12 Body Positive Affirmations For Beating A Case Of The Body "Blahs"

 

I know the feeling all too well:

You’ve just started to make peace with your self-critical demons of the past and put body shame behind you. You are almost beginning to forget the last time you had a negative thought about your body.

Then, something sets you off:

Maybe you catch yourself at an unflattering angle in the mirror or see a picture of yourself that doesn’t look how you imagined. Or perhaps it’s a comment from a friend, family member, or even a stranger that stops you in your tracks. Whatever the trigger, the spiral has begun. Suddenly you can’t STOP being preoccupied with your appearances.

You wonder: what happened to that version of me who felt so secure? Has all the work toward her body confidence been unraveled?

Take heart, brave soul, and know that the journey toward body positivity is not linear.  We’re bound to encounter setbacks and body shame relapses on the road to healing. That’s why a strong support system and a set of effective tools are so important for navigating bumps in the road.

Next time you're experiencing a case of the body "blahs"—try using body positive affirmations.

Through affirmations, we consciously replace negative thoughts with positive words, with the ultimate aim of genuinely adopting the thoughts that are in our highest good. Over time and repeated use of the affirmations, positive thoughts are more likely to come to the surface unconsciously and automatically.

Now, I’m not talking about telling yourself a bunch of fluff and stuff. The key to an effective affirmation is that the words are TRUE. They aren’t outlandish statements that you have to trick yourself to believe. Rather, the affirmations are drawn from what you, in your most grounded, centered, and loving place, could state in truth about yourself.

Put these 12 mantras in your self-love arsenal for the next time you feel a spiral of negativity coming on.

Pick and choose the ones that resonate with you. Write them in your journal, speak them out loud in front of the mirror, or simply think them to yourself.

Rinse and repeat.

The thoughts you repeatedly affirm can become your truth.  

1. My body is a gift and my vehicle for experiencing this life.

2. My body is the only one I have in this lifetime. It is deserving of love and respect.

My body is the only one I have in this lifetime. It is deserving of love and respect.

3. I refuse to waste my time on this earth obsessing about my body. Instead, I choose to devote my energy to the things that are important to me.

I refuse to waste my time on this earth obsessing about my body. Instead, I choose to devote my energy to the things that are important to me.

4. Bodies inevitably change. I accept my body the way that it looks today, and I will accept it the way it looks tomorrow.

5. Food is nourishment for my body, mind, and soul. I grant myself permission to eat without guilt or shame.

Food is nourishment.  I grant myself permission to eat without guilt or shame.

6. I exercise to be kind to my body, not to punish it.

I work out because I love my body, not because I hate it.

7. I love these three things about my body: _____, _____, _____.
 

8. I cannot be confined to numbers: my weight, measurements, or size do not define me. My worth and value are beyond measure.

I cannot be confined to numbers: my weight, measurements, or size do not define me. My worth and value are beyond measure.

9. I am grateful for the things my body allows me to do. 

I am grateful for the things my body allows me to do. 

10. What other people think of my body will not affect my opinion of myself.
 

11. I am more than my body. I am greater than my appearances.

I am more than my body.

12. I am a kind, loving, strong, and intelligent person, and these qualities shine out of me regardless of how I look.

 

Seven Reasons You Should Cut Comparison and Mind Your Own Body Business

 
"Comparison is the thief of joy"

You know that comparing yourself to others is “bad.” Perhaps you’ve pinpointed that comparing your physique to another person’s leaves you feeling like crap and distracts you from experiencing gratitude for the body you have. 

Even knowing these things, it can be exceedingly difficult to remove ourselves from the comparison game. We have an instinctual drive to want to define ourselves in relation to others. In addition, social media gives us an endless stream of material for comparing our looks to others. 

In last week’s blog post, I explored one reason why (even brief) exposure to idealized images in the media can be harmful to our body image (more on that here). I proposed we use August to clear our lives of images that drive comparison.

Have you purged your social media feeds of this material yet?

