7 Steps to a positive body image

Jun 25, 2010 at 2:02 p.m. ET

Many of us frequently have those 'Bridget Jones' days where the mirror is our enemy -- and we just can't seem to view ourselves in a positive light. Therefore, we've compiled some tips to switch body image loathers to lovers!

Woman running near water

Feel positive about yourself as a whole person

Don't dwell on your imperfections, instead concentrate on your good points and your achievements. Are you a good friend? Is there a particular hobby you're good at? Is there something you've been successful at? By focusing on your good traits and achievements, you'll begin to feel good about yourself.

Don't put pressure on yourself to lose weight too fast

For a healthy weight loss, you should be aiming for 1kg or under per week.

Hide those scales

We recommend you weigh yourself once a week. Resist the temptation to weigh yourself every day, as this will only cause you distress - as your weight can fluctuate drastically throughout the day and week due to water retention, etc.

Try to exercise regularly

Studies have shown that endorphins ('feel good' hormones) are released during exercise and can boost your confidence, lift your mood and may help to make you feel great about yourself. Taking part in some sort of regular exercise may also help you feel less anxious about food and more positive about your body. Choose something you will enjoy or try something new, such as yoga, meditation, pilates or dance. You never know - you may have a hidden talent!

Surround yourself with people who love you...

...for who you are, who will help to boost your confidence and make you feel good about yourself. If you find your friends are unsupportive or make you feel uncomfortable, they are not true friends. Give toxic friends the boot and find new ones!

Try to be realistic...

...and come to terms with the shape and size your body is meant to be. We all have a natural body shape that is influenced by our genes. Wear clothes that complement your body. If you're having a bad day, try wearing your favourite outfit as this will help boost your confidence and make you feel good.

Don't let the media influence your body image

We're constantly bombarded with images of beautiful thin models in glossy magazines, on television and on billboards. These images can distort our image of what the 'ideal' person is supposed to be. When you look at those mags remind yourself: the photographs will no doubt have been air-brushed to reduce inches from waists or thighs, and remove any imperfections the celebrities may have.

If you continue to tell yourself something, you'll soon start to believe it's true - so say to yourself every day: 'I love my body'. It may sound silly at first, but you have to believe it to change your attitude. Positive thinking works!

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