3 Essential Elements of Body Confidence

body image healthy habits Sep 16, 2020

Updated March 14, 2023

The most elusive thing on the planet seems to be a woman who loves her body. A not-very-surprising 97% of women have negative thoughts about their body every day. Living with the burden of negative thoughts, no matter what they're about, have a serious impact on your quality of life, physical health, and much more. Taking care of our negative body image thoughts have benefits far beyond just our confidence.

Why is this so complicated? Why are eating disorders on the rise and body satisfaction declining even though we have more physical and nutritional information at our fingertips than any generation in human history? The problem is, fitness trainers and diet companies convince us the only way to change our body image is by changing our body (by using their product, by the way). Thankfully, this isn't the case. 

Confidence doesn't come from self-improvement or perfection. Body confidence isn’t thinking you have the best body, it doesn't even mean you like how your body looks! Confidence comes from having courage, building trust, and practicing integrity in the relationship with your body. When you have those three things, your body confidence goes through the roof. Let's break it down a bit further.


1. Courage

Have you ever thought of being courageous in order to build confidence? I'm not talking about putting on a bikini for the first time in years, or throwing away your razor and never shaving again. You can decide for yourself what courage looks like for you. Courage creates opportunities to build confidence by showing yourself you can survive taking a little risk. Small acts of courage (taking small risks) build up to a point where they don't feel like risks anymore. This frees you up to not be crippled by normal, everyday things like wearing shorts in public, not wearing makeup, or putting on a dress without two layers of Spanx underneath. Those start feeling like normal, everyday things again. You can even branch out into taking bigger risks, like, for example, cutting your hair or not wearing a bra. Maybe even having sex with the lights on, who knows! Building courage is key to building body confidence. But it's not just about having courage in how you present your body. You need confidence in what your body is able to do, too.

You can build courage by challenging your body in a way that's not related to your appearance. These risks build confidence in your body's ability. For example, you can challenge your body to be able to run 3 miles, bench press 150 pounds, or even get into the routine of drinking 50oz of water every day. None of those examples change how your body looks, but they slowly shift your perspective.

How does this work? Courage helps build a sense of pride. Not the bad kind of pride where you think you're better than everyone. Courage builds pride in what you accomplished. It builds pride in what your body is able to do and how well you take care of your body. You can look back and say, without a doubt, you DID that! Your body ran 3 miles. Not even your inner critic can argue with that. You're proud of yourself for hitting a goal. Developing a sense of pride is essential to having body confidence.


What destroys our courage?

Comparison is the biggest courage-killer out there. Why? Because when we compare ourselves to someone else, it gives an unfair expectation we should live up to. Sometimes, it even creates that ego-inflated sense of pride that tells us, "I look better than most people in the gym, so I'm allowed to take a few months off, I still look good!" I'll admit, this was my biggest obstacle to actually building a confident, loving relationship with my body. For years, I didn't take good care of my body. I barely ever worked out and I didn't think twice about what I ate. Yeah, I was in college, but I was intentionally slacking on being a good steward of my body.

I figured since people liked how I looked, I didn't need to do anything! If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Before you click away and roll your eyes, hear me out. Don't you see that's the exact same belief most women carry? Even though I was on the "better" side of the equation, I still subscribed to the belief that exercise and good nutrition is designed to change how my body looks. I didn't see it as a way to improve my health or longevity of my life. Therefore, I did nothing. I didn't bother with trying to challenge myself or take these small steps of courage because I wasn't trying to change my body.

My comparison prevented me from being deeply connected with my body. It prevented me from seeing the truth about exercise and nutrition. It blocked me from truly loving my body by caring for all its needs. So no matter which side of the comparison spectrum you're on (using others to tell yourself to work harder, or using others to justify not working at all) it's stopping you from that healthy courage required to build true body confidence.


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2. Building Trust

When you have confidence in someone's ability, it means you trust they will produce a certain outcome. If you're betting on a horserace, you have confidence in the horse you put money on. This means you're trusting they will run the fastest, right? This is the approach I take when building confidence within myself and building body confidence in the lives of women. You cannot have confidence without trust. But my question is, what are you trying to trust your body to do? What is the outcome you're hoping for? How do you "win" this particular race?

