With the world today being flooded with images, celebrities and advertising, more and more young people are suffering from the serious illnesses of eating disorders, anxiety and depression, with a contributing factor being linked to poor body image.

Poor body image can be experienced by your sisters, friends, mothers, brothers and even yourself!

By making small changes to the way you think, feel and care about your body you really can start to create confidence, self esteem and happiness.

 

Get sentimental, and say a little thanks!

People tell us all the time to love our body and, to be honest, it can feel tricky – especially for young people. In today’s society, as we grow through the stages of childhood, puberty and adolescence, it’s very easy to look at our body and feel negative about the way it looks…But what if one easy way to change that was to recognise and accept that our body actually loves us?

So today, take a minute or two to look back on the life of your body. It’s been with you since the day you were conceived and has stuck with you, protecting you and making sure you survive. It’s still with you now and it’s planning to be around until you take your last breath together…

Your body has healed your wounds and broken bones, kept you from freezing or melting, maintained your breathing while you sleep, stood up to infections and converted energy for you to live…it genuinely works 24/7 to make sure you are OK! If you’re reading this and are alive today, it means your body has never ever had a day off…

When you can say thanks to your body for being such a good friend to you all these years, you’re in a much better position to start being a really good friend back!

Block out the bad vibes.

One of the things that gets in the way of having a positive body image can be all the things we watch, read and hear about on television, in print and especially on the Internet.

All the information we receive about “the right” way to look can be really overwhelming and it often makes us feel worse about ourselves. We feel like we need to be a certain way to fit in and feel good…but that’s not the reality!

Magazines, websites and product companies actually make a profit off you NOT liking your body. There are billions and billions of dollars each year spent by people trying to make themselves look fitter, thinner, younger, blonder, taller, more tanned or like the hottest new celebrity. There’s always a new product to buy and these companies WANT you to feel like you need something else before you can be confident in your own skin.

So, start to block out the noise and notice if the accounts you follow on social media, or the things you watch on TV make you feel better about yourself, or worse. If they don’t give you confidence, set yourself a challenge to unfollow them for one week and see if you notice the difference to your own self esteem. You might not even miss them at all!

 

Widen your perception of true beauty!

One other way you can learn to feel confident in yourself and your body is to look around you today and take note of all the tiny things you find beautiful in the world: the flowers in your garden, the patterns on your pet’s fur or even the way the stars take shape in the sky. There is so much beauty to be found in every place and in every one…and that includes you. If a ladybug is beautiful and so is the beach, then why aren’t you?!

Don’t judge a book by its cover! Health and happiness comes in all different shapes, cultures, sizes, languages, skin tones and appearances. That’s what makes the world such an amazing place…think about how boring it would be if we actually all looked exactly the same. Remember that what is considered beautiful in one culture or part of the world can be really different in another!

When you start to look at life this way, your brain receives positive messages and that’s the perfect environment for your confidence and body image to grow stronger every day!

 

Focus on what your body can DO and DO what it LOVES!

Are you a great dancer? A master chef in the making? A talented artist, an unbeatable chess player, a prize poet or a strong runner?

Everyone has something that they are good at and focusing on your unique talents will help you build confidence in yourself and your body by showing you that there is so much more to who you are than just what you look like!

Have a think about what you LOVE to do and make a promise to yourself to do more of it! Better still, share your talents and achievements with your friends and family, and make sure you accept the compliments when they are given your way!

 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Just like learning to ride a bike, or doing a cartwheel, or growing seeds into a garden, loving your body does take time and plenty of patience! It’s not always easy, but if you keep practicing some steps of self care then you’ll notice how much better you feel about yourself and your body!

Think about your body like a flower bed. If you sew the seeds, water it every day, clean the weeds out and keep the pests away, soon you’ll have a garden that is strong and beautiful. Loving your body and developing a good self esteem is a bit like this! You have to promise to see your talents and beauty, be grateful for your health, stop comparing yourself to others, avoid following things on social media that take your confidence away and take care of yourself a little bit more every single day.

A good tip is to have a routine in the morning that sets you up for confidence and positivity! When you get out of bed, stretch for five minutes or take three deep breaths and think about one thing that makes you happy! Write in a journal or dance to your favourite song! It could even be as simple as looking in the mirror and smiling back at yourself. These things sound too simple to work, but if you turn them into habits, pretty soon, your mindset will shift into a positive image of yourself and it will be hard to go back!

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Megan Williams Tonks is a Nutritional Therapist, Personal Trainer and Body Image Coach for women and girls who would like to transform their relationship with food and exercise to create the life and the body of their wildest dreams! After a journey through obesity, body image issues, weight loss and then a swing toward disordered eating, she now pleads women of all ages to learn from her mistakes and get off the endless body hate ride. She supports her tribe to approach getting results in their body, spirit and mind from a place of love and compassion. She is a passionate speaker, writer and mentor. She loves to travel, run, cook and spend time with her new husband! She is obsessed with alpacas, her ideal Friday night is a home-made veggie pizza and a Harry Potter movie and she has never been able to do a cartwheel...but she won’t ever give up trying!

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