I probably don’t have to explain to anyone—much less women—what it’s like to have a “good hair day” or even a “good skin day.”
However, having a “good body day” is something that may be a bit less familiar. Simply put, they’re those days when one feels good in one’s body and appreciates its capabilities.
It is not the same as having a “thin day” or even thinking, “Gee, these jeans/dress/etc. make me look thin.”
It’s also not having an inflated or delusional view of our bodies.
Rather, it’s about accepting our bodies for what they are and seeing the good in them.
While this may sound easy and border on classic self-help cheese, it isn’t the case.
Body image has always been an interesting topic to me because it is one of those things that can change so dramatically without my having to do anything except change the dialogue in my head.
For instance, unlike a good skin day, which largely depends on whether or not I have breakouts and can change radically from one day to another, my body is pretty consistent in appearance, with the exception of the few days right before or during my period where I, like many women, tend to retain more water than usual.
Instead, it really has to do with my attitude. For example, on my “good body days,” I will notice my “strong” legs and defined arms. However, if I am feeling down for various reasons, those strong legs become short and chunky, ending in thick ankles and wide flat feet. My relatively flat stomach becomes the bulging belly, which never was and never will be totally flat like the models on the cover of fitness magazines.
It’s so easy to do and has become such a cliché, and even an expectation, for the modern Western woman to notice her so-called flaws that the mere idea of even having a good body day can sound foreign to many.
However, I know from my own experiment, using myself as the test subject, that good body days are not only possible, but easily attainable. While all of us will have those down days where nothing seems right, including our bodies, having more good body days than bad body days is possible regardless of size or shape.
Below are my favorite tips. (They truly work.)
Take the time to pamper ourselves.
This doesn’t mean lavishing time on manicures, pedicures or massages; although by all means indulge in them if you like them and have have the time and money. Rather, this means taking some time to practice body love—no matter how small. For instance, I noticed that on days I skipped body lotion and thus had itchy skin, or didn’t wash my hair even though it needed it, I tended to be more likely to have a bad body day.
The physical and psychological benefits can be immense.
Even if your beauty routine is the bare minimum (shower, deodorant, and brushing teeth), take the time to enjoy it. See it as a joy rather than a burden. Use products you enjoy using.
Stop comparing ourselves to models and celebrities, and look at real people.
As someone who loves glossy magazines, I can’t deny the pleasure they bring. I also love celebrity gossip. However, the vast majority of images in these publications are not based in reality. Nearly all of them have been retouched and even those that aren’t usually have the benefit of amazing photographers, stylists, make-up artists, etc.
Instead, look to people we know in real life and by that, I don’t mean putting others down or thinking, “Well compared to that person, I look great because they are so much heavier/older-looking/etc.” Instead, think of people you really like and find attractive despite the fact that they aren’t under 30 or may be a few pounds overweight. By noticing how we can overlook or downplay others’ flaws, it may be easier to accept ours, or even see them as assets that make us unique.
I once had a dance teacher who said a body in motion could never be called ugly. She was right. There is something amazing about seeing a body in motion no matter its size or shape. Human bodies are amazing feats of engineering, and one doesn’t even have to watch or participate in a highly-skilled activity like dancing or expertly holding yoga poses to realize that. Even going for a walk and getting a look at ourselves in the reflection of a store mirror can be a powerful reminder.
Plus, there is a lot to be said for even having the ability to move; it isn’t something that everyone has. If you can move, be grateful.
In closing, having a good body days can be easier than it sounds if we keep the above tips in mind. While 100 percent body confidence may not be possible, it doesn’t hurt to try and get closer to it.
At the very least, we have nothing to lose by trying, but a lot to gain—even if it’s just accepting exactly the way we are now.
Author: Kimberly Lo
Editor: Toby Israel