If you look at most Western cultures, it seems like women should trust their body to be attractive. The appearance of a woman is the most talked about and valued aspect of her, within most cultures. This is a horrible way to build trust with your body. Why? Because no one on the planet can trust that their body will consistently meet the beauty standard, in perpetuity. The beauty standard changes and is often based in the assumption of looking young. Which, obviously, is putting us in the arena of fighting against time in order to produce the outcome expected from us. This is why I take a different approach to building trust with my body. Instead of hitting the bullseye of the beauty standard as the outcome I trust my body will produce, I build body confidence by trusting my body will enable me to enjoy myself, express myself, and connect myself to others.


Bodies have a purpose beyond beauty

These three areas: enjoyment, expression, and connection, I conclude are the unique purposes of human bodies. When I studied the function of our bodies and all their parts, I concluded its purpose is not to look young, thin, or squat day and night to get a juicy booty. Every body, regardless of gender, is designed to enable us to enjoy, express, and connect. Without our bodies, our spirits would not be able to interact with the world around us. We wouldn't be able to see, taste, touch, hear, smell, or feel anything. We wouldn't be able to speak! We wouldn't be able to hug someone we love or jump into a pool of cool water on a hot summer's day. How boring and bland would life be without these bodies?!

I'm confident in my body's ability to help me enjoy my life. I trust my body to create ways for me to express myself. I have confidence that my body will produce the outcome of me feeling connected to others. Those things I can count on. Those things I can trust my body to produce, regardless of what the number on the scale reads this week. No matter what bathing suit I wear to the pool, I will feel the coolness of the water on my skin. That's how you use trust to build confidence in your body relationship. Not by trusting it will look good, but trusting it will fulfill its purpose (so long as you take care of it!)



3. Practicing Integrity 

When you have confidence in someone's word, it means you trust they will follow through on the things they say. It means you're confident they will show up when they say they'll be somewhere. It means you don't make backup plans in case they bail out on dinner at the last minute. This is essential in the relationship dynamic you create with yourself, too. Confidence comes from a pattern of integrity. If you're constantly telling yourself, "I'm gonna start that diet on Monday!" and Monday never comes, you are operating outside of integrity. This is an explanation for why your body relationship is strained. You don't even believe you when you say something.

Your body is waiting for you to take care of it properly. Maybe that means more rest days, more pizza, and more stretching. It might mean more water, more workouts, and more lifting. Either way, you know within your own relationship what is missing in order for you to take care of your body. The issue is following through on what you say.


Struggling to stick with it?

Again, this one isn't your fault, either. If you struggle to stick with habit changes you truly want to make in your body relationship, it's probably because diet plans are overly aggressive, workout routines are ambitious, and everything promises instant results. So it's gonna require extreme methods. This is a recipe for failure when it comes to integrity. You cannot expect yourself to make sweeping, broad changes overnight. Lasting change never happens that way. Read anyone's story, listen to these podcast interviews, no one gets on a show and says, "you know what, one day I just went full vegan and never looked back!"

Overly ambitious change produces a lack of follow through. Small change produces integrity. Which of these two people would you place your confidence in? The one who says, "I said I was going to drink 40oz of water every day this week, and I did." or the one who says, "I said I was going to drink 100oz of water every day this week, and I did...on Monday and Thursday, but the other days I only drank coffee and wine, whoops" you'd probably go with person number one. I know I would. And by the way, person number one drank more water than person number two. Even though their goal was less per day, they actually followed through, built integrity, and increased their water intake by more than the overly ambitious person number two.

When the goal is building integrity, not being impressive, you actually end up getting both. How many times have you been person number two? I've been them quite a bit. Here's the potential problem with taking the first approach, though. You might think to yourself, "this isn't going to make a difference, what's the point?" but that's when you come back with the fact that drinking 40oz daily gets you further than 100oz only twice a week and completely botching the other days. It's about consistency, building habits, and practicing integrity with yourself. That builds real confidence.

You're not up against the clock. You have the rest of your life to get this right. Using these foundations of confidence will help in your body relationship and your entire sense of pride in who you are.

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Living in a body obsessed culture has women checking their reflection, on average, once every thirty minutes. So how are some women just effortlessly okay with what they see? They don't have a perfect body, they have a healthy body relationship - and you can, too.



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Your life is happening right now. Whether this is your first (or 50th) step towards a healthy body image, I'm here to make sure it's your last.

The Body Image Solution is a program designed to help you become carefree in your skin by rebranding how you see your body. Enjoy peace of mind tomorrow by learning body confidence today.


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