There are many stereotypes about women vs. men. Typically I do not like to follow along with these stereotypes, but one that I have found to be true highly often is that women tend to struggle with maintaining a positive body image. Many people say that this is due to several reasons:
- Images in the media of celebrities and models
- “Fat shaming” and other bullying
- Stereotypical norms and dimensions of what beautiful women should look like
As a Christian myself, my personal belief is that these reasons above are all just tools of the evil one intended for one purpose: to drag women down. Women were intended to be the pinnacle of beauty. The ultimate and final creation. However, the devil loves to pervert and twist and destroy. He attacks the very beauty that women were intended for, and he does it in our hearts and minds.
“Wait, you’re a Christian and you write about sexual topics?” Yep. Sex is also intended to be a beautiful thing that binds couples together. The theme for the site is not “that Christian sex site” because we intend for this site and the content to be available and helpful to everyone.
So, because I would like to encourage positive body image for all readers, male and female alike, below I propose 8 ways to have a positive body image!
#1: Find your purpose
You aren’t here to just work, have kids, get Obamacare, grow old, get Medicare, and die. Each person on the earth has unique skills and energy to be able to apply to things they are passionate about. Do you have a passion? Really, house mom with five kids who spends most of the day changing diapers after packing lunches and making sure the soccer car pool is scheduled. Do you have not only an outlet, but also something you really enjoy? Some goals you work toward? What do you look forward to? And it’s not allowed to just be “the weekend” so you don’t have to go to work.
You need to have an activity in your life that you daydream about. A purpose that you Google search about while you have some free time. Each person should have something they do that when they’re done they wish they weren’t done. Some goals they meet and then move higher. Some weekly activity that when you’re done and it’s time to go home you are already looking forward to next week.
If you do not have something like this in your life, and you can’t think of something you have done that inspires you like this… try something new. Really. Try kyaking. Join a soccer league / volleyball league / softball league / ping pong team / book club / bridge (card game) club / nature society. You don’t need to know how to do it or already be good at it or even know that you’ll like it. Just try new things until you find one that works for you.
What does purpose have to do with positive body image? Two things:
- If you think about your passionate activity regularly, you have a purpose for what you do that makes you feel good about yourself. Sitting at home watching Netflix probably doesn’t give you that purpose. How you see yourself begins in your heart, so you need to fill your heart with love. And out of your heart, everything around you is affected – your speech, your actions, your motivations.
- If you have a passionate activity that you truly enjoy, you’ll realize that you are valuable beyond the daily grind. That leads me to our second way to have a positive body image:
#2: Realize you are incredibly valued and valuable
Even in the lunch packing / diaper changing mundane things in life, there is value. Again, we have a purpose here, and it’s more than you think. We’re intended for more than average. And there are people around you who love you and wouldn’t know what they would do without you.
So, this activity here goes beyond finding something you’re passionate about. It’s about recognizing the relationships that are important to you. We aren’t simply talented and energy filled for performing activities, but we’re also love-filled to be able to pour that love into others. And in doing so, you’ll realize just how much value you have.
Task: Write down a list of three people. Not less than three and not more than three. Three people you think you can express amazing love to in some way, and they least expect it. Totally out of the blue. And when you think about that person, think about an amazing way that you can love on them. Maybe it’s a simple email. Maybe it’s asking them to coffee and asking them how they are doing. Ask how you can support them or if they want to come over for dinner. Pour your love into three specific people – completely out of the blue.
What does realizing value have to do with positive body image?
Again, your self image is going to come from your heart. You’ll even hear people say it about others, but it comes out a little differently. “She’s hot, like a 10, but she’s a total bitch, so that brings her down to a 6.” When you pour love into others, you’re filled with more love yourself.
#3: Exercise to meet your positive body image goals
This is the no-brainer, but mandatory item to include on the list about positive body image. Exercising does more than just help you achieve a certain look though. It affects the very way you think. When you exercise, you release endorphin’s, which are chemicals that make your mind and body feel good. So even right after your first workout, you’ll already feel better about yourself. Couple that feel good stew with a sense of accomplishment, and you’re on the way to a positive body image for the day.
