As a modern man, lack of body confidence is one of those issues that you feel like you have to lock away in the recesses of your brain, telling yourself that it will go away if you don’t talk about it.
Yet every day the internal battle rages on as you continue to pretend everything is okay. You hit the gym, train hard, eat well and continue to strive for so-called physical perfection. The whole time you cling to the idea that body confidence is a not an issue for you.
You think this tactic works because outwardly you’re no different from the next guy, but here’s the problem: The next guy feels the same way you do. He also feels pressure to adhere to the extreme image of male beauty sold as the norm in mainstream media.
The truth is he also struggles with body confidence, hating what he sees in the mirror and wearing clothes that disguise his physique.
How do I know this?
As long as I can remember, I’ve had some level of dissatisfaction with how I look. For the most part I’ve carried this burden alone, unable and unwilling to speak to anyone about it.
In my misguided efforts to deal with this issue, I tried to hide my feelings, thinking if I ignored them they would go away. I was wrong.
In fact, it wasn’t until I began to recognize and accept my feelings that I began to change my perception of myself and improved my body confidence. Here are the five tactics that have had the biggest effect on building my body confidence.
#1. Break away from anyone who reinforces your negative feelings.
I know this sounds harsh, but think about it for a second. You’ll see it makes a lot of sense.
If there are people in your life who reinforce the negative feelings you have about yourself, they need to go. Even if they aren’t making things worse, they aren’t making things better. You don’t need these people in your life.
They are toxic and will keep you trapped in your negative mindset. If every time you’re feeling down, someone is giving you a reason to stay that way, then it’s time to cut the cord.
You’ll recognize these people. They’re the ones belittling your attempts to make positive changes in your life and attempting to stunt your personal growth. They lead you astray.
If someone cannot be happy and supportive of your efforts to better yourself, then you must seriously evaluate their role in your life. Ultimately, you’re the sum of the people you spend the most time with, so surround yourself with positivity. Seek out those who can provide you with the guidance and support you need.
Create a network of people who are in a similar position. Even if they are on a different journey, they will pick you up when you fall and guide you to greater places.
In some situations, it may not be possible to remove yourself entirely. In circumstances like these, focus on limiting your time with negative people and actively seek out those who will support and understand you.
#2. Start being nicer to yourself.
Body confidence comes from within. It comes from having a positive perception of yourself. Think back to the last time someone complimented you. Sure, it felt good, but did you actually believe it or did you think that it wasn’t actually true?
I’m willing to bet it was the latter. People can say whatever they want to you, but it doesn’t matter unless you believe it yourself. Body confidence must start with you and a part of this is learning to accept yourself.
I know positive self-talk may sound a bit “alternative,” but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Whenever you put yourself down or think how your body could be better, this is self-talk. It can be constructive but is often negative.
Get in the habit of taking five to 10 mins to write down the things you like about yourself everyday. Through this process, you will learn how to recognize the great things about yourself and realize you have the power to change the things you don’t.
It can be so easy to get caught up in the negative that you forget to recognize the positive.
Positive self-talk is about being proud of yourself and the progress you’ve made. It’s about recognizing the things you’ve achieved and congratulating yourself instead of glazing right over it in search of the negative. It’s about being grateful for who you are and being excited for what the future holds.
Instead of looking in the mirror and pointing out your flaws, find something you like about yourself. Feed yourself positivity. It’s okay to want to change, but you must start by learning to accept yourself.
#3. Fake it until you make it.
Have you ever noticed how when you’re feeling down you put off doing things or do them half-heartedly, which makes you feel worse and may even end in you not doing anything at all?
Time slips by, gym sessions are missed, Seamless is ordered, and any semblance of a routine disappears. You know you should be productive but just can’t bring yourself to do anything. It sucks, and you know it’ll only be a matter of time before it happens again.
What if you could switch out this negativity with positivity?
