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6 Steps to Improve Body Image and Self-esteem6 Steps to Improve Body Image and Self-esteem


6 Steps to Improve Body Image and Self-esteem

A poor body image can make you miserable and even prevent you from meeting your fitness goals. Follow these steps to maximize your chances of success by incorporating self-love and self-respect into your health journey.

Step 1

Start by recognizing that the only opinion that matters is your opinion. Self-respect originates from the self — not from others.

Step 2

Break the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting. To do this, you first need to recognize the cycle, which typically follows this pattern:

  • You have feelings of inadequacy and discontentment with your body.
  • You start a crash diet in an attempt to lose weight.
  • You are not able to maintain the unrealistic requirements of your crash diet.
  • You regain the weight that you lost (and oftentimes surpass your original body weight).
  • Your feelings of inadequacy and discontentment with your body are worse than when you started.

Sound familiar?

You can avoid this trap by refusing to crash diet. They are not sustainable, and they do nothing to teach you healthy habits. Instead, try converting your existing lifestyle into a healthy one. Luckily, you are already on the right path by using MyFoodDiary.

Step 3

Chronic dieters commonly bash themselves with negative self-talk. Try replacing this harmful habit with positive affirmations, which focus on your positive characteristics and provide a gateway to improving self-love.

Take a few minutes at the beginning of each day to stand in front of a mirror and speak your positive affirmations out loud. You will probably feel a little silly, but research has shown this approach is effective. Affirmations should use words and phrases like respect, cherish, care, love, dignity, beautiful, treasure, worth it, happiness, confidence, health, acceptance, and responsibility.


I am beautiful, and I deserve happiness. I respect and cherish my body and its amazing functions. I love and care for myself at all times.

Repeat your affirmations throughout the day, especially when you recognize negative self-talk creeping into your mind.

Step 4

Start journaling your thoughts and feelings. You do not need to write about anything specific — just write at least three paragraphs daily. This practice can help you identify negative self-talk and challenge it. Always end your journal entry with a positive affirmation.

Step 5

Be patient and gentle with yourself. Allow yourself time to decompress every day. Remind yourself that your appearance is only a small part of who you are. Explore your interests and talents, and experience life through these channels. Always view diet and exercise as ways to care for your body — not as punishing methods to lose weight.

Step 6

If you continue to struggle with your self-image, consider finding a therapist to help you work through these issues. Hearing an objective person challenge your self-defeating beliefs can be helpful.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
Eat better. Feel better. MyFoodDiary Categories Exercise
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