By Finder blogger: Cheryl Tay, founder of Rock The Naked Truth
It’s normal to find something about yourself that you’re not entirely satisfied with, but we shouldn’t let these insecurities consume our lives. Ultimately, we are not defined by how we look and we shouldn’t make ourselves more miserable by wanting to look a certain way.
Here are 7 ways you can love yourself better.
1. Don’t compare yourself to others
We see these models everywhere – in magazines, in the movies, on TV, on social media and we want to look like them. But hey, a lot of these pictures you see have been heavily edited. Also, a lot of these celebrities are under immense stress everyday to keep to their stick-like figures, going on extreme diets that are detrimental to health. Do you think they are truly happy?
You are unique in yourself; you don’t need to look like any of those models across glossy magazine covers for validation. Looking like any of them is not going to make people genuinely love you more. If people love you based on your appearance, then throw them away – you can do without the superficiality.
2. Don’t be motivated by weight loss
Let go of the numbers and throw out the scale! Stop counting calories, stop weighing yourself, stop measuring your body – all these numbers are going to drive you crazy.
Back at the height of my weight loss obsession, I did everything to get the numbers on the scale down. I ran on the treadmill for hours, overloaded on laxatives and diuretics, starved myself, sat in the sauna, attended hot yoga – basically anything that could push the numbers down.
Here’s the thing – if you are exercising because you want to be 38kg or get a 19-inch waist, you will give up eventually because exercise will become a chore to you. Thus, focus on improving your health and find an exercise that you genuinely enjoy doing.
3. Set realistic goals
Results don’t come immediately; if they do, chances are they won’t last. Those in showbiz – actors, models and singers for example – go on extreme diets and intense fitness regimes so that they can lose a certain amount of weight in a certain amount of time depending on the assignment they have. However, that is so unhealthy.
You have a normal life to lead, you have bosses to answer to and you have family to take care of – you can’t be spending all your time exercising. Set realistic goals along a long-term timeline, for example, wanting to lose 5kg across 6 months instead of 2 weeks. The aim is to keep them off and not lose them fast and gain them back quicker. Short-term successes achieved through fad diets or quick fixes will only make you feel worse. Be patient with results, be patient with progress, be patient about implementing changes into your life.
4. Develop a good relationship with food
DO NOT HATE FOOD. It is easy to blame food for “making you fat”, resulting in you losing interest in eating. When you are trying to lose weight, you will force yourself to eat healthy and hence find food a burden.
Many go on low-calorie diets and do not eat enough, but undereating is just as bad as overeating. When you don’t eat enough, your body will burn muscle instead of fats, but you need muscle to burn your fats. Therefore, undereating will affect your metabolism, so don’t be surprised that you are not losing weight or even gaining weight although you are eating 500 calories and exercising daily.
When dieting goes too far, some end up falling prey to eating disorders such as bulimia or binge eating. The more you restrict yourself, the worse it becomes and you end up binging and overeating. Don’t be afraid to eat, just keep a balanced diet and have treats in moderation.
Nutrition is very important as it forms 80% of your lifestyle and it is what fuels your body, so develop a good relationship and eat well!
5. Remember you are in control
You are in control of your life and you decide your actions. Nobody is putting a knife to your throat and forcing you to starve, nobody is demanding that you need to be size zero; so don’t feel pressured to become a certain size.
6. The biggest battles are fought in the head
It is all in the head and it all starts from within. It is essential to adopt the right mindset and lead a healthy lifestyle by treating your body right. Know what is good for your body and don’t do crazy things to abuse your body, which sticks with you for life. You cannot change your body, so embrace it well!
7. Find a support community
When we are sucked into the darkness of body image struggles, we might turn a deaf ear to our loved ones. Prevent yourself from falling into the hole by surrounding yourself with positive people in a non-judgmental environment. For example, Rock The Naked Truth is a body image movement that aims to help people overcome their struggles by finding confidence through fitness and positivity. You can attend their talks and go for their various workouts, to help keep you motivated.
About Cheryl Tay
Cheryl Tay is a Singapore-based fitness and sports photojournalist. After suffering from body image struggles for over a decade, she recently launched Rock The Naked Truth, a body image movement that encourages healthy and active living by encouraging confidence through fitness and overcoming insecurities.