Apart from making you feel shitty about yourself, here are seven compelling reasons you should try to retire from the practice of comparison for good and mind your own body business.

1.  Comparison takes you out of the present moment.

The present is all we know we have; the only time we are guaranteed on this earth. Do you really want to spend those precious moments worried about how your body matches up with someone else’s?

If you’re beating yourself up for how you look comparatively, you’re living in the past, likely fretting about what you ate or how you spent your time up until this point. (This script goes: “If only I had the willpower to get up at [fill in the ungodly hour] to work out every day, I could look like that too...”)

In contrast, if you’re worried about how you’re going to meet a beauty standard set by someone else, I bet you’re jumping into the future, creating mental lists and plans for how you “should” be living. (“I swear I’m going to start waking up at the buttcrack of dawn to run, starting tomorrow… “). By spending your time looking outside of yourself for targets and goals, you miss out on the here and now.

Do you ever look at old pictures of yourself and think: “Wow I looked great, what was I so worried about?” Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell a former version of myself to RELAX. I wasted so much time worrying about nothing.

All you can do is appreciate where you are right now.

2. Comparison robs you of memories.

To this day, I have vivid memories of being around family members or friends while stuck in a spiral of comparison. I was not able to enjoy this time with others (and I’m sure I wasn’t a bundle of laughs to be around either) because I couldn’t snap myself out of the negativity brought on by comparative thinking. I can’t get that time back.

During one particularly bad episode while I was in high school, I recall being at an amusement park (Cedar Point, aka “America’s Roller Coast,” for those of you who are familiar) with friends. This was a day that should have been full of fun, sun, rides, and fries, but I spent the entire day fixated on how unattractive I felt. Literally the whole day. I looked at every other female in that park through a lens of comparison (I’m bigger than her, she’s so much cuter than me, I could never pull off that outfit, etc.). I don’t recall any conversations with friends that day. Not a single one. That day (among many others in that phase of my life) was ruined by comparison

3. In comparing, you limit yourself.

By comparing yourself to someone else, you fail to honor that your body is unique and the only expression of you in this world. So much beauty lies in differences: why should we all strive to fit the same plastic mold we are told is “ideal”?  

4. Comparison is counterproductive.

Some people turn to “fitspo” or “thinspiration” as a means of defining a goal, but this behavior is often more detrimental than it is helpful to goal-setting. Since comparison typically brings on negative emotional states (feelings of inadequacy and insecurity), achievement of goals is hampered. Don’t you think you’d be more likely to go on that run if you’re feeling good about your body and its capabilities rather than hating on yourself? So stop looking outside yourself for motivation, and show yourself some love instead.

5. Comparison ignores the big picture.

By comparing yourself to someone else, you are judging yourself based on a superficial understanding of another person’s life. You fail to acknowledge that you know nothing of the other person’s struggles and sacrifices.

Often, if we experience envy of another person’s body, it is not just that person’s physical form we are after. It is what we imagine comes with that body; what we imagine that person thinks and feels because of how they look. We assume that physical attractiveness (whatever that might mean in the context) equates with a better life, greater success, and more positive state of mind. But that is not necessarily the case. The person whose body you are coveting may be miserable; trapped in a comparison game of her own. It’s impossible to know for sure.

6. Comparison is a losing game.

There will always be someone more [fill in the blank]. Keep chasing that carrot and you will never be satisfied.

7. Comparison says more about YOU than the other person.

Using someone else’s looks as a measuring stick for your own pride can be just as harmful as looking at another through a lens of envy. While you may get a temporary boost by thinking you look “better” than someone else, ultimately your self-worth is hinging on the perceived disadvantage of another person. If you’re judging someone else’s body as less worthy than your own, it’s time to ask yourself why.

What are you afraid of? What is threatening about the other person’s body? Why do you feel the need to judge the way the other person is showing up in the world? Are you making assumptions about the other person’s lifestyle or “health” based on how they look? Where are these beliefs coming from?  

