Working toward (and maintaining) a healthy idea of beauty in yourself and others is the key to lasting happiness and productivity.
In a digital world wallpapered with selfies, it might be easy to assume that we are more confident than ever. But maybe all this rampant self-art also masks our huge lack of confidence – people fishing for compliments that may seem hard to come by in their daily lives. The best body image lies somewhere between humility and vanity but it can and should be defined by one person: you. I’ve said it before but the most appealing thing about a person is self-confidence. Being comfortable in your own skin at every point in your healthy living journey is remarkably powerful because it’s not defined or limited by media images of beauty or the skewed opinions of others. Poor self-image is a type of bad attitude with a horrible domino effect. If you start to second guess your self-image, it can lead to you second guessing yourself everywhere else. Here’s how to jack up your self-worth so that you can continue killing it, not just in the gym, but in life!
Let’s go back to the selfie for a minute: There are plenty of Instagram-famous women that feel terrible about their physical appearance and even more women who might not be considered “conventionally” beautiful that are confident enough to post selfies aplenty on social media. The difference between these women isn’t the scale, the measuring tape or number of “likes” – it’s simply inner strength. The second woman simply has a positive view of herself that has been built by believing her own hype. If you don’t grow to love yourself, everything else in life is going to feel like a struggle. This includes, of course, your will to stick to a fitness or nutrition routine.
Do This: Want to be fierce like Tyra? Fabulous like Kimora, maybe? Whatever it is that you want to exude, identify with it today and start projecting it. If you don’t create this kind of hype for yourself, you have nothing to believe in but what others think of you.
DO IT FOR YOU
It’s a sad fact: Women are hard on other women. And even when they’re not, the other women may think they are. That all adds up to this self-consciousness about appearance that can take away from your sexy. That’s why it’s so important that a woman defines what she thinks is “beautiful”. Trying to please others or live up to others’ expectations is not sexy. Have the strength to define your own beauty.
Do This: Come up with five things in your own mind that you think define beauty in others. They could be physical things like strong arms or great legs but they can just as easily be fearlessness, friendliness or faith. Write this list down and burn them into your brain. Strive to identify them in others constantly. This will build an aspirational image for you to reach for and reinforce things that you’re working toward in yourself.
PRACTICE POSITIVE SELF-TALK
Piggybacking off of the previous tip, once you have a general idea of what you think beauty is all about, it’s important to reinforce them. When you allow the outside world to determine your self-worth, sometimes the results can be disappointing. But if you put yourself in the driver’s seat, you can build a tremendous foundation of positive self-esteem in no time flat.
Do This: List five positive things about who you are and what you do. Be as specific as possible. Post them around your house and read them to yourself to boost your inner-strength and remind yourself of who you are.
So you’ve determined what beauty really is and you’ve started to identify it in yourself and others. You’re gonna have a swagger about you that’ll be tough for others to ignore. But for some, it can still be difficult to accept compliments. This can be a definite speed bump on your road to a better self-image.
Do This: When someone gives you a compliment, believe it. Defining your own beauty is not just about defining what you have to offer to the world, it’s also about appreciating the beauty others see in you. Embrace it, every single time. As a former overweight teenager that thought he was never going to kiss a girl, accepting compliments, especially on my physical appearance has always been difficult. I still have trouble with it today, but I know this is my own issue and appreciate the compliment rather than project my insecurity onto someone else.
ACCEPTING YOUR BODY
Are you the self-deprecating type that likes to make jokes about how “skinny” or “fat” you are, just so you can beat others to the punch? I used to do that, however this is a pretty transparent practice that really only tends to make other people uncomfortable. But, more importantly, what does it say about you? And the negative talk – joking or not – projected at others is a contagious habit that really only perpetuates girl-on-girl shaming.
Do This: Stop the put-downs, the staring, the directed whispers and the judgment. Accepting an individual is the best way to accept your own body and is the first step to stop comparing yourself to others.
Watch this video where I chat with Collette Debenedetto, an elite CrossFit athlete, on body image and why confidence is the new sexy.
I also talk about having your own mantras and building your confidence in my book, The 20 Minute Body. In this book I explain why the key to long-term weight loss is building muscle. All it takes is 20 minutes of exercise, paired with 20-minute meals that are focused on nutrient quality, not calorie counts. It offers readers sample meal plans and recipes for meals, snacks, and desserts the whole family will love—all of which can be thrown together in 20 minutes or less.