About two months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting one of our Elevate coaches, Lynn for a trip to Dubai. Maybe it was being in a totally different place, but she and I decided to do a photoshoot on the Dubai streets. The shoot meant leaving my comfort zone, but I loved it. How can you foster that kind of confidence as well?
Here are my top body confidence tips:
- Leave your comfort zone sometimes
- Love yourself as you are right now
- Think of your body as your best friend
- Embrace positive influences in your life
- Repeat positive affirmations
- Take a social media break
- Use body neutrality
I hope this post will be an eye-opening and soul-opening experience for you, so definitely keep reading!
My Photoshoot in the Streets of Dubai
I’ve been into health and fitness for a long time now, and I will admit that I do have confidence in my body. I’m also no stranger to photoshoots, although those are usually in a place where I feel most comfortable, the gym.
Those kinds of shoots are easy for me. You’re trying to showcase your physique, usually certain areas, so you know to bend or flex or pose a certain way to make muscles pop.
The shoot that Lynn and I did in Dubai was not a fitness photoshoot. It was a lifestyle shoot. It wasn’t in a gym either. It was in the streets of Dubai.
Shooting in a gym is a relatively private affair. It’s an enclosed building and only certain people are there. I’d usually close off the gym while shooting photos to keep the background uncluttered.
The Dubai photoshoot was different. We were outside in the middle of the street. We couldn’t tell people, “no, don’t walk the way we’re going,” and we couldn’t help the cars that were passing by either.
Dubai is the most iconic country in the world with close to 20 million visitors a year. Another 2.9 million people live there, says World Population Review.
To say it was crowded when we did this photoshoot would have been the understatement of the century. People were looking at us, because of course, they were. You would look too if someone was taking photos in the middle of a crowded street.
Lynn and I were getting a lot of stares.
It was all at once an electrifying and exhilarating feeling, getting all that attention, and terrifying as well.
In the end, I’m so, so glad that I decided at that moment that leaving my comfort zone was a great idea, because it was!
After wrapping up that shoot, I felt so much more confident in myself than I would during a standard gym shoot because I went out on a limb.
Plus, I’ll always have the photos to look back on. They’re there to remind me of when I was my most confident (at least as of right now) and to help act as a pick-me-up when my self-esteem inevitably wavers.
7 Tips to Foster Confidence in Your Body
I’m sure you read through the last section and thought, “I would never do something like that.” Here’s the thing. I never thought that I could do a photoshoot in the streets of Dubai until I was doing it.
I know that a lot of my readers are just starting their health and fitness journeys or are feeling fatigued and frustrated from lack of results. How in the world do you find confidence in yourself, especially during those moments?
Here’s what I recommend.
Leave Your Comfort Zone Sometimes
Your self-confidence doesn’t solely have to be based on the way you look or the pounds you’ve dropped or anything like that. Rather, you can feel good about what you’re capable of doing or achieving.
I usher you to leave your comfort zone just as I did!
Now, don’t worry. You don’t have to book an immediate flight to Dubai and find the busiest streetcorner for photos.
You don’t even have to do something half as daring.
That said, I want you to do something that you normally wouldn’t.
Is that going to feel uncomfortable? Oh yes. That’s why it’s called leaving your comfort zone. You’re stretching yourself in new and innovative ways, and that’s not easy.
Once you do it though, you’ll feel so much better about yourself. I promise!
Love Yourself as You Are Right Now
In my line of work, I see it all the time.
Women (and men too, of course) resist loving themselves as they are because they’re reserving that self-love for when they lose five pounds or go down two dress sizes.
Here’s the thing, though. When you enter that kind of mindset, enough is never enough. You can lose the five pounds or two dress sizes and you’ll want to go down two more dress sizes and take off 15 pounds.
In the meantime, life is passing you by.
Have you ever seen an old photo of yourself at a time when you didn’t feel particularly confident in yourself? You might gawk at yourself and be like, “wow, I was so pretty,” or “wow, I was so skinny.”
And then you inevitably ask yourself, “Why didn’t I appreciate how good I looked?”
The reason is that you didn’t see it, just like you don’t see it now.
Don’t let another three or five years go by where you look at pictures of yourself from right now and feel just as wistful.
Work on fostering self-love for the way you look right now. I know, you want to lose weight, or you want to change this or that. Just try it.
This way, when you look at yourself five years from now, you’ll marvel over how beautiful you are, and you’ll remember being aware of it and appreciating it.
