Overcoming Body Image Challenges with Affirmations

6 min read
Photo by Vana Ash on Unsplash

You’d be surprised how many people suffer from body image challenges. Even people you think have it all figured out.

I’ve competed as a bodybuilding figure champion and a CrossFit Games athlete, but all along, I faced personal challenges with body image. I’ve also worked as a model, actor and hip hop dancer, all the while experiencing body shaming from agents, acting coaches, and casting along the way.

Coping with my own negative body image led me to a career as a Certified Eating Psychology Coach. Now, I host workshops, speak to people around the country, and have programs and products through which I coach people online and in private.  My mission is to impact as many people as possible to continually create the next best version of themselves, and love the skin they’re in every single day. And the good news is, no matter where we are along the journey of body acceptance, self-love, positive self-image… affirmations are a tool that can help pull us forward!

Bad patterns and negative thoughts can hold anyone back from living the life they want to live. Whether you want a better sex life, a more attractive body or an improved career, I’ve found that affirmations can help you to make changes in your life and accomplish your goals.

The reality is that part of the reason you may not be seeing the changes you want, is because 80 percent of our thoughts tend to be negative. That’s our default. Thank you very much, human consciousness. It doesn’t take being intentional to be negative. But if you ARE intentional, and start taking teeny tiny steps to pull yourself in the other direction, you CAN create a better life.

So what are affirmations anyway? Affirmations are statements and kind of mantras that help us exercise our brains in a positive direction, in  turn guiding our lives in a more positive direction. The most powerful affirmations start with ‘I am’ statements, because when our brain hears those words it accepts them as true. We can likely all think of a statement right now that is in the ‘negative’ self-talk camp and begins with “I am”… for example, “I am not good enough. I am not attractive. I am unhealthy. I am (fill in the blank)”  The good news is, this can be your formula for a powerful ‘I am’ statement that is the opposite, positive version of your negative statement. I’ll expand on this below, but essentially, when we are conscious of our current relationship with self and how that plays out in our life, we can use that to take ourselves where we want to be.

Affirmations are truths that we often desire to experience in a more tangible way. We might not currently believe them or we might not yet authentically feel honest when we say an affirmation such as “I am beautiful”.

One really important thing to know about starting an affirmation practice, is that it’s ok if it doesn’t feel true yet! Essentially, it’s about speaking into a desire of what we want to become. And when we speak affirmations, not when we BELIEVE them, but simply by speaking them, there are actually chemical reactions happening in our brain that begin to build the neural pathways involved in positive self-image. So practices like affirmations, while they may feel silly or ineffective at first, can actually pull us closer to our desires. Over time, our conscious self will begin to say “I am attractive” and ACTUALLY wholeheartedly embrace the statement.

How do you create your positive affirmations? You must first identify the negatives that are dragging you down. The idea is to do a general brainstorm of all of the negative thoughts that come up for you and redirect them. Statements such as, “I’m overweight,” “I’m never going to reach my goals,” “I’m never going to be consistent with my fitness,” can prevent you from making true progress in your intentions to take care of and love your body.

As I mentioned above, we are likely to default to the negative thoughts…. not only that, but negative thoughts are much more powerful than positive thoughts. Think of a time someone complimented you…

Now, think of a time someone insulted you… if you are like most of us, the negative comment came to mind right away, and was a much more potent and vivid memory than the compliment. There is something to the negativity and “drama” that pulls us in. So, after you write out these negative statements, then look for positive statements to counteract the negative. Go down your list, and redesign each negative statement into a positive, affirmational “I Am…” statement. I highly recommend setting an alarm on your phone for morning and or night as a designated time to do the practice.

By using the positive statements to create affirmations and regularly saying these statements out loud, in the mirror, then you are on the road to being able to retrain your brain and reach your goals. Even if your inner critic is laughing at the statements like, “I am beautiful,” “I am confident,” “I am taking care of my body,” “I am healthy,” you are on the path to a new mindset. By making affirmations a regular practice you will ultimately start to believe these things.

You can beat negative self talk by being conscious of it, rewriting the pattern and saying affirmations on a consistent basis. As a result, you will be contributing to the phenomenon of neuroplasticity in your brain, which is its ability to physically alter based on a change in input, stimuli, thought patterns, etc. The reshaping from affirmational, positive self-image practices like affirmations, create newer and stronger thought pathways to get you on the road toward your desired result.

Try These Great Affirmations

“I’m open to finding a partner who loves me no matter what my body goes through.”

The key word in this affirmation is “open.” When you’re not feeling confident in your body, you might not even go out on dates. This helps us confront that fear so we are open to finding a partner who will love you no matter what you look like.

“I am learning to own my body.”

This would be for the person who can’t stand in front of a mirror and say “I own my body.” This allows us to be in practice and in transition. Using a word like “learning,”  practicing, or “working on” is totally okay if you aren’t ready to say it outright yet. You can interchange this with “I embrace my body” “I love my body” or “I honor my body” on any given day too.

“I am worthy. I am worthy of love no matter what.” 

We all have stuff that comes up from our past, but none of it disqualifies us from being lovable, whole, beautiful and worthy of love.

About Tessie Tracy www.tessietracy.com

I am a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, and I host workshops, speak to people around the country, and have programs and products through which I coach people online and in private. My mission is to impact as many people as possible to continually create the next best version of themselves, and love the skin they're in every single day.

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