Body positivity is a tricky, curvy road that you barrel down one day and miss an exit and detour off of the next. Everyone has their own experience when it comes to loving their body, but sometimes we look in the mirror and can't help but scrunch up our noses. There's always something to zero in on. If only that dress lay a little smoother, if only those jeans could be a little smaller, if only there was something to do with those crows feet, and if those stretchmarks left in the middle of the night without saying goodbye.
Rather than focus on all the things you think are bad, take steps toward shifting your focus and seeing all the good you have to offer. Below are seven body positive tips that'll change the way to think about your body—because you have to start sometime.
Throw Out Any Piece Of Clothing That Makes You Feel Bad
That's right, we're no longer going to have a part of our closet earmarked for all the clothes we'll get to wear when we're 10 pounds lighter. Instead, love your Today Body by tossing any pairs of shorts, dresses, jeans, tops, and skirts that make you feel disappointed when you slip them on. If you only dress up your body with clothes that make you want to slap your butt as you walk away from the mirror, you'll appreciate and love the figure you have today.
Unfollow Anyone Who Makes You Hate Your Body
If your Instagram and Pinterest feeds are full of beautiful blondes in thigh skimming shorts eating quinoa salads and flashing their 12-pack abs, then great. But if you compare your body to theirs every time you see one of their pictures and feel terrible, then it's time to go on an unfollowing spree. Body positivity isn't something you're going to randomly pick up—it's something you have to learn, and the best way to do it is through other people. So replace those unfollowed accounts with body positivity advocates and bloggers; women who love their bodies as they are, and encourage you to do the same. It'll be a much brighter feed.
High Five Yourself Over One Piece of Your Body Daily
Even if it's something small like "I like that freckle on my lip," turn to the mirror each morning and point out one thing you like about your body. Seriously, stand there in your underwear, look in your eyes, and recite out loud to the mirror just what you like. In the beginning you might be at a loss as to what to appreciate, but then you'll move to noticing a handful of things you actually like about yourself, and soon, you'll be all the way to understanding that even with stretchmarks and a bad hair day you look goddamn beautiful regardless because there's SO much else to love. It all starts with baby steps.
Reframe Your Flaws
We all have something that drives us insane about our bodies, but often times those "flaws" are attached to something beautiful. Do you hate the lines on your face? You can thank all those vacations you took at the beach with your gal pals, so stop trying to erase them. Maybe the cellulite you loathe came from those delicious pastries you split with your best friend (or maybe it's a genetic gift given to you from generations of strong women). And that grey hair? It's thanks to those long, stressful nights you worked to meet your goals.
I'll share my own example: I have a massive burn on the back of my right leg thanks to a motorcycle accident in Vietnam—and while it might look a bit alarming in shorts, I dig it. Because just like that regrettable tattoo on my back, it'll always remind me of when I was a little too wild in my twenties. Our bodies are meant to get a little weathered—it shows a life well lived.
Think Of What Your Body Is Capable Of, Not How It Looks
Every time I have anxiety taking my clothes off at a beach, I take a moment and reframe the situation. Rather than thinking of all the jiggles and dimples that are about to make their debut, I think of all the badass things my body is about to do. I can make this beast swim, cannon ball, steer a kayak, jump waves with my friends, and run down giant dunes. Rather than thinking of the ideal size you want your body to shrink to, think of why you have it instead: To experience the world. Stop trying to squeeze into skinny jeans and go have a blast.
Exercise To Feel Better, Not To Look Skinnier
Don't eat spinach and chicken because it'll help you fit into a dress. Do it because your body will love you for the nutrients. Don't run so you can have a tighter butt; do it because you feel like a warrior every time you finish three miles. Don't cut out pastries because that's the only way you'll see the scale shrink in number—do it because your body will run better without the sugar crashes. Exercise and eat better to feel better, not to look better. That way you'll start looking at your body as a powerful tool, not a decoration.
Stop Letting Your Body Be Your Defining Trait
You're not fat. You have fat. You also have eyebrows. You're not eyebrows. No matter what size you are, your body isn't your defining feature. I'm willing to bet you're hilarious, warm hearted, creative, whip smart, and have a lot to offer the world in terms of ideas and making it a kinder place to live. The size of your waist is such a tiny, and honestly insignificant, part of you. So instead of focusing on what you see in the mirror, shift that attention towards what you bring to the table. That's what we appreciate more, anyway.