Confidence means loving your body and being comfortable in your own skin.
We asked 13 experts “How to be confident with your body?”
Learn a thing or two from their top insights below.
Fitness Trainer | Health Coach | Founder and CEO, The Knockout Room
Body confidence is your perception of the aesthetics and sexual attractiveness of your own body.
In an intimate relationship, you share your most intimate self with another human being; you are emotionally and physically naked.
Feeling body confident with another human being begins with feeling body confident with yourself. You must fall in love with yourself and your body for reasons that are independent of external validation and approval.
Three ways to increase body confidence:
Reframe your perception and express gratitude
On a piece of paper, list three of your favorite physical attributes and explain why you like them. Now list three of your physical attributes that you dislike and explain why you dislike them.
Do you notice any patterns emerging in your thought process? Are your reasons based on what others think and believe?
Whether you are going through a health transformation or not, having an appreciation of your body in all of its iterations is an important part of the journey to self-acceptance, self-love, and body confidence.
This appreciation could recognize the experiences you have been through and important milestones in your life.
Scars and burns may be reminders of your bravery and heroic escape from a difficult situation. Scars and stretch marks may be reminders of the strong body that created life and carried a baby for nine months.
Revisit your list of physical attributes, and reframe your perception of your likes and dislikes by expressing gratitude for the particular attribute.
Ensure that your reasoning is independent of what someone else thinks or believes.
Spend time naked by yourself
In the privacy of your home, find ways to spend time naked by yourself. After showering, blow dry your hair, brush your teeth, or do your makeup while naked instead of covering up right away with a towel. Sleep naked.
These practices may feel uncomfortable at first because your eyes will likely wander to the body parts that you hate the most and the negative self-talk will kick in.
Practice expressing gratitude for your physical attributes to maintain your reframed perception of your body (refer to #1 in this list).
These practices, performed consistently, will help you become more in tune with your body and more comfortable with being naked.
Establish a regular self-care routine where you spend time alone naked pampering yourself. You could take a long relaxing bath and then lather your body with your favorite lotion.
Take your time and be present in the moment.
Take in the invigorating scent of the lotion. Express gratitude for your physical attributes as you focus on each one during your pampering session. Invest in quality towels that feel incredible on your skin.
This self-care routine will help you develop an appreciation and love for your own body. Pampering yourself sends a message to your subconscious that you are beautiful, you matter, and you are worth it.
Professional Speaker | Weight Loss Coach, Weightless LLC
Confidence is not skin deep. I know, because I was equally as confident at 280 pounds as I am at 180 pounds.
Here are my top tips to be confident:
Do something that challenges you physically
No matter what size I am, I pursue opportunities to challenge myself.
This has been a hallmark of building my confidence that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. As a morbidly obese child, I was on the school volleyball team, and spent my entire weekend’s biking and hiking with family (sometimes all day).
This year, I ran my first half marathon, and also tried out aerial class. In both cases, I wasn’t sure what I could do, and in both cases, I exceeded my expectations.
When you take pride in what you CAN do, you have less time to worry about what you CAN’T. Instant confidence!
Embrace your strengths
The hardest part of being a woman can sometimes be comparing yourself to everyone else, especially in today’s Instagram-obsessed world.
Another woman may look more glamorous than you, her kids more well-behaved or intelligent, or she might have a husband who buys fancy gifts.
Rather than focusing on how others *may* beat you, find ways to celebrate your own strengths. Your neighbor might have the best-moved lawn in the entire neighborhood, but your windows are SUPER clean. Your pants may not grace the cover of a magazine, but you wear them like a boss.
Find ONE THING that you are absolutely amazing at, and own it. Bonus points are that something is something you share with others who appreciate it as much (if not more) than you.
Learn something new
In my motivational speech, Release your Inner Wonder Woman, I share the importance of learning in the creation of any superhero.
Diana Prince was the only one who could read the ancient language that was code for an attack. When she was learning that language, she had no idea it would be useful to save the world.
My husband and I both hold Master’s degrees and have invested in coaches and personal development training our entire adult lives. On top of that, we are regulars at the local library.
Even better, parents who embrace learning are more likely to see their children meet (if not exceed) their level of education.
Treat your education (either formal or informal) as a precious resource to your growth as a superhero. You never know when you might need it to save the world!
Qualified Mental Health Worker | Founder, The Body Love Collective
The key to being confident with your body – at any size, shape, age, ability level and health level is to first acknowledge your body is just that, yours.
It is completely individual, there is no other body like yours, and all of its strengths and challenges are unique to you. And knowing that, you need to get to know your own body and all of its individual needs around food, exercise, health/medical, sleep, relaxation, socialization etc.
