like to weigh myself at the start of a workout program, and at the end, that is it! BUT that is just my curiosity taking over and I am at that place where the number doesn’t bother me at all. When you hit that place, then bring it back out just to be curious every now and then. But PLEASE do not use it to track your progress.
If you read my blog post on progress photos, then you know to take those important front/side shots, but to also take some FUN photos! Make this process fun and exciting, and you’ll want to do it more often! I turn my progress photo days, into a little photo shoot and just have fun with it! You’ll see your comfort zone opening up, and you’ll feel more and more confident in your body each time!
You Are WORTH It
I want you to know that where ever you are, whatever stage you are in, you are beautiful and you are WORTH it. I know it seems hard to understand this at first, but each and every one of you is beautiful. Learning to love yourself where you are right now, is such a big step to having that body positivity and self-love.
The road to finding self-love and a positive relationship takes time, and a lot of work. You have to actually put forth the effort, if you truly want to change the way you think about yourself and your body.
I hope these tips that I use daily, can help you to find that self-love again and become a little bit more positive about your body, too – no matter what stage you are in. Take it from me, it was a long road, and a lot of hard work, but it is so gosh-darn worth it! I finally feel free of those negative thoughts, and I really do love the skin that I am in! (It feels amazing to be able to say those words out loud!)
Comment below if you have any questions, or just want to talk about your journey to self-love and body positivity!
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