Here we are heading into summer! I’m not sure any of us know what to fully expect over the summer months with all going on in the world. But we can expect the weather to warm up (which means wearing less clothes than you’ve been used to lately), and maybe more trips to the pool (which means putting on a swimsuit).
All this can put more focus on your appearance and easily make you feel more body-conscious. If you don’t prepare yourself well, it can be an abrupt change that challenges your resiliency to negative body image thoughts.
So as I was pondering what would feel most timely for this month’s blogpost, I’d imagine you’d benefit from exploring how to head into summer with a positive body image… which starts with knowing what a positive body image actually is.
It’s a common misconception that positive body image is always liking or loving how you look. Instead, positive body image is a result of relating to your body in positive ways, regardless of how you look. So, positive body image isn’t so much something you feel, but something you do.
Relating to your body in positive ways can look a lot of different ways, and I’ll include a few examples below:
- You honor and respect your hunger and fullness cues by focusing on how you feel rather than how you look.
- You intentionally find positive things your body does for you or allows you to do, regardless of appearance.
- You wear clothes that fit and that help you feel comfortable in your body.
- When negative body image thoughts are overwhelming and it feels like the most important thing is to “fix” your body, you intentionally put those negative thoughts in perspective by remembering all the things that are more valuable and meaningful to you than how you look.
- You connect with your body through physical activity that you enjoy and makes you feel good, rather than punishing your body through exercise.
- You speak kindly to and about your body, and about others’ bodies.
I want to recognize that there are a lot of social and cultural influences that impact the way you feel about your body. They might include societal pressures, cultural expectations, social comparisons, weight bias, fat phobia, media outlets, social media, advertising, popular culture, family dynamics, ethnic influences, past and/or current trauma, biological predispositions and mental illness.
I’d recommend reviewing that list and identifying what variables you can control. For example, what media are you taking in? What boundaries have you set with family (if necessary)? Are you getting treatment for mental health concerns? Can you work to challenge your own internalized weight bias or fat phobia?
I’d also like to share 10 body image truths for you to keep handy; I hope they feel empowering to you:
- Respecting and taking care of your body will help you feel more comfortable in it.
- You don’t have to like your body in order to be kind to it.
- While there are many outside influences, your body image is deeply personal.
- Separating worth and value from appearance supports positive body image.
- Practice acceptance by having an accurate and neutral perception of your body shape and size.
- Comparison is lethal to body image.
- Respect for your body is a more effective goal than always feeling love for your body.
- Positive body image means respecting other people’s bodies too, and the natural diversity in body shape, color and size.
- Positive body image is supported by thinking about your body less overall, not feeling preoccupied or obsessed with your appearance.
- Your appearance is the least interesting thing about you. You are more than a body!
I hope this helps you put things into perspective as you head into summer. I’m rooting for you!
Lastly, we have some really great and timely topics coming up over the summer months inside Eat Confident Collective.
June: Snacking with Confidence. We will be busting 6 common snacking myths, teaching you 3 specific strategies for snacking with confidence, and including 50 quick and easy snack ideas that incorporate the principles we will teach you.
July: How to Build a Positive Body Image. Summer is definitely a time you need more body image support. We will be teaching our members our body image system for building a stable, mature, positive and healthy relationship with their body.
August: Emotional Eating. Emotional eating isn’t a bad habit, it’s a sign to you that current coping strategies are inadequate for current stressors. We’d like to break down the stigma and judgment around emotional eating while also giving you more tools in your emotional wellness tool kit.
We’d love to have you join us inside Eat Confident Collective! Click here to learn more about this monthly membership group coaching program.