5 Ways to Improve Body Image

Cultivate a positive body image with these expert tips.
618981846

618981846

Photo by: Cecilie_Arcurs

Cecilie_Arcurs

In a social-media driven world full of perfect, curated images, it can be hard to not compare yourself to others, and love the body you are in. Since we could all use a little boost from time to time, we chatted with top fitness and nutrition experts on simple ways to promote positive body image. After all, there’s never a better time to start loving yourself than right now.

  1. Exercise because you want to, not because you have to.

Consider your relationship with exercise; do you do it because you have to or because you want to? When exercise is viewed as a mandate, essential only for desired aesthetics, it begins to feel like punishment, creating a negative experience that can last well after the workout is through. According to K. Aleisha Fetters MS, CSCS creator of Show Your Strength, “when people begin to exercise for performance, rather than trying to ‘fix’ something, their body image changes drastically.” Seeing your body adapting, progressing and performing tasks that didn’t feel possible before allows you to have new appreciation for what your body can do.

To begin, focus on what activities bring you the most enjoyment. Ignore the suggested caloric burns on the machines (they’re usually off anyways) and instead focus on what makes you feel your best.

  1. Don’t dwell in negative space

Even the most self-assured individuals can feel down about their bodies from time to time. After all, we’re only human. Instead of lingering in that space, turn a negative into a positive. Anne Mauney MPH, RD, author of fANNEtastic food offers up this advice. “Anytime your notice yourself criticizing your body, acknowledge it and then offer up something positive instead that’s not image related. Focus on the things your body can do, like enjoying a nice walk or picking up your child.”

Additionally, begin to identify what triggers you to feel badly about your body. Rebecca Clyde MS, RDN, CD, Body Positivity Champion at Nourish Nutrition encourages you to “get to the source of negative thoughts about your body. If you are able to recognize and resist those feelings, you’re in a better place to move beyond them.” If you notice that you’re feeling less-than after watching a certain reality show, reading a magazine or being around various individuals, you’re able to either avoid these situations or create a game-plan for moving on.

  1. Follow body-positive people on social media

It’s easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you surround yourself with those who recognize the importance of liking yourself for who you naturally are.  The same is true for who we follow on social media. Rachael Hartley RD/LD, CDE, CLT, author of Joyful Eating, Nourished Life advises to, “follow plus-sized models and healthy-at-every-size activists on Instagram. In traditional media, we’re exposed to a very narrow definition of beauty. It’s important to train our eyes to recognize that beauty isn’t size specific.” Favorite accounts include @healthyisthenewskinny, @hapsters and @dove.

  1. Practice gratitude.

Keep a daily gratitude journal to reflect on all the wonderful things you were able to do or experience. Focusing on abundance, on possibilities, is a powerful framework for feeling good about one’s life, hopefully spilling over into body-image. Rebecca Clyde agrees, adding, “you are more than your body. Instead of focusing on how your body looks, write down a few things everyday about what you are grateful for.”

  1. Practice Self-Care

It’s easier to love your body when you take care of it. Whatever makes you feel your best, indulge often. Whether that’s 10 minutes of morning meditation, curling up uninterrupted with a good book, or getting a massage, you are worth it.

Alex Caspero MA, RD, RYT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Yoga Teacher. She is the founder of Delish Knowledge ( delishknowledge.com ), a resource for healthy, whole-food vegetarian recipes. In her private coaching practice, she helps individuals find their "Happy Weight." 

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Holiday Beauty Bash! 7 Ways to Nourish Your Body from the Outside In

These beauty products are so healthy and fresh they're good enough to eat!

Cucumbers, 5 Ways

This time of year farmers’ markets and backyard gardens are overflowing with cucumbers. Here are 5 favorite recipes for these cool and refreshing veggies.

Eggs 5 Ways

Eggs are budget-friendly and a delicious meatless alternative for protein. If you're worried about cholesterol, don't -- according to the American Heart Association, an egg a day is a-okay. Try our five favorite healthy egg recipes.

Chocolate 5 Ways

Just a touch of chocolate is all you need to remind that special someone how you feel. This Valentine’s Day,scrumptious chocolate recipes morning, noon or night.

Pomegranate, 5 Ways

Whether you prefer sipping on pomegranate juice or biting into pomegranate seeds, we’ve got 5 fun ways to love this spectacular, nutrient-filled fruit.

Mushrooms 5 Ways

Super low in calories but packed with energy-producing B-vitamins and even some vitamin D, mushrooms add a flavor boost to your healthy dishes. Whether you prefer them raw or cooked, here are 5 ways to try them.

Tofu 5 Ways

I’m always trying to convince people to experiment with protein-packed tofu. It’s versatile, easy to use, and has only 15 calories per ounce. Don’t think you’re a fan of this soy protein? These recipes might just change your mind.

Cherries 5 Ways

Cherry season has arrived! These babies are brimming with antioxidants including vitamins A and C, anthocyanin and quercitin. They’re also one of our favorite and mouthwatering warm weather fruit. Here are 5 fun ways to enjoy them.

Blueberries 5 Ways

Despite their small size, these berries are a nutrition powerhouse. Packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, serve them up in these five fun recipes.

Pork 5 Ways

It’s a common misconception that all pork products are bad for you. While you may want to keep your intake of fatty and salty bacon modest, lean cuts of pork are just as low in fat and calories as chicken breast (that’s where the slogan “the other white meat” came from). Pork is also one of the best sources of thiamin – an energy producing B-vitamin. So if you’re tired of the same old chicken recipes, give these five a try.

On TV

The Pioneer Woman

9:30am | 8:30c

Cupcake Wars

10am | 9c

Cake Wars

11am | 10c

Cake Wars

12pm | 11c

The Pioneer Woman

1:30pm | 12:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

2:30pm | 1:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

3:30pm | 2:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

4:30pm | 3:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

5:30pm | 4:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

6:30pm | 5:30c

Chopped

7pm | 6c

Chopped

9pm | 8c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Beat Bobby Flay

10pm | 9c

Beat Bobby Flay

10:30pm | 9:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

11:30pm | 10:30c

Chopped

12am | 11c

Beat Bobby Flay

1:30am | 12:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

2:30am | 1:30c

Mystery Diners

4:30am | 3:30c

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.