A Toronto Transformation

Ten Ways to Boost Your Body Confidence

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It seems to be such a rare thing to find a woman who is comfortable in her own skin.

And with good reason, I think.

There are far too many people who stand to profit from keeping women insecure, preoccupied and dissatisfied with how they look, to extremely detrimental effect to women, girls and society overall.

So when I encounter one of these unicorn women, I am fascinated.

There are days when I am one myself, days when I live somewhere between “I am stunningly, sparklingly gorgeous!” and “Who cares? I have more important things to think about!”

But there are definitely days when I am not.

So, with the help of my beautifully confident cronies, I’ve come up with a list of body confidence-boosters in the hopes that I (and you, if you need it!) can have more of those radiantly self-assured days, unplagued by concerns about just how many dimples have taken up residence in my butt fat.

Be busy: Finding other things to focus on is a huge help for me. It’s usually when I’m bored or unemployed that I start fixating on my appearance. Volunteer! Work with kids, pet cats, anything that makes you more gorgeous on the inside.

Stay away from reflective surfaces: My friend Emma says she makes a conscious effort to not constantly check her reflection as she goes about her day. I like this idea a lot. I think it’s a really good idea to check in with how you feel in place of how you look, and to try not to get into the habit of obsessing. I say give yourself one sexy grin before you leave the house, in part to start the day on a positive, friendly-type note, and then also to check that you don’t have blueberries in your teeth and then let it go. Win-win!

Focus on what your body can do, rather than what it looks like: Emma says on days when she’s walking down the street and feeling a twinge of dissatisfaction with her appearance, she tries to switch her focus on what her body is capable of, and the fact that she’s able to walk at all.

As someone who has gone through walking being an excruciating ordeal where a walker assisted limp down a ten foot hallway left me ready to collapse, this little shift in perspective is really effective for me, especially when I’m feeling self-conscious about my compression stocking.

Exercise: There’s nothing like feeling healthy and energetic to improve your outlook on everything, including your body. While I typically face the un-mirrored wall at Barreworks, at some point the whole class faces the mirror and it’s often watching my beautiful muscles work while I do bicep curls that I feel just damned great about my body. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that I’m all high on endorphins either.

Get thee to yoga: Not for the meditation and mindfulness, though I’m sure that is helpful too, but to be surrounded by scantily clad real-life people with a diverse range of body types not seen in our popular media. I find Bikram is especially good for this.

Bypass magazines featuring models airbrushed and photoshopped beyond belief(they exist, I swear! Check out Worn): Even if you’re extremely hip to the fact that what you’re looking at has often been drastically altered, there is still a sense that this is what you are meant to strive for.

Resist joining in group body lamentations: Remember that scene from Mean Girls where Lindsay Lohan is baffled by the rest of the girls’ tearing a strip off their own bodies and faces? It’s so easy to say “That’s crazy, you’re lovely… I know what you mean though, I hate my thighs” We do so love to commiserate, but is it really all that helpful in the long run?

Get rid of your ugly clothes: No matter how much you love that little dress on its hanger, if it makes you tug, cringe and just feel generally self-conscious, donate that thing immediately. Wear clothing that lets you feel comfortable and beautiful. Same goes for the “skinny jeans” you’ve been waiting to fit back into since you were 15. If you happen to lose some weight, just buy new jeans. Those old ones are just undermining the way you feel about your current size.

Get enough sleep: Sparkling eyes and a winning smile are so much harder to summon if you’re exhausted.

Extend the same kindness you would to others towards yourself and your appearance: Don’t be your own bully. When you look in the mirror and think “Stupid giant pores” tell that voice to go straight to hell. It would never occur to you to say that to someone else, so don’t be vicious to yourself.

If all else fails and you find yourself frowning unkindly at your reflection, exaggerate it, make your meanest face and then dance around like a lunatic. I have no idea if anyone else does this, but it always helps me lighten up when I’m about to give myself a hard time.

What kind of body confidence do you guys have? Do you have any other tips or tricks you use to boost yours?

 

16 Responses to Ten Ways to Boost Your Body Confidence

  • Wow, I love this! I’m like you- there are days I feel stunning and days I feel absolutely frumpy. One of my tips for boosting body confidence is dancing. Dancing simply feels good, and it is so fun to move the body with the music. Also, going to a bellydance show, one with a diverse range of body types (or better yet, take a class).

    I love that you say to avoid the group body lamentations. At this point in my life, those conversations are just draining. Can’t we talk about something more interesting? I also avoid blog posts by fellow bloggers (whom I like) that talk about how to get a better body, how to look good naked. There is only one way to look good naked: get naked and put on a smile.

    • metamorphocity says:

      Dancing is such a good tip! I’d love to try belly dancing too! Also, “Get Naked and put on a smile” is about the best look good naked advice I’ve ever heard!

  • Emma says:

    Rachel, I love your comment about dancing! And I have to add: strutting!! (sp?)
    I love to put some great music on my ipod and stomp all the way home from the subway like a supermodel. I think I must look totally over the top and hilarious, but it puts me in the best mood ever! Plus the lovely old man who runs the video store on my street gives me the nicest smile every day when I strut by… Or is he smirking… Oh well 🙂

    • Hanna says:

      AGREE AGREE! Tattooed Love Boys by the Pretenders or the Mark Ronson version of Valerie with Amy Winehouse…so good to strut to!!! 😀

    • metamorphocity says:

      I can absolutely picture you doing this. I actually used to do this a lot when walking to high school. Friends recognized me from far away by my over-the-top hip-swaying strut. Then my mom teased me about it (not overly meanly I’m sure, but my sensitive 15-year-old self was not amused) and I stopped doing it. I’m thinking it’s time to bring it back!

  • Hanna says:

    This is a wonderful list.

    Unfortunately, many yoga studios in LA *are* full of tiny women rather than bodies of all sizes, and a great many of them are the type that look down on other peoples bodies…terrible!! I understand that it’s LA though, and unfortunately this can sometimes be the reality of this place. That’s why I enjoy youtubing yoga and doing it in my bedroom 😀

    I am 100% with you on the exaggerated grumpy face. Sometimes all you can do is laugh at your own piss-poor attitude to make it better!

    • metamorphocity says:

      It’s too bad there’s such a lack of diversity in the LA studios. I’m sure there are studios like that here as well, I just lucked out with mine! Nothing wrong with some youtube yoga, though. Maybe I will create my own series of grumpyface yoga. “Now, we move from very cranky toestand to bitchy standing bow”

  • Peggy says:

    In general, I feel people are less obsessed with constant focusing on how your body looks like in Canada. Or I am just thinking so. Commenting on your body is part of daily greeting in east Asia, which annoyed me a lot when I grew up. I become very self concious even now when I am with my Chinese friends. My own way to boost my body confidence is to go to a Gap or Banana Republic store and find myself in a size Small without much effort.

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