Photo credit – Shutterstock
1. Stop weighing yourself every day
It sets yourself up for a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ each morning which will dictate your mood and the rest of the day. Weight can alter by up to 4-6lbs in 24 hours and it tells you nothing about your health. We’d advocate ditching the scales altogether, but if you have to weigh yourself do so once a week at the same time wearing the same clothes (or no clothes). Hide your scales so you don’t just stand on them automatically without thinking. Put them in a cupboard so you actually have to choose to get them out.
2. Pay attention to compliments
People with body image insecurities will dismiss compliments or ignore them – they don’t tally with the view you have of yourself so they must be nonsense, right? WRONG. For one week write down every single compliment you get, e.g. “great work”, “your advice really helped”, “that was funny”, “I love your trousers”, “you look nice”. By writing them down you’ll be forcing yourself to pay attention. At the end of the week re-read through them all. Accepting your good bits – you wrote them down so they’re true -will make you look at yourself more positively.
3. Find the good things
You need to learn how to focus your mental spotlight on your achievements and the good things about a situation so the next time you make a mistake or something goes wrong you won’t beat yourself up about it.
Next, for one week, before you go to bed write down three things you did well that day. Anything: making someone laugh, handing in a piece of work on time, only checking your compact mirror twice the whole day. At the end of the week read through your notes. See? You aren’t a failure – there are good and bad sides to everything. Looking for the good in situations and in how you cope with them will bolster your self-esteem.
4. Cut down on social media and online celeb stalking
Be honest now: do you spend hours analysing celebrity bodies or pictures of yourself online? If so, how does it make you feel – better or worse about yourself? When we feel insecure we actively look for flaws, for things that back-up our view about ourselves. We’ll pore over pictures of bodies that we think are ‘better’ than our own or pictures of ourselves that confirm our worst fears (“look at my fat legs!”) or make us long for the past (“I wish I still looked like that”). This is incredibly damaging and unfair. Get rid of celebrity websites from your desktop or on your phone so they’re not easily accessible and log-out of any appearance-related forums so you actually have to consciously choose to access them. Give yourself a two day ban and then ask yourself: “do I feel better or worse about myself not looking?” We’ll bet big money (a fiver OK?) that you’ll feel infinitely better.
5. Repeat after me: you are NOT a collection of parts, you are a whole person
Don’t zone in on just one feature when you look in a mirror (and ban magnifying mirrors altogether) – take in your whole face or body. You need to stop seeing yourself as a collection of body parts (“my stomach is so gross”). By taking in the whole picture you’ll be more inclined to simply look at rather than analyse your appearance as you’re not dissecting individual details. So, not “how does my nose look today?” but “how do I look today?” Be really strict about this and stop yourself every time you catch yourself looking at that one so-called ‘flaw’ and you’ll discover a new determination to see yourself as a whole person spilling over into other aspects of your life. You’ll gradually start believing that your looks don’t define you. Remember: you could look like a Greek goddess, but still be an arsehole. You are so much more than how you look.