How to Be Confident in Your Body in 3 Simple Steps
Feeling comfortable, and confident, in your body is the most freeing and rewarding feeling. Time is no longer spent constantly worrying about what you eat, how you look and what to wear. If you worry about these things often, you’re not alone. Society conditions us to overly stress about these things, and they’re exhausting! Everyone deserves to feel confident in their bodies – in fact, it’s one of the most common and one of my favorite concepts to work on with clients.
I get how hard it can be. I’ve been there. If you’ve been following me on social media, read my blog or even just read around my website, you probably know the gist of my own story: I stayed thin in high school by not eating nearly enough. In college, my metabolism (and a thyroid disorder) caught up to me - I gained 30 pounds and became overly self-conscious. Finally, after college, I learned how to eat healthfully, include all foods in my diet, and at last, feel comfortable and confident in my skin.
Since those first post college years, my weight has stayed pretty much the same, as has my comfort in my body. We all have days where we don’t like the way we feel or look, but for the most part, getting dressed no longer stresses me out or makes me feel badly about myself. It wasn’t until a few months ago, when I randomly gained a few pounds that I couldn’t figure out, that I started to question my body again. Why did I gain weight? Do my clothes feel tighter? Should I go up a size in jeans?!
Ironically, I probably would never have known that I gained those few pounds had I not seen it on the scale. I looked and felt the exact same. After the initial confusion, I’m now comfortable with these few, minor pounds and know that they literally mean nothing. Our self-worth and confidence goes way beyond a silly number. However, that brief shock reminded me what it’s like to question your body, not feel good about yourself, and not feel confident. It’s not fun. So, in 3 super simple steps, I want to teach you how to be comfortable in your body and achieve body confidence – no matter what you weigh – once and for all.
1. Eat to feel good
Think about how you feel physically when you eat balanced, healthy meals. You probably have energy. You feel comfortable. You feel satisfied. Unlike when you eat overly healthy or restrict certain food groups, you don’t feel deprived. And unlike when you binge on too much food, you don’t feel overly full and uncomfortable.
Focus on eating foods that make you feel good, because they make you feel good. Shifting from “eating a salad because I think I should” to “eating a grain bowl with veggies and chicken because it fills me up and keeps me satisfied” makes a world of difference in how your body physically feels. Know that all foods are allowed, and enjoy them fully and mindfully. When you eat anything, try to eat to a point of comfortable fullness. Both being overly hungry and being overly full don’t physically feel good.
When you eat foods with a goal to physically feel good, you then physically feel good. And when you feel good physically, it’s easier to feel good in and about your body.
2. Move your body and be proud of what it can do
You’ve probably heard before to exercise in a way that feels good, and to avoid exercising as punishment or as compensation for food. While I agree with this 100%, I also want to challenge you to take it a step further: recognize what your body can do. And be proud of what it can do.
I genuinely love exercise and moving my body. While, thankfully, I’ve never exercised as a compensatory behavior, as a runner, I definitely have days where my runs feel better/faster/strong than others. Instead of getting down on myself about a slower or harder run, I’m always grateful for what my body can do. For example, after a 3-mile run, I’ll think to myself, “Wow, my legs just carried me and ran for 3 miles. That is amazing!”
Similarly, whatever exercise you love to do (more on finding the exercise that works for you in All Foods Fit!), be proud and grateful that your body can do it. If you strength train or lift weights, how cool is it that you can do a push up or a burpee?! Be proud of your body for the weights you can lift! If you like to do yoga, it’s amazing that you can flow and that your body can find that sense of calm, or move in those specific ways. Whatever you like to do, be proud and grateful of your body for being able to do it. It makes you appreciate your body in a way that also helps you to be confident in it.
3. Buy clothes that fit
I know this one might sound silly, but it’s all too easy to buy clothes in a smaller size because you think you should be that size or because you want to be that size. I’ve totally been there too, and I get it. In college, after gaining weight, naturally, I went up a few jeans sizes. For whatever reason, size X seemed like the highest acceptable size to me, even though I really needed jeans a size larger, in size Y. Instead of buying size Y jeans that would’ve fit, I continued to buy jeans in size X. And every time I got dressed, I felt like crap. My jeans never fit properly, they were always too tight, they weren’t comfortable, and because they were too tight, they didn’t look nearly as good as they would’ve if they just fit properly. I wasn’t doing myself any favors by buying the smaller size X.
Instead, buy clothes because they fit your body – regardless of what the number says. Clothing sizes are so ambiguous. Jeans that might fit you in one brand in a size X might fit you better in another brand in size Y. Even jeans within the same brand often run differently! Buying the size that fits you best means that 1) you’ll feel most comfortable in the jeans (or any clothes) and 2) that you’ll look better in them too. Clothes that fit tend to look better than clothes that don’t!
The number or size on the tag does not matter. Again, brands run differently, clothing runs different and people run differently. I have friends who weigh less than me and wear a bigger jean size than me, and vice versa. Our bodies are all different, and that number seriously means nothing. Buy the clothes that fit your body best. Wearing clothes that are too small only serve to remind you that they’re too small and make you constantly focus on your body. Clothes that actually fit are the clothes that you’ll feel physically comfortable in and look your best in to help you feel most confident in your body – no matter what the size.
It takes time, effort and a lot of positive self-talk to get to a place of genuinely accepting and feeling comfortable in your body. Again, don’t expect that every day will be perfect – there will always be days where you don’t feel great and that’s totally normal. But, by following these 3 simple steps and making them a part of your life, you can truly start to feel confident in your skin the majority of the time. This means you get to spend less time micromanaging what you eat, how much you exercise and what you wear, and spend more time just LIVING.
These concepts can be difficult but are so worth getting the hang of. For more help feeling confident in your body and what you eat, check out my program, All Foods Fit, or reach out to meet with me for one-on-one nutrition counseling sessions.