If you’ve ever felt bad about your body, you’re far from alone. According to one 2016 survey from Yahoo Health, more than half of all women are either body ambivalent or body negative. And though other people can (and do) contribute to this mindset, often times we are just as much to blame when it comes to having negative body image.
“It is very important that we listen to how we talk to ourselves. What we say to ourselves is very powerful and can impact our confidence and sense of self-worth,” says licensed mental health counselor Jaime Kulaga, PhD. “If you spend a bulk of [your] time saying body-shaming phrases, you can rewire your brain into thinking these things are true about yourself.”
Are you ready to turn your negative body image around? We consulted therapists and other mental health experts to get the low-down on words and phrases you need to eliminate from your vocabulary for better self-esteem.
“I can’t believe I ate that—I was so bad.”
Many people with low self-esteem base their self-worth on what and how they eat. This leads to anger, frustration, and negative thinking every time a dessert or even moderately “unhealthy” food is consumed—and it can have some serious mental health consequences.
If you tend to categorize food as either good or bad, try to remind yourself that “what you eat has absolutely no bearing on your worth as a person,” as Chicago-based therapist Laura Kelly suggests. “Food is delicious, and it’s OK to give yourself permission to enjoy it without guilt. Instead of criticizing yourself and your choices, try thinking, ‘I enjoyed some of my favorite foods.'”