12 Ways to Love Your Body Now for Women
Learn how to accept and love your body as a woman, and gain the freedom you deserve.
Research has shown that a whopping 84% of American women have experienced body dissatisfaction in their lifetimes.
In a society that places so much weight on our weight, it’s no wonder that so many women struggle with self-esteem and body image.
However, when it comes to learning how to love your body, the real problem isn’t about the weight.
It’s about not accepting yourself.
Read on to learn all about how to start accepting your body, just as it is today.
Society’s standards for women
If you’re a woman struggling with your body image, you’re not alone.
A survey conducted on 548 teenage girls showed that 69% found that they conceptualized their idea of an ideal body based on what they saw in magazines. Additionally, 47% of these young women reported wanting to lose weight after seeing these images.
With a culture that seemingly holds the worth of a woman within how she looks physically, it’s no surprise that women are so hard on themselves to look a certain way.
Society has placed unrealistic expectations on women for how their bodies should look in order to be deemed beautiful. We live in a culture of beauty standards that are always arbitrarily shifting.
In the 90’s and early 2000’s, the thin runway model was the epitome of beauty. In today’s world, the beauty standard has shifted to a curvy Kardashian-esque physique.
Fortunately, some brands have begun to step out against beauty standards. They’ve started representing all shapes and sizes in their advertisements and billboards.
However, in a world that glamourises physical appearance, it can be easy to slip into the mentality of placing a lot of emphasis on appearance in our own world.
Learning to accept and love your body unconditionally takes conscious effort, as we’re essentially having to deprogram ourselves from how society and diet culture have raised us.
Your worth isn’t in your body
Your inherent worth as a human being has nothing to do with cellulite on the side of your stomach. It has nothing to do with the gentle rolls that appear when you sit down, or the soft skin that hangs over the side of your jeans.
The inherent worth of your body is certainly not based on a number on the scale.
Deep down, part of you knows this to be true as well. For instance, consider your best friend, your mother, or that amazing teacher you had in high school. What is it that makes you value and love them so much?
Chances are, it isn't how good they look in a pair of jeans.
Rather, its about the qualities they possess, and the way they make you feel when you’re around them. It's about the things that they're interested in and the things that make them laugh. It's about how they treat those around them, and the kindness they emanate towards others.
So if their worth is not based on their bodies, why are you basing your worth on yours?
Losing weight won’t make you love your body, or yourself
The interesting thing about having a negative relationship with our bodies is that we think that if we change the way our body looks, everything around us will magically change as well.
We think that suddenly, other people will like us more.
We believe that we’ll feel better about ourselves and that we’ll be more confident.
Perhaps we think that we will attract the perfect partner.
The thing is, none of these things are contingent upon losing weight.
Changing the way your body looks does not guarantee that the external circumstances of your life will change.
The sobering reality is that nothing outside of yourself can make you really love yourself.
Nothing outside of yourself can grant you the inner peace you so deeply desire.
What does cause the changes in your world to start happening is how you feel about yourself and what you believe to be true of yourself.
Only you have the power to grant yourself true self-love, and this comes by making a choice.
It is about choosing to start being kind to yourself and to stop judging yourself so strongly.
It is about choosing to give yourself grace and to be patient with yourself.
Finally, it is about choosing to treat yourself like you would treat someone who you cherish.
You can accept and love your body right now.
12 ways to learn to love your body
One study indicated that around 70% of women withhold themselves from activities due to their body image.
When you learn to accept and love your body, you’ll realise that all the things you were holding yourself back from, you can have right now.
All the experiences you were putting off until you had a certain body, you can do right now.
It isn’t easy to change the way we think about ourselves, but it is fully possible.
Below are 12 ways for you to start accepting your body today.
1. Choose acceptance
This may sound redundant or even obvious, but it’s incredibly important that you make the conscious decision to choose acceptance. Deciding is a powerful act. It allows us to draw a line in the sand and separate what we will and will not tolerate, and who we choose to become and to leave behind.
Your default way of thinking right now probably lends itself to thoughts of self-inflicted bullying. If you’re going to start accepting, and even loving, your current body, you’re going to have to choose to do so.
This also means that you are choosing to no longer have a negative relationship with your body. You’re choosing to no longer bully yourself, engage in negative self-talk, or judge yourself.
Once you make the choice to choose acceptance, take the time to commend yourself. So much of the mental work that comes with changing our beliefs has to do with making the choice to change. It’s taken you a lot to get to this point, and you should be proud of the growth it signifies.
