It’s summer, which means it’s the time that everyone feels entitled to comment on each other’s bodies, whether those comments are positive or hurtful.
For women who are trying to lose weight, bikini season can be a reminder of the journey toward weight loss so far, and what still remains to be accomplished.
However, the journey of weight loss doesn’t have to be emotionally painful, and you can still love who you are in the process.
In fact, several experts share their tips for keeping your self-love alive and strong even while losing weight:
1) Make a choice
Easier said than done, but Melinda Parrish, a plus-size model with Ford Models and a body-positivity advocate, advised that women need to make a choice to embrace their bodies as-is, and focus on what they love about their bodies.
2) Detox yourself from a negative mindset
Parrish said there is a whole process of ridding yourself of the mindset that you have, while constantly working on changing your body. This process will take time and require you to consciously intend to change your mindset.
3) Look at exercise in a different way
Parrish had to reframe the way she looked at exercise. She made a conscious decision to look at exercise as a way of showing her body “love through movement.” She deliberately made the desire to lose weight and the desire to be active separate entities, instead of mutually inclusive.
4) Stop judging your food choices
Eating doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, allow yourself to eat foods that you love in reasonable portions, and eat when you’re actually hungry, Parrish said.
5) Loving your body while wanting to lose weight
In fact, you may want to lose weight because you love your body and want to be at the healthiest weight possible.
Embrace your body and make sure you’re choosing to lose weight because you love yourself and are taking care of yourself. Don't do it because society and your friends and family want you to, Parrish added.
6) Get rid of negative body image triggers
Triggers include social media that suggests you need to look a certain way, according to Lauren McAulay, a body-love coach and self-love advocate. She encourages women to ditch the diet blogs and magazines, and only follow people on social media who are both pro-body positive and inspiring.
7) Choose your friends wisely
McAulay encourages women to surround themselves with people that have a positive body image, for themselves and others. Anyone who judges you or makes you feel judged just because of how you look and your body type shouldn’t have a place in your life. Constant diet and weight talk is also detrimental.
Maybe you don’t want to get rid of certain friends completely, and can’t cut out family. Just spend much less time with them if they can’t change their ways after you discuss their hurtful words and behaviors.
8) Wear clothes that feel comfortable
Make sure you are wearing the proper size for your body — don’t squish your body into skinny jeans if it feels like you’re going to cut off your circulation. The size of your clothes is just a number. It doesn’t determine your worth, McAulay added.
9) Avoid checking out your flaws
We all have done it at one point: touching, grabbing or pulling your stomach or other parts of your body with extra fat. Then there are the moments in front of the mirror where it’s too easy to analyze your body and its perceived flaws.
Summer can be a tough time, since we tend to wear more revealing clothes, but avoid the temptation of looking yourself over for flaws, also known as “body checking,” McAulay said.
10) Make self-love a daily habit
You can keep yourself in the lifetime practice of self-love by speaking positive affirmations to yourself and the world, McAulay said. Possible affirmations include, “I am beautiful,” “I am powerful,” and “I am worthy.”
You can also think about what you love about yourself, not just your body, and write those insights down. Another option is to call a close friend if you’re needing inspiration, and ask them what they love about you the most.
What are your tips for starting to or continuing to love your body while also trying to lose weight and becoming more active? Please share in the comments section below.
Reviewed June 29, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith