How many times have you woken up and thought something negative about your body? Probably more times than you can even count. Similarly, how many times have you had a negative thought about someone else’s body? Probably the same answer. Body shaming is a real problem, regardless of whether we do it to ourselves or others. It needs to stop. I have talked a lot about having confidence and finding the strength to compliment yourself as well as talking about positive body-related things with others. Having a negative attitude is a sure-fire way to start body shaming yourself or someone else.

One thing that I try to focus on is waking up every day and looking in the mirror and picking out three things I like about myself. They don’t have to be physical traits, and often times I tell myself that I like things similar to my strength, my sense of humor, or my work ethic. Positive reinforcement at all times of the day leads me to think positive thoughts more often than not. I also try to encourage my friends to tell themselves positive things, because we can all feed off of each other’s positive energy. Having a positive mindset is the first step to building the confidence needed to stop body shaming yourself. I you can find that sense of self, you’ll start to see an improvement in your daily perception of your own body. We are always are own worst critics, and that can lead us to tell ourselves things that aren’t actually true. I may wake up and not like something about myself, but one of my friends may love that same thing about me. If my friend tells me she likes my insecurity, I will view myself differently and I won’t be as harsh on myself next time. These things are cyclical, and I encourage you to work on voicing your positive thoughts to your friends so that your friends hear what you think. You will be surprised how much better you feel about yourself and you won’t spend as much time body shaming yourself.

Small, consistent steps lead to big gains in the long run.

About the author

Aly Raisman is a two-time gold medalist, World Champion and USA Gymnastics Team Captain.  She serves as a spokesperson for Walden Behavioral Care and Walden Center for Eating Disorder Education and Research.