Changing Your Body Image

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For most of my life, my happiness depended on the reflection I saw in the mirror.

I was convinced that the way I looked and the number I saw on the scale determined my worthiness as a daughter, sister, girlfriend and later a wife.

This completely ridiculous notion led to more than 2 decades of misery. During those years I felt trapped inside my body, without any hope to ever be able to find relief or a way to free myself. I lived in a state of oppression and despised everything about myself and my appearance.

When I looked in the mirror, I saw anything but beauty. While I was short, compact with a round face and thin hair, I did not spend a single day without wishing to look the exact opposite. I wanted to be tall, have lean arms, long legs, sharp features and thick, long hair.

This hatred for the body I was given was part of the reason why I developed anorexia nervosa at the age of 10. During the years of my eating disorder, I was at war with myself. My body was my enemy and I tried to destroy it step by step.

When I committed to recovery about a year ago, I faced a lot of challenges regarding my body image. Not only did I have to gain a significant amount of weight, but I also needed to come to terms with a completely new body. And I needed to learn to love it for the very first time in my life.

It was a hard road to take and I shed many tears wanting my deprived, skeleton-like body back. But I had made a promise to myself and I wanted to live instead of dying slowly, but certainly.

So, I drastically changed the way I viewed myself and my body. I began a journey of soul-searching and I reevaluated who I was as a person and who I actually wanted to be.

Since that moment of clarity, my life has changed in ways that I could not have imagined before. I have transformed in many aspects and I have grown to be more confident, happy and today I am deeply in love with my body.

How did I come to this point? I am not going to lie, it takes a lot of work and a willingness to adept and alter many prejudices you may have about yourself.

However, if you decide to make a few changes, the rewards will weave themselves into your relationships, your career, your character and your soul.

Here are 3 ways that will help you make a drastic change today.

Confront the mirror

When my mind was still occupied by my eating disorder, I was obsessed with mirrors and checked my reflection in every window in order to see if I had magically grown fat in the last 20 seconds.

However, when I gained the weight that saved my life, I started to avoid mirrors altogether since I hated what I saw and thought that not confronting myself with reality was best.

But, it is not. By avoiding to look at yourself in the mirror, you start to completely disconnect from your body and that is the last thing you want.

In order to create a strong body and mind connection, you need to face your reflection.

So, how can you look at yourself in the mirror without experiencing the feelings of shame and loathing that way too many people know?

Stop focusing on the parts you don’t like and start focusing on the parts you like. At the beginning, it really is as simple as that. You don’t need to ruin your day by zoning in on body parts that somehow don’t live up to your standards.

Nourish the love for those parts you already like and you will move forward towards loving the entire you.

Stop wanting to feel bad about yourself

We all tend to want to feel bad for ourselves, we even like to pity our circumstances from time to time, don’t we? The same is true for the way we feel about our body, but I want you to stop insisting on feeling bad about your appearance.

In order to break this vicious circle of loathing your body and thereby loathing yourself, you simply need to change your thoughts. Think about yourself in positive terms and your entire mindset will change.

If you tell yourself that you love your body, no matter which shape or form it currently has, then you will be able to love your body for real. If you tell yourself that your thighs are perfect just the way they are, then they are.

Throughout your day, tell yourself how much you like certain body parts, even if you can’t yet fully stand behind your words. You will see a massive change in the way you appreciate yourself.

Stop letting numbers define you

You have probably heard that statement before, right? But have you really ever thought about it? Have you really thought about what it is that you are implying when you freak out over a certain number on your scale?

I can tell you that before changing my mindset, I did not give this notion a second thought. I needed to always lose weight, it was a law of nature and that was it.

But when I threw away my scale and stopped weighing myself obsessively, I suddenly experienced a level freedom, I had never known before.

Now, I realize that it does not matter which size of jeans I wear or which number an appliance displays, I am a whole person. My question for you is, who are you?

Does your answer involve a certain weight or a certain size? Or did you come up with descriptions like loving mother or best friend?

Now, ask your loved ones who they think you are and listen closely if their answers revolves around numbers. I highly doubt it.

By focusing on numbers, you put yourself down. But not only that, you also limit your real potential in massive ways.

When you define yourself by how much you weigh, you won’t ever be able to achieve amazing goals because you simply don’t believe in your true value. You will never live up to the great person you are supposed to be by limiting your belief system in those drastic ways.

Changing your body image is an essential step in creating the best life for yourself, a life you truly deserve.

Photo by Scarleth White

Anne - Sophie Reinhardt

Anne-Sophie Reinhardt is a body-love expert, self-love advocate and the author of The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy Body Image. Join her newsletter and receive your free 3-part video series empowering you to accept yourself wholeheartedly.

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