More often than not, judging another person based on her looks speaks volumes to our own fears and insecurities. For example, if I were to experience disdainful thoughts about an “overweight” person, I might want to examine (a) why I had formed a connection that being overweight is “bad” and (b) whether my snap judgment of that person stemmed from my own fears about my body.

Because if I truly felt good about myself and secure in my own skin, there would be no reason to be thinking nasty thoughts about someone else.

Do you find yourself getting stuck in the comparison trap when it comes to body image? Click below to download my cheat sheet for getting out of comparative mode quickly.

 

How A Couple Minutes Can Hurt Your Body Image

 
A New Study on Perception Calls For a Body Image Reset

Did you know that your perception of your body size can be altered in as little as two minutes?

Neither did I.

My mind was just blown by a recent study I read which examined the effect of exposure to different body sizes on self-perception (you can read about this Macquarie University study here).

In the first segment of the study, subjects were presented with images of bodies that had been digitally distorted to look thinner or larger than the true size of the people in the photos. Subjects were also shown similarly distorted images of their own bodies.

The effects were surprising and profound.

In both experiments, the subjects reported perceiving their own bodies as “abnormally fat” after they were shown images that had been contracted to look thinner. In other words, "being exposed to images of skinny people doesn't just make you feel bad about your own body size, which has been known for a while, it actually affects the perceptual mechanisms in your brain and makes you think you are bigger . . . than you really are,” said a co-author of the study.

And, even though the subjects were considered psychologically healthy individuals, their self-perception could be altered in as little as two minutes of exposure to the distorted images.  

This new evidence speaks volumes to how susceptible we may be to media images manipulating our self-image.  

It's no mystery that the average woman presented in the media is exponentially thinner than the average woman (the average model wears a size 00 to 0, while the average U.S. woman is between a 12 to 14). Not only that, media images are many times altered (photoshopped, "facetuned," what have you) to make the women depicted look even thinner than they are.

This new study suggests that exposure to these impossible creatures can make us perceive altered, ultra-thin body types as the new “normal."  

We then see our own unaltered bodies as “abnormal.”  

In as little as two minutes.

Just spend a couple minutes looking at certain magazines or social media accounts, and it’s like you’re looking at yourself through a distorted funhouse mirror.

If this is possible after only two minutes, think of the effect of a lifetime of exposure to distorted media images. 

Everything we think of as normal is really just the result of a lifetime of exposure and stimulation. 

Crazy, huh?

I propose we use the month of August to hit the "reset" button.

For the next 30 days, I challenge you to clear your life of images that may negatively influence your self-perception (to the extent this is within your control, of course). You know what that means...

Put the magazine down.

I know, I know. Those glossy pages. The cute outfit ideas. The fun little perfume samples. They catch your eye on the way out of the supermarket or at an airport convenience store.

I used to buy fashion or fitness magazines “just for fun.” But, trust me, the effect was not so fun... (more on that another time). Knowing what I know now, I would rather sit through a transcontinental flight twiddling my thumbs instead of subjecting myself to the crap in most magazines.

Read a book instead. And furthermore...

Chill out with the social media scrolling.

If you follow accounts that constantly offer up unrealistic images (I'm looking at you, "fitspo"), or users whose posts make your inner critic start yelling "why don’t my abs look like that?" or "I need to start eating zucchini strings instead of pasta," it is time to say goodbye (at least for now). 

Here are a handful of Instagram accounts that I follow instead. These body positive accounts will leave you feeling inspired rather than inadequate.

Replace your exposure to distorted, unrealistic images with positive messages of self-love for the rest of this month, and I bet you’ll feel a little more at peace in your own beautiful body by September.  

If you want to take your body confidence to the next level, sign up for my mini-course: Three Steps To Spark Body Confidence and Ditch Your Inner Mean Girl. It’s totally free and will teach you real, actionable steps to transform your relationship with your body. Click here to enroll.