Health

23 Body-Positive Tips That Aren't Garbage

Because you're really freaking rad.

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1. Don't be a shady bitch to yourself. You don't deserve that.

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"As soon as you're about to criticize yourself, stop and think, would I say that to a friend? The answer is probably no. You are your own friend, so be kinder to yourself." —lizam28

2. And don't put down anyone else's body either.

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"I have a friend who constantly finds the best in other people instead of criticizing or judging them based on appearance. After hanging out with her I found that the more positive I was about other people, especially other women and their bodies, the more positive I allowed myself to be about my own body!" —nicoleh462e0c0ed

3. When you look in the mirror, point out all the things you like about yourself — even if they seem small.

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"Something I did to help me love my body (and I do...I love it a lot) was looking in the mirror every day, and if I started to poke and pull at my flaws, I would pick out twice the amount of things that I loved about myself. Slowly but surely it went from 'I hate the way I look right now' to 'I'm not pleased with the way I look right now, but DAMN I AM FUCKING BEAUTIFUL REGARDLESS.'" —Jasmine Yvonne Stephen (Facebook)

4. Reframe your "flaws" as benefits. Stretch marks? Um, try evidence of CARRYING HUMAN LIFE.

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"I had a kid. The body love was a pleasant side effect. I realize this won't work for everyone, nor does everyone want to try it (hell, I'm never doing it again!), but it worked for me. To put it in a more general context: Think of what your body can do, and how the look of your body factors into that. I have stretch marks because I made an entirely new human! I am short and that means I can stand up in the back of the ambulance. (Previous career, whee!) I can sleep on my stomach because my boobs are tiny. And so on. —Jennifer Nelson (Facebook)

5. Realize that your weight is just one VERY small detail.

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"How I learned to love my body is to realize my weight was only a number on the scale that told me my relationship with the gravity of the earth. It did not tell me who I was, or what I was worth. My body does amazing things without me ever noticing; so what are a few blemishes or pounds when all my body wants is to keep me alive?" —Julie Ellsworth Takaya (Facebook)

6. Ditto for your clothing size.

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"I had to learn that my size doesn't define me: I've run half-marathons, I can rock a bikini, I can squat 150 lbs, all at an 'obese' BMI. Once you stop seeing your body as a reason why you can't do something, you start realizing all the things you are capable of, regardless of size." —christinad24

7. If the scale gives you anxiety or makes you feel shitty, throw it out.

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"I recently made the decision to stop weighing myself and I have never been happier. The scale had too much power over my happiness and self worth. Any time the number went up, even if it was just water weight, I would get so down on myself. I haven't weighed myself in about two months and I have never been more confident and I feel really good about my body!" —alisonm4dd954d82

8. Learn to take a compliment.

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"The biggest lesson I have learned is that 'Thank you' is a full sentence. Too often we answer compliments with "Thank You, but..." Once I learned to accept compliments by saying thank you, and just thank you. I started to really believe them." —Carson Mack (Facebook)

9. Appreciate all of the epically badass things your body can do.

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"Having struggled with an eating disorder and the notion that I constantly just wanted myself to be smaller, thinner, yada, yada, yada, I tried to think of things my body was capable of that it could never accomplish if I was that 'ideal' size I always imagined. I remember going through treatment, while focusing on healthy workouts, and by the end of my stay I had worked my way up to leg pressing 400 lbs! In my head I thought, These thighs, these 'big' thighs I thought were so fat and unattractive just fucking did 400 lbs! I am a warrior!!! ... I embraced and was proud of how my body showed up for me on a daily basis in numerous ways. We are much better friends now." —Alyssa Adams (Facebook)

10. But don't feel pressured to absolutely adore every inch of yourself.

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"I have struggled with eating issues from overeating to skipping meals to throwing up. And I've struggled to love my image in the mirror. But I finally realized that I will never love my stomach, no matter how thin or fat or fit it may be. AND THAT'S OK! I think it's a ridiculous standard to tell ourselves that we absolutely have to love our bodies — every part of it — or else. We can love parts of our bodies and not the whole thing and that is fine! Body image for me has now become a continuous dialogue rather than a continuous struggle." —elizabethmartinh

11. Don't let yourself be defined by any bodily issue or limitation. Your strength and self worth are not dependent on that.