2. No more comparing
Have you ever heard the phrase, “comparison is the thief of joy?”
Comparing yourself to others will only make you feel worse, as you’ll be focusing on lack. For instance, say you saw a person who you deemed as having a “perfect” body, and you began to engage in thoughts of, “I wish I had that body.”
Energetically, you’re focusing on what you feel you don’t have, which puts you on a vibration of lack which will continue to draw in more feelings of lack into your life.
Rather, you can choose these moments to be grateful. When you see a woman who triggers a comparative thought in your mind, try to replace these thoughts with something you feel grateful for about your own body.
3. Stop judging other women’s bodies
Learning to accept and love your own body means learning to accept and love other women’s bodies as well. When you judge another woman for her body, you’re validating to yourself that a person’s worth is based on their body. You’re also perpetuating the idea to yourself that a person’s body is a sounding board for opinions and critiques. Just like loving ourselves helps us to innately love others, accepting other peoples’ bodies will help us accept our own.
Oftentimes, when we’re critical of something in someone else, it’s because we’re actually critical of that thing within ourselves. A negative feeling we may have towards someone because of their body is a signal that we feel this way about our own body.
When you find yourself judging someone based on their appearance, try to offer them a compliment instead. You don’t need to say it to them, although this would certainly help them and you feel good. If you aren’t comfortable sharing the compliment, you can just think of it in your mind. Shifting your focus from judgment to acceptance with other people will help you do this for yourself as well.
4. Create realistic self-love affirmations
Affirmations are a powerful tool that we can use to change the way we think and even shift what we believe. They’re a direct line to helping us reprogram our conscious and subconscious minds.
The way we talk to ourselves is so important when it comes to what our lives look like. This is because our thoughts lead to our feelings, our feelings lead to our actions, and our actions make up our lives.
Using affirmations allows us to shift our negative self-talk and creates a domino effect of positivity that ripples outward.
When focusing on loving your body, create an affirmation that you can recite every day.
When it comes to affirmations, what’s more important isn’t necessarily what you’re saying, but rather, how what you’re saying makes you feel.
That’s why it’s so important that what you’re affirming feels authentic to you. Additionally, it’s important that what you’re saying feels believable to you.
If you’re in a place where you feel you truly hate your body, it likely won’t feel believable to you to recite, “I love my body.” This is such a stark contrast from how you’re feeling presently that it can feel out of reach.
Instead, create affirmations that you can really believe in right now. Below are some affirmation ideas to help you get started:
- My body is the least interesting thing about me
- I choose to work towards accepting my body as it is
- My body is deserving of my respect
You can recite these affirmations first thing in the morning or last thing before you go to bed. You can also program them as alarms into your phone, so that they pop up during the day as much-needed reminders.
5. Give thanks to your body
This can be easy to forget when we live in a world that’s heavily focused on appearance, but your body isn’t just there to look good. Your body serves countless purposes, most of which are rooted in keeping you alive and protected.
As often as you can, try to shift your perspective on your body from appearance to gratitude for all it does for you.
Give thanks to your body for all it does, from protecting your organs, to allowing you to taste delicious food, and allowing you to hug the people you love. Every single day, our bodies allow us to do so many things that we may take for granted, so try shifting your focus towards gratitude for your body.
6. Push back against fatphobia
How does the word fat make you feel?
Does it have a negative connotation?
Do you fear being fat, or does it bring up a sense of hatred?
Fatphobia is the fear or hatred of being fat. It views being fat as being inherently wrong.
Try pushing back against this idea, and ask yourself, what is so wrong with being fat? Does it make someone a bad person? Does it make someone undeserving? Of course, it doesn't.
Being significantly overweight can cause many health issues, but so can stress. People aren’t generally vilified for being stressed, but they are for being fat.
Conversely, there are many people who suffer from the same health conditions who aren’t visibly overweight, and they aren’t judged in the same way that those who are overweight are. This is a byproduct of living in a fatphobic society.
Take the time to explore your feelings around being fat and what this means to you. If you think you may be fatphobic, try not to judge yourself for it, but just explore where these thoughts and feelings have come from. Pushing back on these thoughts can help you develop a better relationship with your own body.
7. Ditch the scale
Hide your scale, or even better, get rid of it completely. For many people who struggle with body image, the daily weigh-in on the scale has the power to make or break your day.
Our weight is constantly fluctuating. The number on the scale is comprised not only of fat, but also of muscle mass, water retention, and bone density.
