Simple Ways to Improve Your Body Image

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.

Whatever.

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.”

Create Purpose

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.

 

Let’s Talk Body Image

Let’s face it: we (as in the majority of North America) are a society that places incredible emphasis on what the general population deems to be beautiful. We’ve chosen a certain type of body that we feel is aesthetically pleasing, and then placed that body image on a pedestal so high that all we can do it stare up at it in awe, and know we’ll never reach it or even come close.

What is that doing to us? What is that doing to our children? To our self-esteem and priorities and evaluation skills?

Everywhere we look, we’re marketed to on the topic of beauty. We buy makeup and hair product and clothing that we feel inches us closer to the body image that’s pushed in our faces.

We purchase gym memberships and fat-free food and acne medications.

All for the sake of making ourselves appear more in line with what our neighbours and friends and family are telling us is perfect—a description that doesn’t even make sense and is certainly not attainable. You lose before you begin. Trying to keep up with today’s conventional beauty standards is impossible and harmful.

The goal simply cannot be attained.

We know this, because models in magazines are airbrushed. They go to makeup and hair for four hours before they begin shooting their spreads, and when they’re done, they go workout for more hours so they can keep up the illusion of their perfect bodies.

Here’s the thing: unless we’re identical twins and share exactly the same DNA, none of us look the same. We’re different. And if we all looked the same, wouldn’t that be boring?

(Or creepy? Thinking Village of The Damned, here…)

Instead of teaching our kids to groom themselves a certain way, dress the way we dress, or adore images of “perfect” people, let’s give them the gift of diversity! We are a diverse species…wouldn’t it be simpler and more satisfying and interesting to just let everyone be themselves and look however they want to look?

Who cares if your hair isn’t as long as your best friend’s. Why does it matter if you have freckles or big thighs or small boobs or big feet? Do having these trivial differences make an actual difference in your quality of life?

Be proud of who you are, what you do, and how you conduct yourself. We can’t choose our genetics and we shouldn’t have to feel pressured to look a certain way. But we can choose other things, like how we treat people, how well we take care of ourselves, and what kind of friends we choose to associate with.

And we can choose to love our bodies because they work for us every single day. They deserve gratitude, not pressure! Work on developing a positive body image, not one that will create confusion. Life is confusing enough, already!

Here’s our advice: be you. It really is the only option, and once we all accept that diversity is a blessing and not intimidating, we can take a deep, collective breath and enjoy our lives just a little bit more. Be proud of you for you, and don’t try to live up to anyone else’s beauty standards but your own.

What do YOU find beautiful about people? If you really think about that question, we doubt anything cosmetic pops into your head, first.

Beauty is diverse—so be your diverse self.

And remember that if you like hair removal, that sugaring is for every body, not just one type. We promise.