4 Ways to Build A Positive Body Image

This morning I woke up, ate my ABS Protein Pancakes with some grass fed butter and agave, did a meditation and some journaling, then went through my normal routine of getting dressed and actually looked in the mirror and smiled pretty dang proud of who I am and actually loving my body. 10 Years ago, I can’t say that I would have had the same reaction looking in the mirror starting the day.

Rewind to 10 years ago and the process would have been more like this: Wake up, immediately get on a scale before eating to make sure I still am at my “ideal weight”, if not then go stress out about what to eat out of fear of gaining weight, if yes then I would proceed with getting dressed. After getting dressed and having breakfast, I may look in the mirror feeling content but also having a long mental list of everything I wanted to fix with my looks and my body. First thing being my thighs and my muscular physique. I’d go through the day constantly worrying about how I looked and maybe what others thought of how I looked dragging around this low self esteem and body image every where I went. I’d then go to sleep and repeat the process the next day except maybe the next day I would seek out compliments and approval from others to feel a little better about my body.

Sound crazy? Maybe…but maybe not. Low self esteem and having a negative body image is something I went through, but also something I saw many clients go through the last 10 years in the fitness industry. Blame it on our upbringing, on society, the media or whoever you want, but the truth is it’s more common than most women realize.

For every 5 female clients I trained, I would say 4 out of 5 had serious body obsession issues they were working through. This led me down the journey of realizing simply giving women workouts and diet plans would never solve the deeper issue that was going on which of course led to the creation of this whole brand and the different products helping women feel stronger and beautiful on the inside out, but we will get to that later.

The good news is that there is a way to overcome this obsession and I am living proof. I haven’t owned a scale in the last 7 years and honestly have no idea what I weight except once a year when I go to my annual wellness visit. Yep. I never weigh myself. I don’t own a scale and absolutely love my body. It’s because I don’t look to the scale or my dress size to validate me…I look to myself. Funny thing about this too is in building a solid relationship with yourself and your body I can almost guarantee you won’t find your weight fluctuating nearly as much. When you stop obsessing, things start balancing out.

How do you get to this point? How do you go from obsessing over your body daily, hourly, weekly to loving your body and embracing all of its uniqueness?

First, realize that you are not alone in how you feel about your body. It’s human nature to be body conscious it’s just a matter of re-programming how you think about your body. Even being aware that you struggle with low self esteem or having a negative body image is the first part of the process of change. Recognition and awareness is key to lasting change.

Asking someone to throw away or get rid of a scale after daily obsession over it is like asking an smoker to quit cold turkey. My suggestion would be to limit only weighing yourself once per week and to start focusing on the thoughts you do have when you step on the scale.

It’s amazing how much value us women put on the number of the scale. If we are at our goal weight then we are beautiful, sexy, awesome, kick ass. If we are 5lbs over we are disappointed, frustrated, feel worthless, and start the self-hate cycle.

Your value does not come from the number on the scale or your size. Your body is unique to YOU and is here to let you live life to its fullest so love it exactly where it is and move from that point.

Speaking of love, the Second step would be to start paying attention to your thoughts and things you say about your body. Anything that isn’t love then just let it go because it really isn’t serving you at all. What you think about your body and throw out in the world with your words comes back to you multiplied. How people treat you in friendships, relationships, in your job, and in your family are all a reflection of how you treat yourself.

If we speak to ourselves in a negative and belittling way, we give others permission to do the same. This realization can be both empowering and crappy because it now puts you in full responsibility for your relationships and what you bring into your life.

The awesome thing is now you have the option to make the change. Since you are still reading, I assume you are ready to take control and heal your relationship with your body.

Step 3: Start journaling. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but simply a tool to help you to better understand the thoughts that run through your mind all day. When we put are thoughts on paper it becomes much easier for us to identify our struggles and where we can work on things. Be compassionate and patient with yourself when you start off. If the first time you journal nothing comes up then just practice sitting there in silence with a pen and paper. If you have lots of thoughts come to you, write them all out without filtering or judging them. Do this for 10-15 minutes.

If your thoughts sound a lot like your worst enemy or like someone you want to punch in the face, then next to those thoughts or on another sheet of paper write out a positive version of that thought or what you would rather see/hear.

For example:

Negative Thought: I really hate the way my stomach looks right now and don’t even want to go to any social setting that requires a swimsuit because I hate the way my body looks in a swimsuit right now.

Positive Thought: My body is a work in progress and I am doing things every day to make healthier choices. Honestly, no one will even be paying attention to how I look because they will be so busy worrying about how they look so I’m going to embrace my curves and body and just have fun knowing that each day I am getting stronger and healthier.

See the difference?

Our thoughts and words dictate our reality in everything in life. It’s called the Law of Attraction. We are what we think about all day long. Might as well start thinking thoughts that help you get closer to what you want in life instead of repeating the same patterns and negative cycles.

As time goes on and you are replacing your negative thoughts about yourself with positive ones you will find the need to weigh yourself and criticize your body will no longer be as appealing as it used to because you aren’t defined by it anymore.

Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry. Rest when your body is achy and exhausted. Exercise your body and enjoy the ability to move and strengthen your body. Boost your confidence and strengthen your body regularly with weight training and heavy lifting. Surround yourself with people who love and support you.

You get one body in this life so you might as well love the crap out of it and treat it with the highest respect because you take it with you everywhere you go.

Step 4 and Probably My Favorite: Lift HEAVY WEIGHTS. I don’t care what blog you read or what fitness model tells you to do light weight and high reps there’s no other confidence booster like lifting heavy weights. There’s this whole stigma that if girls lift heavy weights they’ll get bulky and “thick”. I can tell you right now no girl ever got fat or chubby from lifting heavy weights. They got stronger, tighter, and more confident.

The picture on the left with the dumbbell was ironically when I did an amateur photo shoot and it was LOTS of high reps and light weight and let me tell you I was miserable. Workouts become a chore and so did food. No wonder people don’t stick with diets and crazy workout routines because they suck and are like another job.

The pictures  on the bottom and the right was lifting a heavy a** barbell and lifting my own body and both times after the movements I felt awesome, strong and like I could conquer the world because I was doing things that made me feel stronger not doing things because I hated my body and out of hate I was going to then torture my body.

Prepping for the pictures on the left like a struggle. The pictures on the right I didn’t prep for and felt like I was more authentically myself and more comfortable in my own skin.

If you’re new to heavy lifting, then just hire a trainer to show you some basic moves, join a gym and go through the intro program, whatever you have to do just start lifting and stop the cycle of being a cardio bunny. Weights and the barbell will become your therapist and days when you feel like you can’t handle life, you will go handle that weight like a champ and remind yourself of how strong you really are which of course in turn goes back to the point of this whole post…you will boost your body image.

Use these 4 steps in addition to any workout program like the Flat ABS that focuses on strengthening your mind and body from the inside out.

If you need more help on loving your body and life check out this article on Self-Love. Sign up for more tips on creating a body, life and business you love!

Ashley Drummonds

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