Think of Your Body as Your Best Friend
The way we talk to ourselves about our bodies can be truly heinous. The thoughts that pass through our heads are something we’d never say to anyone except for our bitterest of enemies.
Imagine if your best friend came to you having a bad body image period.
You wouldn’t agree with her when she said she felt fat, right? Never in a million years! This is your friend, and you love her.
Ask yourself why it’s okay for you to talk to yourself that same way. Just because you’re not saying the words out loud doesn’t mean they don’t have a negative effect.
My next body confidence tip I this. Treat your body like your best friend.
The next time you find yourself having a mean thought about your body, stop yourself. When you look at yourself in the mirror and you want to gripe, don’t. I’ll tell you what you can say instead a little bit later.
Embrace Positive Influences in Your Life
One of my favorite parts about going to Dubai was getting to hang out with Lynn and record a podcast with her right in the same room. That’s something we’ve never gotten to do before and, now that we’re back in our respective homes, probably won’t for the next little while.
Seeing her and being around her made me realize how much I appreciate Lynn as such a positive female role model.
I’m sure you have such role models too, male or female. They don’t have to be in the health and fitness community.
Rather, you’re looking for people who bolster your self-esteem and remind you that you’re amazing. These people can be friends, coworkers, a spouse or partner, a neighbour, or a family member.
Whoever it is, their influence always makes you feel better about yourself. Remember to exchange the favor when you can and lift up others in your life!
Repeat Positive Affirmations
I love starting my day with a good positive affirmation. It’s an excellent way to ensure things get off to the right foot, sometimes even before you get out of bed.
Well, positive affirmations don’t solely have to be about your life, your job, your finances, or your relationships. They can revolve around your body as well!
Start with a simple one. “My body deserves love” or “My body is a gift.”
Your body is a gift, even if you’re not happy with how it looks right this moment. Your body is an incredible thing that allows you to get up, walk around, hold things, see, taste, smell, and hear. You’re blessed to be in your body!
Once you believe those things about yourself, you can move on to more advanced body positive affirmations such as, “Being skinny or fat is not my identity. I am identified by who I am on the inside, a loving, wonderful person.”
Now, does saying an affirmation each day mean you believe it? Not at first, no. The more you do it, though, the more you will start to believe what you’re telling yourself!
Take a Social Media Break
Billions of people around the world use social media. How many of us actually use it because we enjoy it versus because we’re addicted to it or feel like we have to be on there to keep up appearances?
Social media has been tied to feelings of depression and reduced self-esteem. If you’re not comparing your life to your high school classmates’ lives on Facebook, then you’re on Instagram comparing your body to the perfect Instagram model’s.
Here’s the thing about a lot of those social media images: they’re not real. People use apps and filters to edit themselves to perfection. The people in the photos don’t even look like that.
Even still, that doesn’t mean these photos don’t have an effect.
A 2021 report from Illinois State University reports that “Studies have found a correlation between the time spent on social media and a negative body image. The correlation is especially true when participants were scrolling through appearance-related content like accounts of a fitness instructor or model on Instagram.”
Fortunately, the Illinois State University study and other data show that social media can have a positive effect if users see more body positive content.
Even still, sometimes all you need is some time to unplug and detox from social media. Do it as often as you require until you feel better.
After all, I promise you, your Facebook or Instagram feed will still be the same when you get back.
Use Body Neutrality
What if you’re struggling with all this positive self-talk about your body or picking out things about yourself that you like?
At the very least, if you can’t be positive, you can be neutral.
Body neutrality is taking a non-emotional approach to how you perceive your body. You make your body image less significant one way or another so it doesn’t dominate so many facets of your everyday life.
You can repeat body-neutral mantras if the body-positive ones feel too overwhelming to you. For example, maybe you say something like, “My appearance is going to change a lot over the years. Sometimes I’ll find myself more attractive and sometimes less so. And that’s okay.”
Even looking in the mirror and saying “this is my body” is considered body neutral. You’re not saying your body is good or bad, just that it’s there.
Some days, especially when you’re having a bad body image day but you don’t really want to dedicate too much space or time to it, body neutrality can be a saving grace.
Even on those good body image days, you’re preventing yourself from giving your body too much attention, which is healthy.
For me personally, stepping outside of my comfort zone was one of the times I’ve felt the most confident in a long while. There are many ways to gain confidence though, and I highly encourage you to explore the tips and methods I presented to you today to find yours!