Now, to extend the positive body image from just the day of your workout to long-term, you need to set some achievable goals. And achieve them. We won’t go into all of the ways to stickf to a workout schedule, but find what works for you and work it. Make a plan / work a plan.
I myself have a ridiculously positive body self image because I go to the gym regularly and I track my workouts to see my improvements. Track your workouts. Not every little step you take, but track something measurable that you can refer to the next time you exercise. Why? You need visible achievements – back to the achievements idea from #1 above. Say you go to the gym for the first time in… a decade. Congratulations! You mustered courage. Now, get on that treadmill and see what you can do. Don’t worry about the others in the gym. There may be dudes in there who have been lifting consistently for two decades and check themselves out in the mirror. Check them out and enjoy it, but don’t try to keep up if you’re not physically ready. Just do what you can do. And write it down. Then tomorrow, get in there and do a little more.
6 months of “a little more” adds up to “a lot more” and “Damn, girl, you look great!”
#4: Eat just a little healthier
Again, the no-brainer. Unless you absolutely need to lose 100 pounds for urgent health reasons though, don’t attempt a wholesale change in your diet. Try a small tweek – rather than eating a bowl of cereal before going to bed, eat a salad. Don’t do the fad diet that you read about in some celebrity magazine. “I’m on an all kale diet. Absolutely nothing but kale.” Again, small changes over 6 months combined with exercise add up to big changes, which leads to a positive body image. Also, specific small changes are easier to stick with. “I’m no longer drinking pop or sweet tea.”
#5: Surround yourself with your own positive body image
When you take a look in the mirror and see that your calves are looking pretty great, write yourself a note and stick it on the mirror. When you have a good workout (again, referencing your last workout and seeing improvement) – write a little “great job!” in your workout journal. When you get in the car and you turn on the radio, turn on that Beyonce album and sing to yourself, “I woke up like this! Flawless.”
When anyone says anything to you that you took to be detracting from your positive body image, don’t get mad. Instead, throw some truth at them! “Actually, I love my breasts just the way they are.” and if you need to illustrate to them what it feels like how they were just speaking to you, throw in a “if I were as overweight as you, I’d have big floppy boobs too!” You know what I mean. Any time there is anyone or anything tearing down that beautiful body of yours, just put up your “stop sign hand” and tell them to shove off because you’re beautiful.
You want to be surrounded constantly by words that speak into your heart that you are beautiful. Because you are.
#6: Wear some cute clothes and strut your stuff (practice confidence)
Get it, girl! Sometimes you just gotta give yourself little rewards that show off that beautiful body. Maybe buy something that shows off your hard work to your handsome hubby. When you are ready, feel confident in showing off. Remember, confidence is practiced! Put on the heals and the hot outfit and strut confidently for no other reason than to strut. How awesome is that?
#7: Have wild and passionate sex with your spouse
If you’re married, there are few things that can help you build a positive body image than getting hot and heavy with your significant other. People want to feel desired. It’s in our nature. Spice it up too! There are many articles on this site around how to spice up your sex life with your spouse. Maybe try a dildo if you’re both onboard with that? Or an amazing clitoral vibrator? Maybe try spanking your hubby! Get creative and turn the sex tables! Don’t just make spaghetti again for dinner. Go for spicy Indian food tonight in the bedroom.
Passionate sex isn’t just about the feeling. It’s about being desired. When someone desires you in the most intimate way, and they express it to you with passionate pursuit, you feel your body is valued and desired, which builds a strong positive body image.
#8: Realize you’re already beautiful
Each one of us is already beautiful in our own way. We care about others, we pursue things in our lives we’re interested in, and we try to be good people. We also have amazing potential built within us that even we can’t imagine. Our minds, hearts, and bodies all have hidden untapped potential just waiting to be found and realized. For this fact alone – that we are amazing beings capable of so much – we should treasure ourselves.