Here's What Thanking Your Body Does For Your Self-Image

If you struggle with body image issues, you aren't alone. According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in five adults experience shame about their body, and over one-third of adults experience depression over their body image. Whether you feel like you're too much or you're not enough, experiencing shame and body dysmorphia can be extremely painful. And we're here to tell you — your body is worth loving, no matter what.

In the age of social media, unrealistic ideas about the so-called perfect body image can be a regular occurrence on our news feeds. However, some influencers, like Jordan Underwood, challenge the norm. Underwood, a non-binary, fat-positive model, actor, and influencer uses their platform to spread the message of self-love and encourages their followers to appreciate their bodies no matter what shape or size. 

Underwood recognizes how tough self-love can be when you are used to criticizing your body, saying, "Deprogramming that thinking and learning to love your body in its current state is really hard work and takes a lot of practice" (via Shape). But with the right mindset and a few helpful tools, you and your body will be BFFs again.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

It is important to remember the upsides to your body

Jordan Underwood explains to Shape that thanking your body can be very effective when it comes to self-love. "Get into a comfortable position (not in front of a mirror), either sitting or laying down, and thank the parts of your body that you love. And then thank the parts of your body that are harder for you to love," they explain. 

It might be difficult to find body parts you think are worth thanking, but remember that all bodies are worthy of love, no matter their form. You might think your arms need more toning, but those are the same arms that stretch to hug your loved ones when they're hurting. You might want to hide your belly, but it is working hard to turn that gourmet meal you made into energy. You might hate the scars on your legs, but they're reminders of all the fun you had running, jumping, and playing as a child. Even if you don't mean it at first, keep trying. Underwood encourages us to "work up to being able to tell each part of your body 'thank you,' for its purpose — and that purpose is keeping you alive."

Celebrities have been leading the self-love movement

When it comes to practicing self-love and loving our bodies, some of the world's biggest celebrities are leading the way. Celebrities like Mindy Kailing, Demi Lovato, and Barbie Ferreira are among those celebrating their bodies no matter their size (via Us Weekly).

Meanwhile, Lizzo is also taking action for people of all shapes and sizes with Yitty — her new line of athletic wear and shapewear for people of all sizes. Lizzo uses TikTok and Instagram to proudly promote her line of inclusive clothing, encouraging all of us to love our bodies just as they are.

Luckily, the self-love movement appears to be progressing, but the real change starts at home in the mirror. So, the next time you go to change your outfit because you're self-conscious about that cute crop top, remember your body is keeping you alive, and it deserves a little thanks.