I always laugh when someone tells me they think I’m confident, because I feel like I am SO far from it. When I think of a confident woman, I think of Rihanna, Eva Chen, Anna Wintour, Priyanka Chopra, Dua Lipa, Deepica Mutyala — you get what I’m saying. I never thought someone “normal,” let alone someone who’s had body image issues all her life, could have confidence. But I’ve discovered confidence is less about if you have a successful career, or you have six pack abs, or you finally met the partner of your dreams; it’s about you feeling comfortable in your own skin, regardless of where your life is going in that moment.
Finding peace with yourself doesn’t have to start with some big revelation, so we’re giving you actionable steps you can take every day for two weeks to feel better about your own body image.
Day 1: Throw out your scale
The second I did this, my entire life changed. It’s a lot of pressure to have that lying around your home, and it gives this arbitrary thing, like a number on the scale, so much power over your life. If you’re worried about not being able to check your weight every so often, know that you can always ask at the doctor’s office. There’s no reason I need to know how much I weigh, and it’s truly riveting to just stop worrying so much about a number.
Day 2: Unfollow negative sources of inspiration
I consistently do Instagram audits where I unfollow anyone who doesn’t share the same values as I do, but it’s less common for me to do it elsewhere. Facebook can be a very negative space if your news feed is constantly people complaining about their own bodies or giving unsolicited advice. Unfriend and unfollow people who don’t share the same vision as you do for your body. Not only does this spread negative vibes all over your favorite space to find recipes and positive body inspo, it also signals to your brain that this type of body talk is okay.
Day 3: Make a list of your favorite traits about yourself
I know, I know, it sounds cheesy, and it is. I’m not going to lie to you. However, it puts you in a mindset of thinking positively about yourself — something we’re not always encouraged to do. Women who love themselves are often seen as conceited or bitchy. In reality, it’s totally okay, actually encouraged, to admit how much you love the way you look in your favorite jeans or how much you love your hair.
This list doesn’t have to be exclusive to physical traits. We’re all more than a body, so it’s important to understand what personality and leadership traits you feel confident in and proud of.
Day 4: Make a list of what you’d like to change and decide how you’ll change it
Now that you’ve made a list of everything you love about yourself, make a list of the aspects that you can change or improve about yourself. Make sure these are actionable, attainable goals, and decide the steps you will take to get there.
For example, I want to eat healthier. (Don’t we all?) Instead of constantly saying I want to eat healthier and still buying lunch, I can make a plan of exactly how I’m going to implement healthy eating into my daily life. I can meal prep my lunches rather than eating out, set aside one night a week to go out with my friends, and make a new healthy recipe every week.
In this step, it’s also important to accept the parts of your body that you cannot change. This most definitely isn’t a one-day thing, but by figuring out what you can change, you begin accepting and loving your body for what it is.
Day 5: See food as fuel
Not everyone feels healthy eating a salad, just as some people naturally feel gross drinking a glass of soda. When there’s so many different diets and ways to eat out there, it can be hard to feel like you’re eating the “right” thing. Do some digging and eat what feels right for your own body. Figure out how your body likes to be nourished. Looking at food as a fuel rather than something we need to indulge in all the time allows you to understand what it is that makes your body feel good. If you just can’t get through a kale salad, that is just fine.
Day 6: Spend time with your body
Take some time today to get in your favorite swimsuit or that sports bra you bought when you were feeling yourself. It’ll feel awkward and uncomfortable at first, but as you keep walking around, cooking dinner, and snuggling with your dog, you’ll start to get used to it.
There’s something about spending time with your body that sort of lets you get used to it. It’s easy to get dressed every morning and feel like you’re not really paying attention to your body. Taking time to get comfortable with your body, exactly how it is, shows you just how much it can do.
Day 7: Don’t discuss anyone else’s body for a day
Imagine if we never talked about what anyone else looked like? We’d all feel a little more at ease with our own bodies if we stopped focusing so much on everyone else’s. Spend one day concentrating solely on how people make you feel, how intelligent they can be, and their values. It’s unfortunate just how much we base our own self-worth on our judgments and perceptions of someone else.
Day 8: Meditate
There’s a reason so many people swear by meditation and mindfulness. Sometimes, it’s important to get out of your own head if you want to feel good about your body. Take some time today to think about literally nothing. Apps like Calm and Headspace are great for guiding you if you’re a little new to a mindfulness practice.
Day 9: Make a list of positive body affirmations
When you just need a little pick-me-up, positive affirmations always have your back. You can journal these, post them on your mirror or just come back to them when you’re feeling a little less than in love with your body. Here are some of my favorites for body love:
- I love my body as it is today.
- My body deserves respect.
- Food is not the enemy, and I am grateful that I have food to nourish me.
- I am allowed to take up space.
- Others’ opinions of my body do not affect or involve me.
- I trust the wisdom of my body.
- My well-being is the most important thing to me. I am responsible for taking care of me.
- I choose to do and say kind things for and about myself.
- My body is a gift.
- It’s okay for me to like myself. It’s okay for me to love myself.
Day 10: Find workouts that you love
Yoga makes me feel sexy, and lifting weights makes me feels strong. Running, on the other hand, gives me wretched flashbacks of the pacer test in middle school, so you’ll rarely catch me dead on a treadmill. I love running short distances, but spending an entire hour on the treadmill sounds like hell. This can take some trial and error, but find workout routines that make you feel how you want when you’re working out. Whether you want to feel powerful, happy, or calm, there’s a workout for you.
Day 11: Donate clothes that don’t make you feel good
There’s no point in keeping clothes that don’t fit you or don’t make you feel comfortable. Those American Apparel Disco Pants you splurged on when you were 17 aren’t going to come back anytime soon, and there will always be another pair of cute new jeans available in your current size. Go through your closet, try everything on, and get rid of the items that don’t make you feel and look exactly how you want. Confident women wear clothes that make them feel good, and in turn, they always seem to look good regardless of what they’re wearing. Use ThreadUp to donate what you no longer wear.
Day 12: Find your power outfit
It’s good to have a go-to outfit that always makes you feel fierce. Whether it’s a pantsuit or your go-to jeans, there’s something so confident about someone who knows they look their best in an outfit. Explore your closet and have fun putting new pieces together. Have a fashion show with your BFF. Remind yourself that fashion can be fun, and it isn’t limited to one body type or size.
Day 13: Experiment with your makeup routine
I tend to forget how confident a woman in red lipstick can look. While you can’t always rock a smokey eye to the office, you can change up products and how you apply them to your face. I’m a big fan of the whole “no makeup makeup, model off duty” look this summer, but trying a wash of color on the lids, going foundation-less, or a bright lip are summer trends you can achieve with very minimal effort. Makeup is size-less. You can rock a red lip regardless of your dress size, and there’s something powerful about achieving the look you want without having to worry about how it looks on your body shape.
Day 14: Allow yourself to have bad days
Some days, I just want to wear sweatpants and eat ice cream and not think about having to put on a confidence face. That’s okay. Confidence and positive body image are a process, and you’re going to have days where you feel like your best and days where you don’t. Being able to understand that shows that you’re on your way to loving and appreciating all that your body can do for you.