Health & wellbeing

9 expert secrets for better body confidence

The key tips for learning to love your curves (even if you’re not at your Goal Weight yet).

In a WW magazine survey, an incredible 82% of you told us weight loss will make you feel healthier, and 74% say you'll be happier and more confident. Read on and discover the key to better body confidence, from Professor Sarah Grogan, author of Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women and Children. 

1. Think about the positives
We sometimes focus on what we don't like about our bodies. Shifting your focus to what you do like can help you feel better about your body, and will make you feel generally more confident, including when you feel more exposed in that swimsuit. 

2. Think about your fitness rather than the way you look
Research shows that taking part in a sport or exercise can help you think this way – and women who exercise tend to feel more positive about their bodies, even if they don't look any different from other people. 

3. Do things that make you feel happy and good about yourself
Try to boost your self-esteem in general by doing things you are really good at, and that you enjoy. In turn, this will have a beneficial impact on all areas of your life, including your body confidence. Try it and see... 

4. Don't fixate on one area of your body
Hate your thighs? Every time you start to criticise them, stop and think of something positive about them instead. This can help to break the habit of always thinking negatively about that part of your body. For some people, hating part of the body can be related to low self-esteem. If this is the case, it's important to deal with that – by talking to someone, for example – rather than becoming fixated on one body part. 

5. Never compare yourself with celebrities and models
Unsurprisingly, women tend to feel less good about their bodies after seeing pictures of slender, toned celebrities. This is really bad for your body image, and comparing yourself with airbrushed images that aren't even real is totally pointless (there is even evidence that women who are critical of these kinds of images have a more positive body image). Similarly, if you're an older woman, never compare your body with those of younger women. 

6. Believe your friends when they say nice things about the way you look
If someone says that you look great, or your new top really suits you, or they can tell you've lost weight, smile and say 'thank you' – and mean it! Although we might find it easier to believe negative things rather than positive ones, remember flattering comments from friends and family for the times you start to lose body confidence – surround yourself with optimistic people and focus on the good stuff. 

7. Worried about your post-baby body?
Lots of new mums may feel vulnerable about the way their body looks after having a baby, which is totally normal. After all, your body changes in a great number of ways during pregnancy and birth. If you're feeling insecure, try to focus on the bits of your body that you do like. Usually, a larger belly is temporary and a normal result of carrying your baby, which you should be proud of. Think about the incredible feat your body has achieved and don't compare yourself with celebrities who have had babies, or with women who haven't had children. 

8. Blank out criticism you get from any people who aren't supportive
Don't listen to people who come out with unsupportive or ignorant comments about your looks, your body or your weight-loss plans. Often, we only look at the negatives, but it's time to shift your focus away from those and onto positive things instead. This is the time to work on being healthy and happy. 

9. Try to stay optimistic
Feeling like you've hit a wall halfway through your weight-loss journey? Maintain all your brilliant positive energy about transforming your body while you are on your journey and try to avoid becoming disheartened (for example, if things aren't going as quickly or as well as you'd hoped). To give yourself a boost, just think about the way you looked before you lost any weight at all – and then feel great about what you have already achieved.