If there’s something to learn from these patterns of negativity it’s this: You can do the same with positivity. In the same way that feeling down can cause you to do nothing, feeling positive can make you energized and productive.
Imagine you had a magic button to make you feel this way.
Think about all the things you could get done, how this would make you feel, and what it would do for your confidence. No more missed gym sessions, abandoned morning routines or binge eating sessions. Everything stays on track.
So how do you do this?
Fake it until you make it. If you feel negative, do or think something positive.
If you feel like you can’t do something, tell yourself you can. Then, something magical will happen: You’ll start to believe you can do the things you once told yourself you couldn’t, and you’ll find it was never as bad as you thought it would be. You’ll begin to accomplish the goals you set for yourself. You’ll transition from faking it to making it. You’ll have proved to yourself you can accomplish more than you imagined. Naturally, your confidence will go through the roof.
Next time you’re feeling stuck in a rut and that you can’t do something, try faking it until you make it. You’ll be surprised at how powerful this technique can be.
#4. Address the biggest issue.
Seeing results will make a huge difference to your perception of yourself. There is something very rewarding about visual and tangible feedback. It lets you know that what you’re doing is working, it gives you positive reinforcement, and it helps you adhere to your goal.
That’s why tactic number four is to address your biggest issue, the one thing that will have the biggest impact on your body confidence. It might be losing weight, building muscle, gaining strength, working on flexibility or fixing your posture. Whatever it is, decide on one thing, create a plan and get going.
A moderate amount of weight loss can make you look and feel completely different. If excess weight is your biggest issue, go for that first. Apply a calorie deficit and focus on reducing your body fat at the fastest and safest recommended rate. Seeing first-hand what’s possible will motivate you to accomplish bigger and bolder goals.
If you are already lean but do not have much muscle mass, then even building a small amount of muscle in the right places can drastically change your physique.
By tackling your number one priority first, you will get a boost in confidence and can then use this momentum to set a long-term plan.
#5. Take control of your diet.
Diet is arguably the biggest contributing factor in changing how you look. Obviously, how you look plays has a huge role in body confidence.
So, why are you happy to give up your control in favor of instant gratification and short-lived pleasure? How often have you eaten something when you know you shouldn’t or when you weren’t even hungry?
Most of the time you think you are in control when you break your diet and go over your calories. However, you have relinquished control.
It’s time for a wake up call.
If you want to be body confident, you must regain control. Saying no can be a powerful feeling. It’s never as difficult as your brain is telling you it is— particularly if you have the bigger picture in mind.
When in doubt, ask yourself if you prefer extra calories or to be closer to your goal.
When you make this decision in support of your goals, you’ll realize you’re not actually sacrificing anything. Instead, you’re learning about yourself and your limits.
If you find that you are compelled to binge or are eating beyond your calories on a regular basis, then you are most likely imposing too much restriction on your diet. You shouldn’t need to limit yourself to reach your goals. Sure, you need to stick to your calorie goal and hit your macronutrients, but excluding food items sets you up to fail by increasing the chances you’ll make impulsive decisions and overeat.
Educate yourself, create a nutrition plan that you can stick to, and realize you don’t need to eat until you’re stuffed. You can structure your meals in a way that works with your lifestyle.
Once you’re in control of your diet, you’ll find it infinitely easier to control your weight and how you look.
For the modern man, body image and body confidence are often thought of as a non-issue reserved for the realms of women. Because of this, men struggle in silence in fear of being considered weak or feminine.
Through these five tactics, you’ll be able to acknowledge how you feel and your perception of yourself. You will begin to address your body confidence issues, ultimately creating a happier and more confident version of yourself.
Theo is the founder of Lift Learn Grow, a blog that helps you build the body of your dreams without sacrificing your lifestyle. With a focus on lifting heavy weights and eating the foods you enjoy Theo helps you reach your goals and love your journey. Join a growing community or like-minded people and get the tools you need to build the body you want.
Originally posted at https://www.liftlearngrow.com