• Before you look in the mirror, think optimistically. When you start your day, decide how you are feeling before going to the mirror. Remind yourself that it’s okay to like and appreciate what you see, no matter what size you are

  • Wear clothes you feel comfortable in. Don’t hold off on buying stylish clothes that you like — do it now! Dress to express yourself, not to impress others. You should feel good in what you wear. Avoid clothes that are too baggy, too tight, or restrict movement
  • Stay away from the scale — as a matter of fact, get rid of it! If your weight needs to be monitored, leave that up to the doctors. How much you weigh should never affect your self-esteem or your sense of who you are.

Make a “why I like myself” list. Think of all the things you like about yourself– are you honest, creative, intelligent, compassionate, loyal, or kind? Think of all the reasons you deserve to love yourself and write them down. Hang the list up next to the mirror as a reminder that those things are what make you truly beautiful.

Take the time to do nice things for your body. One a month get a massage, a manicure, or a facial. Pamper yourself to long hot baths by candlelight. Take naps when you need to, just because you can!

Take risks to challenge yourself. Think of things you normally wouldn’t do and try them: leave the house without makeup, get a wild new haircut, or spend all day in your pajamas. The point is that your makeup, hair and clothes do not make you who you are!

Stay active. Movement helps improve everyone’s sense of being. Take up Yoga or Tai’ Chi. Join a Karate class. Take a thirty-minute walk three days a week. Get outside and play volleyball with the kids or go roller skating in the park with your friends. Take a leisurely bike ride at sunrise. Make angels in the snow and sandcastles at the beach. Be active and enjoy life!

Go places you’d never go alone. Ever go to a movie by yourself? Or enjoy a cup of coffee at the local cafe and read the paper? How about a fancy restaurant, dinner for one? These are treasured experiences, and allow you to spend time with yourself. You are the most important person you need to get to know and love spending time with.

Stay alert and fight negative self-talk. When that little voice of pops up in your mind trying to remind you how horrible you think you are, practice turning those negatives to positives. No one is perfect! When you find yourself being self critical immediately stop and pay yourself a compliment!

Ask for a hug when you need it. Sometimes there is no better therapy then a hug and a kind word from someone that cares about you, but our loved-ones aren’t mind readers! Tell them when you’re having a bad day and ask for a hug, a shoulder to lean on, or an ear to listen.

Stay away from fashion magazines. Most models make up less than one percent of the human population when it comes to their size. In addition, each one has a staff of people to make them transform into what the final photo looks like– designers, make-up artists, camera people and lighting specialists, and photo retouchers (think “airbrush”). Instead, invest in magazines that contribute to who you are, such as news magazines or magazines that relate to your hobbies and interests (art, music, sports, traveling, home decorating, gardening, etc.).

Remind yourself that the people who truly love you, love you for you, not for what you look like.

Remind yourself that looking healthy is something positive. It means that you are well rested, eating right and nurturing your soul. It means no more than that, and no less than that.

Adapted from:
Tips to Improve your Body Image,” Something Fishy Website on Eating Disorders. Viewed 16 July 2004.