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I had an eating disorder for most of my teenage years, and I, like a lot of other women, hated the way I looked. There are no photos of me between the ages of 11 and 18 because I couldn’t stand the idea of documenting the way my body looked. Now I’m in my 20s, and I’m well on my way towards self love.
It’s been a long journey, and like anyone else I still have bad days, but in general I have a healthy body image and I’m so much happier than I used to be.
I know exactly how hard it is to live in a body you hate, so start with these 5 easy steps to begin your journey towards self love and self acceptance. I promise it’s worth it.
Wear clothes that fit
I was shocked to find out how many of my friends wear clothes that are one or two or even three sizes too small for them. I’ve had friends ask me to zip them into dresses that clearly don’t fit them, and it breaks my heart because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying larger sizes.
Listen, I get it. I know what it’s like to buy a size large for the first time, but the reality is the size of your clothes doesn’t matter as long as you feel great in them. Cut off the tag as soon as you get home – if I asked you to pick out anything in my wardrobe I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what size it was, because I don’t care and neither should you.
If something you own makes you doubt your appearance, get rid of it. Sell it, donate it, give it to a friend but don’t keep it for “when you lose weight”. You might lose weight in the future, and you might not. The point is it doesn’t matter. Your weight doesn’t matter. Wear clothes that fit you now and ignore the size.
Surround yourself with positive people
While I was at University I found myself living with two people who would call themselves fat at every chance they had. I had already recovered from my eating disorder, but that year hating on your body became so normal and I found myself slipping back into my old ways every now and again.
Surrounding yourself with people who have healthy body image is one of the best things you can do for yourself. If there are people in your life who constantly put themselves down around you, consider talking to them and explaining how it affects you. Listening to other people put themselves down is detrimental to your own self esteem, and you shouldn’t have to put up with it.
Unfollow everyone who makes you feel bad about your body
This is possibly the single most beneficial action I’ve ever taken to improve my body image. I’ve suggested it to every single one of my friends – some take me up on it and some don’t.
If anyone makes you doubt yourself, you shouldn’t feel guilty unfollowing them on social media. Most people scroll social media multiple times a day, and you don’t want to be faced with hundreds of influencers with ‘perfect’ bodies every time you open Instagram.
This will probably include most celebrities. I don’t follow a single celebrity or influencer on Instagram, and I promise you won’t be missing out. If you’re interested in how someone’s doing, you can check up on them whenever you want, but being bombarded with photos of what you think you should look like every single day is a sure fire way to slow down your progress.
Work on it every day
I’ll be honest, you’re not going to wake up tomorrow with perfect body image. You’re not going to wake up next month with perfect body image. And you probably won’t wake up next year with perfect body image. Improving your self esteem will be a long journey, and you need to keep your long term goals in mind.
Work on your body image every single day. Take 2 seconds out of each day to tell yourself something nice – you might not believe yourself at the beginning but eventually you will. Every time you catch yourself putting yourself down, replace it with something you like about yourself.
Thank your body for everything it does for you
You may hate the way your body looks – that’s fine, you’re not alone to think that. But your body is doing everything it can to do to keep you alive, and you should thank it for that.
Loving yourself can be a challenge, but improving your confidence is always worth it. Let me know in the comments if you’ve done any of these steps.
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