4 Surprising Daily Habits That Sabotage Body Positivity

woman with bad body image

You know you're supposed to feel good about your body. How strong it is. And healthy. How rocking a bikini or pulling on yoga pants isn't about size, but how much confidence you have. Inner beauty, baby! Drink it up.


If only it were that easy.

Even with uplifting body-positive blogs and #bodypositive trending 24-7 on social media, sometimes it still feels like a challenge (that we're losing) to feel good about our bodies.

Our thighs. Cellulite and stretchmarks. How big or tiny our boobs are.

"When we're struggling with emotions, we aren't being reasonable, and that certainly takes a toll on how we see ourselves," explains Jenny Taitz, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York and the author of End Emotional Eating. "People who are perfectionistic can be especially self-critical."

Women who are struggling with depression or have just gone through a major emotional change -- like having a baby -- may also have a harder time shoring up their body-positive reserves.

But we're all guilty of falling into everyday body-positive pitfalls, too. And they're smaller and sneakier than you might think. Here are four of the most pervasive ones you need to be aware of. 

1. #Instalessthan. Of course, you heart Instagram. (You're only human!) But have you ever noticed that the more time you spend scrolling through thinspiration pics, the more critical you become of yourself?

"So many of my clients follow fitness models on Instagram and feel dissatisfied with their appearance when comparing themselves to people who train for three to four hours a day," Taitz says. "Comparisons don't always motivate and can truly disappoint."

A better solution: Unfollow accounts that make you feel like s**t. Done.

2. Scowling in the mirror. Yep, the last time(s) you went bikini shopping? And gave yourself the death stare in the dressing room mirror? For 15–20 minutes? So not helping.

"There's a face/brain feedback loop," explains Taitz. "If you [look at yourself] with a tense expression, you're on your way to feeling badly."

A better solution: Practice a little self-compassion. Pretend you're talking to a friend if you have to, but -- Be. Nice.

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3. Wearing clothes that don't fit. Let's say you still have your fave pair of size 4 jeans from college. And although you're a few sizes bigger now, you occasionally pull out those Sevens and cram yourself into them.

No reason to feel triumphant once you get the zipper up. Wearing clothes that simply do not fit your body "expands your discomfort, both physically and emotionally," Taitz warns.

A better solution: Give your teeny-tiny wardrobe to Goodwill and buy clothes you truly love and that fit you.

4. Fishing for reassurance. "We think asking friends how we look will relieve us," says Taitz, "but often, needing others to tell us that we look okay leaves us less secure."

Especially if our desired feedback never materializes ... Ouch.

A better solution: Reassuring yourself that you look pretty incredible. Especially in those well-fitting clothes. With a smile on your face. And without comparing yourself with other women on social media.

No one said sustaining body positivity was going to be easy, but it is doable.



Image via Ollyy/Shutterstock

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