Even the most confident women have not-so-thin (okay, fat) days. Whatever the reason-PMS, a fight with a partner, workplace drama, thighs that rub together in hot weather-it doesn't take much to throw our self-perceptions out of whack. Fortunately, you can feel good about yourself again fast. Here's how:
Hit the gym. A simple workout can be enough to boost your confidence, according to a University of Florida study. Researchers found that even people who don't achieve common fitness goals, like dropping pounds or upping strength, feel good about themselves after exercising. The key is to focus on your body as a process instead of an object, says Stephen Franzoi, PhD, a professor of psychology at Marquette University. He suggests concentrating on how your body feels instead of how it looks by thinking about internal factors, like flexibility, strength, and movement, rather than external appearance. Swap out inner dialogue, like Everyone is looking at my thunder thighs, for phrases like Isn't it cool that my leg muscles can do three sets of squats?
Pay yourself a compliment (or four). The old cliché is true: You are your own worst critic. Instead of picking apart your least favorite personal feature, make a quick list of four things that you like about yourself, says Amy Flowers, PhD, a psychologist based in Macon, GA. Then, start writing these down on a piece of paper that you can come back to when you're having another bad day. Be sure to add compliments that other people give you, too.
Make different kinds of comparisons. When you're feeling bigger, everyone around you seems to shrink. But here's a reality check: You're probably only comparing yourself to women who you think have better bodies than you do, Franzoi says. While it can be tough to cut out comparisons completely, he suggests making more personal ones. If you've lost weight, think back to a less healthy time in your life and feel proud! If you're hoping to lose weight in the future, focus on how your body will look after consistent exercise or diet changes.
More from Prevention
Discover all the amazing benefits of walking! Try Walk Off Weight, free for 21-Days!
Order Prevention magazine today for only 99 cents an issue!