What you need will very likely be different to all of your family and friends, there is no cookie-cutter approach – for example, you may benefit from calming exercise like yoga, walking, weight training, as compared with your friend who may most benefit from faster paced activities.
This then applies to confidence, and walking tall and proud in the body that you have, choosing the right clothes for your body that make you feel good and paying less attention to trends on fashion, eating, exercise, self-care etc, and paying more attention to what is true for you.
Through truly knowing our bodies, we can embrace them as the individual glorious bodies that they are, and truly feel confident in every area of our relationship with our bodies.
Dawn Burnett, CSA
Author | Founder, A New Dawn Natural Solutions, Inc
Tell yourself in the mirror that you are beautiful
Most people that are not confident with their body have experienced some kind of abuse or bullying growing up and they take that with them in adulthood always hearing the negative chatter in their head.
A great way to combat that is mirror work. When you get out of the shower in the morning tell yourself in the mirror that you are beautiful, especially to the specific part of the body that bothers you the most.
Since thoughts are stored as deep as the cellular level tap therapy helps to shake out that stinking thinking and it works great with mirror work.
It’s all about reprogramming your mind. In addition, consider keeping a gratitude journal and write down what you like best about your body even if it’s just one thing such as your smile.
By focusing on the positive it keeps your attention in the right direction and just like any life change it takes 30 days to change a habit.
Blogger, Airman to Mom
The best way to be confident in your body is to love the body you have
This doesn’t mean that you can’t want to improve your body. But if you can’t find happiness with who you are right now. A number on a scale won’t bring confidence you are looking for.
Instead, you have to start by changing your thinking.
You need to realize you are beautiful with who you are now. That is the only way you will be able to find confidence today and in the future. You need able to love yourself now and then you can be confident today.
Dancer | Fitness Expert | Founder, Style On The Side
Being confident about your body first and foremost means not blaming it. It’s very easy to say that you didn’t get a date because of the way you look, or that you can’t go to a party because you are uncomfortable in your clothing.
Rather than allowing your body to dictate your life and accusing it of failures, try consciously changing your mindset whenever you feel that you are falling down that rabbit hole.
At first, it will be an effort but over time you’ll start seeing your body in a new light and it will no longer be an issue. This also extends to your family and peers.
How many times have you sat around with friends, over a glass of wine or a coffee and complained about hating your body? We do this without thinking twice, but what we don’t realize is that it solidifies a negative mindset and gives us permission to hate our bodies.
Try talking about the things you love
Are your legs strong enough to run a 10k? Do like showing off your arms or your back?
It’s not necessary to love every single part of your body all the time but it is important to celebrate its accomplishments.
This won’t be easy but over time you’ll find that the part of your body that you don’t like as much will no longer be as big an issue and more importantly won’t keep you from succeeding at life.
Trainer | Online Health Coach
Being a Health Coach and Personal Trainer, I’ve found that the thing that makes my clients feel the most confident is not losing weight or gaining more muscle, but when they can see themselves progressing towards a goal that once seemed impossible for them.
When they can lift more weight and feel stronger or certain exercises become easier for them. As self-aware beings, we’re always striving for growth and when we can physically and mentally feel like we’re moving forward, it provides a lasting confidence boost that nothing can take away from you.
Editor, The Better Fit
#1 Stop looking in mirrors.
Looking in a mirror (or using the camera on your phone as a mirror) is an easy way to constantly judge, critique, and put yourself down.
You are your biggest critic, so stop making it so easy to judge yourself and pinpoint every imperfection.
Once you look in the mirror after getting ready in the morning, don’t look at one for the rest of the day. Instead, work on being confident about how you look and how you feel inside.
Remember, a majority of body confidence is mental, and the mirror will not show that to you.
#2 Do a photoshoot.
Along similar lines as Dove’s 2013 “Real Beauty Sketches” Campaign in 2013, let someone else create your portrait so you can see how they portray your beauty.
Rather than having someone draw you, do a photoshoot – specifically a boudoir session. Being in front of the camera can be a vulnerable moment, especially if there are insecurities you have about your body.
Work with a photographer you admire, trust, and can have fun with during the shoot. A great thing about a boudoir session is that it is focused completely on you, and there’s no one else for you to compare yourself to.
Saba Harouni Lurie, LMFT, ATR-BC
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Founder, Take Root Therapy
We often think of our bodies as decorative objects and value them for how they look.
But what if we viewed them more like instruments, and considered all they do for us?
Think about all the things your body does for you on a daily basis, from things as automatic and unconscious as your heartbeat or digestion to things that require more effort, like how it transports you from point A to point B. This cultivates an attitude of gratitude towards your body.