Two women who look completely different in terms of their body shape can weigh the exact same when they step on the scale. This is because they both have unique body compositions.
When we have a really great week of eating well and moving our bodies and then we step on the scale and see the number hasn’t shifted, it can truly wreck us. The thing is, it’s not about that number on the scale. It’s about how you feel. It’s about how well you’re treating yourself.
If the scale causes you stress or if you feel like a slave to the scale, just get rid of it. It’s only hurting you, and it doesn’t do anything to tell you how healthy you actually are.
Rather, focus on how you feel and how well you’ve been treating yourself. You can also explore getting blood work done at your doctor’s office in order to keep tabs on your health.
8. Shift your exercise perspective
Shifting your perspective on exercise can help you develop a better relationship with taking care of your body. Sometimes, after eating something that you feel guilty for having, you may say that you need to then burn it off with exercise. This forms of punitive relationship with exercise.
Rather than exercising as a form of punishment, use exercising as a form of movement and joy. Exercise isn't just meant to reshape our bodies. It's meant to keep our bodies healthy, reduce stress, and make us feel good.
There are many different ways to exercise and keep your body moving to keep it healthy. If you don't enjoy running and it makes you miserable, don't run. If you do enjoy taking a dance class, then do that instead. Exercise doesn't have to be a chore and it doesn't have to be torturous. Find a form of exercise that brings you joy, and that's truly fun for you.
9. Clean up your social media
Today’s world is full of social media feeds that feature everyone’s best moments. Social media is so beautiful in that it allows us to connect, but it can also be damaging if we’re not careful about who we choose to follow.
One study showed that using social media for as little as 30 minutes a day can have a negative impact on how women view their bodies.
If you follow accounts that inherently make you feel bad about yourself, unfollow them. Although you may feel like seeing unrealistic body types on your social media feed isn’t affecting you, research shows that constant exposure to this actually correlates with lower body image.
Since we internalize the images and messages we receive, it’s important to take control of this aspect of your social media. Go through the accounts you follow and unfollow the ones that don’t make you feel empowered or good about yourself.
Additionally, follow more accounts that do make you feel empowered. Follow people who have bodies that look like yours, and who share messages of self-love and body acceptance. This way, you choose what types of messages you’re internalizing.
10. Rethink your social circle
Cleaning up your social media is a way to create boundaries online, but make sure you’re doing this in real life, too.
If you have “friends” or family members who don’t make you feel empowered or feel good about yourself, maybe it’s time to rethink those relationships. If you have “friends” who put you down or make you feel bad about yourself, it might be time to let those people go.
People who truly love you would never put you down or make you feel bad about yourself, and you’re worthy of being loved unconditionally. It might sound scary or isolating to clear people out of your life, but it opens up more space for the right people to come your way.
11. Focus on acceptance
When we talked about affirmations earlier, we touched on how jumping from hating your body to loving your body can feel like a stretch. If focusing on loving your body feels too hard or too unrealistic for you right now, try to focus on acceptance instead.
Instead of focusing on loving your body, start off by focusing on accepting your body just as it is. This is a form of body neutrality, rather than body positivity.
An example of practising this would be if you found yourself having negative thoughts about your arms. Let’s say you were having thoughts such as, “My arms are so disgusting and flabby.” These thoughts are clearly very negative, and by having these thoughts we connect a strong emotion with our body, which is inherently neutral. Body-positivity in this instance would be to say, “I love my arms.” However, this can feel inauthentic for some.
Focusing on body neutrality would mean that you’d tell yourself, “These are my human arms on my human body. They just are.” These neutral thoughts have no emotion tied to them. Practising body neutrality can be incredibly liberating, especially in a society where so much emotion has become tied to the body.
12. Find a body-positive counsellor or therapist
If your struggles with body image are impeding on your quality of life, it may be incredibly helpful to speak with a counsellor or therapist who specialises in body image. Accepting and eventually loving your body isn’t easy when you’ve hated it for so long, and it’s an ongoing process. Having the guidance and support of a professional can help you feel understood and empowered as you go on this journey of true self-love.
Additionally, body image issues may be rooted in trauma, or low self-worth that began in childhood. These concerns are best unpacked and explored with a therapist or counsellor who can offer you a safe and supportive space to explore all of your feelings.
Author - Thurga
6 ways to release self -judgement and start accepting yourself
- Body Image Statistics 2022: 47+ Shocking Facts & Stats https://breakbingeeating.com/body-image-statistics/
- Taking action on body image: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/370677/Body_image_final_17.10.14.pdf