The journey of learning to love and accept your body

Learning to love and accept your body can be a long journey for many people.

Over a third of adults have felt anxious or depressed about their body image according to the Mental Health Foundation.

The internet can be destructive for some, as social media allows people to see other’s bodies that can be idealised as the perfect type.

James Green from health business Bodywise said: “We often follow different influencers, fitness models and even friends/family members that make us feel bad about our bodies.

“Sometimes it’s a subconscious thing that we don’t fully recognise. 

“Photoshopping has come a long way since the early 2000’s but there are still a lot of models with size 0 bodies who appear to have no cellulite or individual quirks about their bodies.

“This can make people view their body as not ‘normal’ and influence them to want to change it. 

“Family and friends are another big influencer, arguably the largest influence on how people view their body.

“If a family member or friend makes a rude comment it hurts deeply as it is an opinion you respect.

“You are likely to internalise that opinion and believe them.”

Green expressed the importance of surrounding yourself with friends and family that lift you up and love you for the way you are.

PROMOTING BODY CONFIDENCE: Negative body thoughts can occur no matter your size

The Mental Health Foundation found that higher body dissatisfaction is associated with a poorer quality of life, psychological distress and the risk of unhealthy eating behaviours and eating disorders.

In 2021 the foundation launched the Mind Over Mirror campaign which focuses on the impact body image can have on mental health.

Our bodies are something that are with us for life so when we are not happy with them it can severely affect our mental health and life in general.

Polly Arnold from BodyWise listed three things you can do to start to love and accept your body:

1. Build a connection with yourself

“You can’t love your body if you don’t feel connected to it, you are with your body for life so it’s best to get to know it.

“One great way to build a connection with yourself is to stand in the mirror each morning and smile at yourself. It’s a small gesture but it reminds you that you are on your side and promotes self-love.”

2. Try to accept compliments

“Often when people give us a compliment about our bodies we brush it off and move on because we don’t fully believe what they’re saying.

“We think they are just saying it to be nice but only by really trying to accept someone else’s view as truth and that someone really does think you look amazing, can you start to change your own narrative.

“Each time you fully accept a compliment as true, you are slowly breaking down the wall of hatred you have built.”

3. Thank your body

“A great way to fully appreciate yourself is to have gratitude for every single thing your body has done for you and think back to everything you have done in your life.

“You may have climbed a mountain, given birth, faced hardships, danced the night away, fell in love, made beautiful connections and so on.

“Your body has literally been your support through all of this.

“Without the strength and beauty of your body you would never have experienced anything that you have experienced.

“Be grateful for that. It gets you to start being appreciative as opposed to despiteful.”

Body positivity advocate Claire Godman said: “Be aware of images, slogans, social media accounts that make you feel body conscious and then block these accounts.

“Try and develop a broad sense of beauty that beauty is not just skin deep.

“It is important to recognise that its ok to feel negative about your body sometimes, you can deal with those moments by having compassion and love for yourself.”

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