Then, with that same attitude of gratitude, do things for your body that make it feel good! Use it to move, and nourish it with foods that you enjoy.
Another important aspect of body confidence is self-talk.
Pay attention to it – are you kind and loving to yourself when it comes to your body, or do you talk to yourself in critical or demeaning ways?
This can also be affected by what you are consuming: the media (including social media) is motivated to make us feel less than everyone else so that we spend money trying to “fix” ourselves.
What if you make the radical decision that you, just as you are, today, are enough? And if you do notice that media is affecting you negatively, what would it look like to reduce your intake of it, and focus on things that make you feel worthwhile instead?
Ally A. Bowen, LISW-CP, CHN
Founder and CEO, Fit to Sparkle
Most people think being confident with your body is an “outside job” when the reality is it’s completely an “inside job!”
I work with women everyday teaching how to shift their mindset to “see” who they are!
A woman who weighs 175 lbs with zero body confidence can learn to shift what she “sees” and how she “feels” and fall in love with that same 175 lb body and the same applies to a 100 lb woman with the same struggle.
Our culture dictates how we “should” appear to have confidence in our bodies, therefore, moving women into “should shame!”
I should be a size zero, I should weigh …, I should go to the gym, I should eat better, I should have more muscles, I should look like that, I should be able to wear that…etc…
This leads to a vicious cycle and increases in body shame and even greater illnesses and disorders. (Eating disorders, body dysmorphia, yo-yo dieting, etc.)
Unaware of our own inner emotional intelligence we fall prey to the outside messages of the world that permeate our being.
Related: 23 Best Books on Emotional Intelligence
With work and guidance, one can learn how to shift their thinking, become more aware of who they “see” when they look in the mirror, and how to love that reflection because it may not have been about their physical shell of a body, to begin with!
1. Know yourself.
2. Define what’s valuable to you.
3. Practice daily filling in the blank with those values you defined important to you.
Founder and Owner, Aesthete
Accept your body as it is
There are many ways to feel confident in your own body, but the first step is to accept your body as it is. In the present, just as it looks.
Coming to terms and accepting your body not only for what it looks like but also for the amazing things it can do.
Dress your body in a way that makes you feel great
When you stay in your pajamas all day or throw on the first thing you find in your closet, you just feel “meh”. No thought put into the outfit, and it doesn’t make you feel great.
When you’re wearing an outfit you love and expresses who you are, your confidence radiates from within! You feel like the world is your runway that day.
Do things that make you feel confident
We all have our own things. For me, it’s getting a blowout and doing my make up. For others that may be doing their nails, getting a haircut, putting on their favorite lipstick. They may be small actions, but they all add up!
Body confidence, to its core, comes from a deep inner belief that your body is ‘good’.
The typical solution to this in 2018 suggests that all body types are equally valid and that whatever your body is like, it’s great.
In my experience as a coach, telling yourself that you are fine no matter what condition you are in leads to catastrophic loss of self-esteem and anxiety.
You may fool your ego, for a while, and you may fool others for a while, but your deep inner self will always know that you are not actualizing your ideal.
The dissonance between ego understanding and the unconscious understanding will cause problems – big ones. Authentic integration of your ideal and your circumstances, then, is the most reliable way to go about the goal of feeling good about one’s body.
In my practice, the reliable way to build self-esteem has been through picking a worthy ideal and moving towards it.
Does this mean you have to have a body comparable to Miss World or Mr. Universe? No. It doesn’t even mean you need to be above average. But it does mean that you need to bring forth your own deepest ideal in a forthright manner.
You could be one of the least athletic people in the gym – the worst even – but if you performed heroically this past week and hit your targets, you may well have the topmost love for your own body in that whole building.
Imagine the excitement and self-love someone who has been obese their whole life will experience when they lose a full stone.
Conversely, imagine the competing bodybuilder with 6% body fat who has had a lazy week, and doesn’t look as good as he did 7 days ago. He would feel distraught.
Body confidence, then, is not so much about how good you look, but more about doing your best with the tools you have.
To be absolutely clear, telling people they are OK just the way they are doesn’t work! I would use it in my coaching sessions if it did, as it costs virtually no time and effort to do so. Setting people on a journey to actualize their ideal does work – but is immeasurably harder.
Some people may still be disappointed when they compare their current body unfavorably to others.
Everyone in life starts with different advantages and disadvantages – it is not an even race – so comparing yourself to others is mostly unfair.
The sane thing to do is compete against yourself. Compare your body today to how it was last week or last year.
Coach, Wee Nudge
Know that you are enough
The main key to being not only body confident, but confident on the whole! Is to know that you are enough!
