Growing up in the dance world, I struggled with my fair share of body image issues. I was always fighting to be skinnier and strived to achieve an unattainable body for me. The idea that I couldn't be successful unless I fit into this image of a perfect dancer took over my life and had a huge impact on my confidence. These challenges are why I started Body by Jojo and made it my mission to help other people feel strong and more confident in their bodies. With that in mind, I wanted to share a few things that have helped me in the past and still help me improve my body confidence.
Let's dive in.
1. First things first, your body confidence will improve when you stop striving to look a certain way and focus more on how you feel. Focus on taking care of your body, not looking skinny, but being strong, confident, and capable. When you make a healthy and nourishing meal, remind yourself you are doing it because it makes you feel good and helps you live a longer, healthier and happier life. When you work out, remind yourself you are doing it not to burn calories or lose weight but to build muscle, get stronger, and improve your overall health. As you read this, you may think to yourself, yes, I know that already. But I want you to ask yourself if you "know it" or if you "live it." The more you practice this, like actually say it out loud, the more you'll believe it, and the more confident you'll feel in your habits because you are doing them for the right reason.
2. Another great way to increase your body confidence is to start talking to yourself in the same way you would speak to a friend. When you hear that inner critic start to pick yourself apart, stop and ask yourself, "would I say this to my best friend?" I bet the answer is no. So what would you say to your best friend if they were talking to themselves in the same way you were speaking to yourself. A great exercise is to write down your negative thoughts. Whatever they are. Be honest. "I hate the cellulite on my legs." And then I want you to write down what you would say to a friend if they expressed this to you. Cross out the negative thought and write your response below. Here's an example.
I hate the cellulite on my legs.
Cellulite is normal. 99.9% of women have it. My legs are strong, and they allow me to walk, run, skip, dance and do everything I love to do.
3. Learn, understand and accept that body fluctuations are normal. Your body will not look and feel the same all the time. Some weeks we may feel fit and lean, and some weeks we may feel like we are puffier and inflamed and weigh more on the scale. This can be due to shifts in hormones, stress, fatigue, water retention etc. On those days where you feel these shifts and are lower on body confidence, remind yourself it is temporary. Fluctuations with the way your body looks and feels, as well as your weight is completely normal. Try not to let a few extra lbs on the scale change the way you feel about your body.
4. You aren't supposed to look the same or stay the same weight or jeans size your entire life. Instead of striving to "bounce back," think about bouncing forward! What can you do for your future self? Think about becoming a stronger and healthier version of your current self instead of aiming to get back to where you used to be. If your old jeans haunt you, donate them. Buy new jeans for your strong, healthy and beautiful body. Look ahead instead of looking back.
5. Lastly, and most importantly, think about the person you are trying to become. How do they talk to themselves? How do they feel about their body? What is their inner dialogue? Now start speaking to yourself and practice thinking that way now. The more you practice it, the more quickly it will become your reality.
I hope this helps you to be a little kinder to yourself. It's a journey, and some days are easier than others but keep practicing, and you'll start to have more positive body confidence days than not.