Many women get stuck resenting their bodies, sometimes for no real reason (though plenty of imagined ones). We’re here to show you how to beat the negative self-talk and start looking and feeling great.

1. Friends Can Bring Each Other Down, or Hold Each Other Up

According to Robyn Silverman (Ph.D., body image expert and author of Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Messing Up Our Girls) women who talk to their girlfriends about their body in a negative manner create an increasingly negative feedback loop. She says that if one woman points out how fat or ugly she feels, other female friends feel like they need to reply in kind, lowering their own body image.

Silverman suggests dealing with the problem by simply stating that as intellectual, wonderful and creative women (you can add more superlatives…) it’s incredible you are discussing your bodies in a negative light. By doing so you can put an end to discussion and move onto topics like what’s great about being a woman, or about you two in particular.

If that doesn’t work and your friend(s) keep pointing out how ugly, fat or skinny they feel, simply tell them you aren’t comfortable discussing that with them, as you’d prefer talking about the good things in each other.

2. It’s Not About You, It’s About Them

Most women wouldn’t feel so bad about their bodies if they stopped thinking about what others think about them. After all, is it your perception of your thighs that bugs you, or what you think others think about your thighs that get you down?

Hector Hill, a bartender in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, suggests you start paying attention to others instead of yourself. When you socialize or spend time with someone you are dating, pay attention to them. Chances are they would love for you to truly listen to them and be with them, rather than worry about what they think about your thighs. If anything, they are probably wondering what you think about their abs…

3. Look After Your Body

If you eat well, sleep well, exercise and spend time outdoors, you know you are really treating your body as best as you can. Add to that a few massages, natural body products and time set aside for a mani-pedi and you are really spoiling your body.

When you have peace of mind you are doing everything you can to look after yourself, it’s kind of hard to argue that you could be any better.

4. Stop Comparing Yourself to Airbrushed Images

Spending a lot of time in Los Angeles myself and having done several photo shoots I know all about airbrushing. I know how certain movies are edited to make actors’ skin look better (I kid you not – some actors have it as a requirement). And I’ve done enough photography myself to know that my models can look both great and appalling – it all depends on how I catch them, including the light.

I’m sure you’ve seen photos of yourself where you look as mad as a hatter, because you squinted or pulled a face just as the photo was taken. In real life no one would have seen this, as it was a quick movement, but the camera caught mid-action. Professional photography is the same thing, only the opposite way around: photographers catch people when they pull just the right face, in the exact right angle to make them look great.

Film and photography are art forms – you are looking to capture a person in an angle which makes them shine. You use the right clothes, make-up and light to bring out their features. And sometimes you enhance it further with airbrushing. Look upon photos and films you see as paintings – they don’t necessarily show a true reflection of what people look like in real life.

5. Stop the Negative Self-Talk

Try wearing a bracelet and every time you think something negative about your body, you have to change the bracelet to the other hand. Also, you immediately have to think about something you appreciate about your body and you as a person in general.

This will make you aware of your own self-talk and allow for you to change it. Often we are so used to thinking certain thoughts we actually don’t even notice we are thinking them.

6. The Attitude of Gratitude

Without your body you wouldn’t be able to move. Isn’t your body pretty amazing? Doesn’t it deserve some love and kindness for helping you live?

Gratitude became a famous concept much thanks to the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Another of her books, The Magic, is all about gratitude. In it she suggests you keep a journal of things you are thankful for. Why not start one for your body too? Every day write down something you are thankful for about your body.

7. It’s All About Attitude

Marilyn Monroe famously said she had to “put it on” to be noticed. She wasn’t talking about make-up. No, she talked about attitude. Your attitude changes how you see yourself and how others see you.

The very famous Marilyn Monroe could walk down a street unnoticed, but when she put on the right attitude, suddenly everyone noticed her. Her looks didn’t change. Her attitude did.

Likewise, think about the people you are the most attracted to. Is it their looks, or that “something” they have? Personally I don’t think Joaquin Phoenix is very good looking, but in the movie Walk the Line I think he’s hot.

It’s all about attitude. About personality. And if you doubt it check out Sean Stephenson – a man who is physically disabled, but who still found a way to love himself. And yes, he found a wonderful woman who loves him too. Ain’t he lucky?

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