Being brought up in the ’80s, diet clubs were all the rage, along with women in Lycra doing aerobics. So being a slightly chubby 12-year-old (who was just going through that awkward puberty stage) I went along to a well-known weight loss club, and from there on I never felt good enough.
I have wasted more than half my life not being confident with my body and it’s one thing that I will make sure that my daughters (10 & 12) will not do.
I encourage them to appreciate their bodies for what they can do. To see the beauty in everything, to be grateful for their curves, big boobs, small boobs, strong thighs, skinny thighs etc.
When you can say ‘I am enough’ your confidence in everything will exude from you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to have body confidence?
Body confidence is crucial for several reasons, as it impacts our overall well-being and how we perceive ourselves.
• Mental health: Having a positive body image helps improve our mental health. When we feel good about our bodies, we tend to have higher self-esteem, experience less anxiety and depression, and maintain a more positive outlook in life.
• Social interactions: Body confidence enables us to engage more freely in social situations. When we’re not preoccupied with our appearance, we can focus on connecting with others and building meaningful relationships.
• Physical health: When we’re confident in our bodies, we’re more likely to engage in activities that promote a healthy lifestyle, like exercising and eating well. Body confidence encourages self-care and allows us to take better care of our physical health.
• Personal growth: Embracing our bodies empowers us to pursue personal growth and development. With body confidence, we can focus on achieving goals and exploring new opportunities without being held back by negative self-perceptions.
Why do people struggle with body confidence?
People often face challenges with body confidence due to a variety of factors:
• Societal standards: Societal beauty ideals can be unattainable and constantly evolving, making it difficult for individuals to feel confident in their appearance. These unrealistic expectations can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.
• Media influence: The media often perpetuates narrow beauty standards by showcasing images of idealized bodies. This can cause individuals to compare themselves to these unrealistic portrayals, leading to dissatisfaction with their own bodies.
• Peer pressure: Social comparisons and the desire to fit in can make people feel insecure about their bodies. Peer pressure to conform to certain body types or engage in unhealthy behaviors can lead to body confidence issues.
• Personal experiences: Negative experiences, such as bullying, teasing, or criticism about one’s appearance, can significantly impact an individual’s body confidence. These experiences can leave long-lasting emotional scars and make it difficult to develop a positive self-image.
• Internal dialogue: Our inner critic can be harsh, and negative self-talk can erode body confidence. When we constantly criticize ourselves, it becomes difficult to see our bodies in a positive light.
How can I overcome negative thoughts about my body?
Overcoming negative thoughts about your body is an important step towards self-love and acceptance. Here’s how you can work on improving your body image:
• Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself kindly, as you would treat a friend. Acknowledge that nobody is perfect, and it’s okay to have imperfections.
• Identify and challenge negative thoughts: Pay attention to your internal dialogue and question your negative thoughts about your body. Replace these thoughts with positive affirmations.
• Surround yourself with positivity: Create a supportive environment by connecting with people who uplift and encourage you. Limit exposure to unrealistic body ideals and focus on what makes you unique.
• Focus on your strengths: Recognize your talents and abilities, and celebrate your accomplishments. This will help shift your focus from physical appearance to personal growth.
• Engage in self-care: Prioritize physical, emotional, and mental well-being by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, getting enough rest, and engaging in activities that bring you joy.
How can I maintain body confidence over time?
Maintaining body confidence is an ongoing process. To keep up your positive outlook, follow these tips:
• Set realistic goals: Focus on attainable, health-oriented goals instead of striving for an idealized body image. This will help you feel accomplished and proud of your progress.
• Cultivate gratitude: Regularly express gratitude for your body and its abilities. This will help you appreciate what you have and encourage a more positive mindset.
• Practice mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or yoga, to foster a deeper connection with your body and encourage self-awareness.
• Stay active: Engage in regular physical activity that you enjoy, as this will help you feel more connected to your body and boost your confidence.
• Continuously evaluate and adjust: Periodically assess your progress and make necessary adjustments to maintain your body confidence. Stay open to learning and growing.
How can I help others feel more body confident?
Supporting others in their journey towards body confidence is a rewarding experience. Here’s how you can help:
• Be a positive role model: Embrace your own body confidence and demonstrate self-love, inspiring others to do the same.
• Offer genuine compliments: Share heartfelt praise for others’ unique qualities and achievements rather than focusing solely on appearance.
• Encourage open dialogue: Foster a safe space for discussing body image concerns and promote healthy conversations around self-esteem.
• Challenge body-shaming language: Speak up against body-shaming comments and encourage others to be more mindful of the impact of their words.
• Share resources and support: Recommend books, blogs, or support groups that promote body positivity and self-acceptance. Encourage others to seek professional help if needed.
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