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"I always wish someone had told me that sickness does not mean weakness. I was a frail child, with a host of medical issues as well as several mild disabilities. And the amount of pain I saw my parents go through convinced me that my mere existence was damaging to those around me. So I hid my symptoms and lied about my disabilities so as not to cause any more pain. But all this did was make my illnesses come back stronger and cause my family to worry more. I wish I'd had someone holding my hand back then. Not asking if I was okay, but telling me that I will be soon." —thomasd44a8178a3

12. Exercise for the sake of feeling better — not looking better.

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"The best thing I ever did for my body image was work out and fuel it with healthy food. I lost a little weight, but no significant changes. What did change was that I finally felt powerful and strong. My thick thighs were no longer fat, they were machines to power my squats. It shifted my mind more than my body." —traciet4fb9661cf

13. Set goals that have zero to do with your appearance.

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"I started competing in Strongwoman. Training for strength encourages so much more than concerns of physical body image. Training for strength is empowering and teaches you to appreciate how much your body does for you and encourages you to take care of it to perform at your best." —rachelpyron

14. Surround yourself with positive vibes.

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"Last year I started writing positive sayings on my bathroom mirror… I thought to myself if i can write it, i can think it." —andream471ed733d

15. And find a supportive squad that can keep you positive even when you feel like crap.

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"As a female-to-male transgender, it caused depression and dysphoria. So when I'm feeling down in the dumps, I look in the mirror and take a good look at myself. My decent haircut, my hairiness, my shoulders, some muscles and of course, my chest. Though there are things that I have to wear (chest binder) or I feel uncomfortable and get misgendered, I like what I'm doing. I'm trying to get fit and its starting to show. Even when I don't think so, my girlfriend and some of my family tell me I look muscular and masculine. You just have to surround yourself with people you know are uplifting." —RowensChance

16. And when you're feeling particularly awesome, celebrate that.

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"When there's good lighting for a selfie, go for it. Don't be afraid to post that glamour pic everywhere, and allow yourself to be a little vain." —elisehausman

17. Don't compare yourself to someone else. Every body is beautiful.

"Look around you! Anyone of any size can look fierce. It's all about you telling yourself you're fierce and believing it. Don't be afraid to wear what you want and be who you want. There's a chance that the thing you call a flaw is the one thing another person wishes they had. Focus on having fun, embracing your personality, wearing what you want, and being who you want, and I assure you that you'll be a total queen!" —faeritzanikkis

18. And don't compare yourself to 10-years-ago-you either. Squeezing into those jeans from 2004 will not make you a better person.

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"Realize that you'll never be 18 again. You will never be where you once were, and that's OK! You can be a better, older, more valued you! Our bodies change with age, you have to move away from what once was and focus on what can be." —http://www.buzzfeed.com/melq

19. Buy clothes you actually enjoy wearing and feel great in.

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"I started changing how I dress day-to-day. Being in clothes I look good in helped me overcome being self-conscious about my body." —Jeannie McMahon (Facebook)

20. Maybe get a dog.

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"It helped me to be confident with myself by being active, which eventually made me love my body, quirks and all. And dogs will love you no matter what you look like." —shamilles

21. Realize that your self worth has very little to do with your actual body.

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"I am a kind, strong person, and my body enables me to do what I do — loving my family and friends, encouraging others, and enjoying the beauty of life around me. The only requirement for those things is having a living body. The physical characteristics of that body don't contribute to the quality of the life being lived. They may, however, reflect the ways that you have experienced life: freckles on the nose of someone who enjoys time outside, scars on someone who has taken on a challenge and come through it, more weight on someone who shares the richness of life through food. Being less able than others, a different color, size, shape — none of that dictates whether you are worthy to lead a meaningful life and have an impact on those around you." —jennyp4b17105ef

22. Say "thank you" every once in a while. Your body has actually been through a lot.

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"I suffered with an autoimmune disease for many years and the medications caused me to be puffy and gain weight. On the other hand I dealt with body dysmorphia from a very young age. Two years ago I was able to get off the meds through a holistic approach to eating and exercise. It made me realize how good my body had been to me over the course of my life. I started to view my body as a miracle rather than a curse, and put the club down so to speak. I thanked my body daily for supporting me in this life." —Kara Gorycki (Facebook)

23. Try to give zero fucks. Or at least less fucks.

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"I used to never wear shorts in the summer because I was worried people would see my cellulite, but all that made me was hot. Now I wear whatever I want, and I'm sure people do notice my cellulite — but they probably also notice how happy and carefree wearing whatever I want makes me. I swear, it radiates. Saying you love your flaws is usually a lie — saying you have flaws and give exactly zero fucks who sees? I think thats 1000x better." —Molly Falco (Facebook)

Casey Gueren is a senior health editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Casey Gueren at casey.gueren@buzzfeed.com.

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