At Sugar’d, we see people in an intimate setting—especially if they’re having bikini and brazilian treatments. It’s natural to feel insecure when another person sees you in a literally naked state, where everything is laid on the table. If you have a negative body image, attending these appointments can be stressful; we totally get it.
We have women who ask us if their vaginas are too fat. Seriously. Or people who want to know if they’re too hairy or overweight or underweight or smell bad.
Friends: we get body image issues—we all have them to some extent. But it’s time to give ourselves—and our bodies—a little well-deserved love. Here’s how:
Avoid Negative Media
What we choose to spend our time reading or viewing has a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves. Because of this, we should all be very particular about the magazines, websites, and television programs we choose to absorb.
Fashion and gossip media are awful—if you’re trying to improve your body image, it’s important to avoid TV programs that are blatantly image-focused. Also, try to avoid ads.
Alternatively, consciously seek out media that reinforces positive self-image. Gravitate towards travel, wellness and entrepreneurial media and magazines.
Choose Where You Shop for Clothing Wisely
Clothing stores that depict ultra-skinny mannequins and cater to those who fall between a size double zero and size 6 are straight-up depressing. (What even is a double zero, anyway?! Who started this weird size?)
Places like these are total insecurity dens. Everything is designed to make you feel dirty and inadequate—and it’s a highly successful form of manipulation.
When we feel inferior, we are much more pliable to the whispering suggestions of display windows. Shopping centres aren’t only taking your money, they can also be places where positive self-esteem goes to curl up and die.
Instead, shop where you feel good, and where the overall vibe isn’t depressing or straight-up ridiculous. Also, instil this practice amongst your children—because clothing stores that cater to today’s adolescents are the absolute worst.
Avoid Materialistic Conversations about Appearance
Whenever someone starts to talk about the way they look in a disparaging way, most of us will inadvertently internalize it. Getting stuck in a conversation about the way someone else looks, whether they have put on weight and so on, inevitably leads to thoughts on our own appearance.
This can be unhelpful if we’re trying to feel better about ourselves.
Treat Your Body Gently and with Respect
When’s the last time you treated yourself to a facial at a spa? Or your partner gave you a shoulder rub? Or the last time someone gave you a tight squeeze?
Touch is an incredibly powerful way of reinforcing the way you feel about your body. And if you’re touched gently, with love and care, you’ll feel good. So, try to practice gentle love and care with yourself.
Treat yourself to a facial. Give yourself a massage when you’re applying moisturizer. It feels good, and it reinforces a positive, kind relationship with your body. Thank your body for working for you.
Meditate and Try Yoga
Meditation is an incredibly effective tool for clearing away unhelpful thought cycles. Thirty minutes. Five minutes. One.
Just sit, close your eyes and breathe. If you want, you can inhale and exhale a body acceptance affirmation such as “I love and accept my body exactly as it is.”
This is where yoga comes in.
Yoga helps to increase positive body image, through its positive spiritual teachings. It’s a common misconception that everyone who goes to yoga has a tight body and cute yoga gear. Yoga is a practice that celebrates every body, and often includes some sort of meditative and affirmative moment.
Also, yoga is a very community oriented practice, and you might meet new friends that are striving to attain healthier body images, as well.
Treat Food as Fuel and Eat Mindfully
Thinking of food as fuel for your body means being mindful of the nutrients that your body requires to function. It means eating plenty of good-quality food and ditching crappy foods that compromise our digestive health, our hormonal balance, our mood and energy levels.
Equally important is finding the ability to move past the binge-fast guilt cycle. If you eat something unhealthy, don’t punish yourself or try to restrict caloric intake. Healthy eating and body respect is not about food deprivation—it’s about food celebration.
Remember: moderation is key.
Turn Negative Thoughts into Positive Ones
When you look in the mirror, try to replace any negative thoughts about your body image that pop up with an affirming thought about the way you look or feel. Replace a disapproving scowl with a confident smile. Instead of thinking “I wish I could lose ten pounds,” think “I’m grateful for this functioning body that allows me to live my life.”
People who have purpose are too busy getting stuff done to worry about how they look. In the end, creative expression, passionate parenting, and effective leadership are far more satisfying than making sure your butt looks good in your new jeans.
The bottom line? Positive body image is a habit, not an attribute. None of us always feel great about every aspect of the way we look, but if you’re having a day where you’re feeling less than confident, try pulling your shoulders back, holding your head up high, and friends?
Fake it ‘til you make it. You’ll get there.