10 ways to boost body confidence this summer

1 August 2015 by
First published: 28 July 2015

Shape up sensibly over the coming months with our 10 ways to boost body confidence this summer, whatever your goal.

There’s something about bikini season that makes us lose common sense when it comes to our diet and exercise routine. Suddenly we prioritise fitness over wellbeing by overtraining or starving our way to our dream body. Here at WHL, we think you’re awesome just as you are and these 10 tips will set you off on your inner journey to natural well-being and fitness and help you stay there.


1. Create a positive self image

Studies have shown that mental imagery influences many cognitive processes concerning confidence and self-efficacy. ‘An interesting visualisation technique worth practising every day is to close your eyes and make a picture of yourself the way you want to look and see it through your own eyes,’ says celebrity lifecoach, author and hypnotherapist Ali Campbell. Empowering books like Conscious Language by Robert Steven or Campbell’s Just Get on With It have helped people see their bodies in a healthier, more positive light.


2. Treat your body like a temple

Anyone looking to maintain a healthy weight is better steering clear of fad diets, which cut out entire food groups, and appetite suppressants, as they train the body to store fat. Try cutting on salt and oil instead, eat raw as often as possible (to preserve nutrients) and reduce your intake of animal products. ‘There are no shortcuts to optimal health and weight loss, just a balance of rest, hydration and nutrition,’ says homegrown Kauai Farmacy tea plantation‘s founder Doug Wolkon. He suggests alkalising the body with a daily cup of herbal tonic tea, which improves an array of common chronic diseases by rebooting immune system and metabolism through increased circulation, detoxification and ayurvedic control of the nervous system.


3. Choose organic and hormone-free products

Cleaning our diet and being mindful of what we put inside our bodies is almost as important as limiting our daily exposure to synthetic hormones, chlorine and harmful toxins contained in most mainstream cosmetics and skincare. Natural beauty products branded natural or pure aren’t necessarily totally made out of natural ingredients, unlike the 100 % pure purity skin care whose line is free of the nasty chemicals and parabens and instead packed with skin healing nutrients found in herbs, botanicals, essential oils or seaweed. Morrocco Method haircare is a safe go-to brand for vibrant hair and scalp rejuvenation; and good and effective natural cosmetics are hard to come by but Inika provides a superb cruelty free and raw alternative to your mineral foundation you can build coverage with and does wonders for the skin. Simply investing in a chlorine shower filter is also a great way to achieve softer hair and smoother skin.


4. Come off the Pill

Fertility Awareness and Sexual Health Educator Sarah Naomi Bly speaks of a culture of convenience where taking a pill and giving our cycles over to pharmaceuticals is the norm. Tricking our bodies into thinking we’re pregnant every day, these contraceptives mess up with thyroid functions, cause hair loss, promote weight gain, a loss of libido and a wealth of other destructive side effects. ‘A healthy cycle is a measure of general health,’ says Bly. ‘When we listen to the changes of our monthly cycles, we are listening to our bodies’ feedback on our general health,’ stresses Bly.

A holistic approach to contraception has been made popular by Toni Weschler‘s 20th anniversary edition of Taking Charge of your Fertility. Full of tips to help you come off the pill, Weschler’s bestseller teaches you how to deal with your body’s six-month post-pill healing process and truly embrace ‘the nature of woman, the ups and downs on a trek through the wilds of our emotions,’ says Bly.


5. Celebrate your femininity

You can spot a confident woman when you see one. She’d be walking purposefully in a perky outfit. The first rule to body acceptance is to capitalise on your best features and assume your curves with figure-flattering clothing. Brands like One More Store and Salsa will spare you the hassle of growing bigger glutes and still fit in these skinny jeans. Because body language shapes who you are, changing your posture will give you an extra boost in confidence. Stand up tall, sit up straight, hold your shoulders back, put your chest out, pull your tummy in and lift your chin up. You’ll force the position at first but before you know it, it will become a habit and you’ll correct yourself naturally, relieving back and joint pain in the process.


6. Get real and work towards your fitness goals

‘Be specific about what you’re not happy with and make a clear plan to address the situation,’ recommends The Tonic’s lifecoach Jeff Archer. Plan and book ahead every one of your training sessions for the week at the weekend and stick to it.. Split your 60-minute sessions into small intervals devoted to different levels of intensity, muscle groups or routines. Likewise, take the time to put all your meal plans and exercises on paper. When you write them down, they become concrete and hold you accountable. ‘When helping clients become more body confident, I ask them to reflect on what’s the smallest part of themselves they’d like to change, to progressively build confidence. I always use momentum in a positive direction to get people to achieve easier changes and things that can be completed in a week,’ expains Campbell.


7. Get out and about

Whether you’re a yoga enthusiast or looking for an adrenaline rush, there’s a fun and challenging way of swapping sweaty gyms for the great outdoors. Playing GI Joe with British Military Fitness, pushing your endurance and strength training limits with the six-week Equinox training camp in London’s Kensington, keeping it short with AdventureYogi’s dinner and yoga class mini-retreats or practising headstands at Triyoga’s Bliss of Consciousness retreats in north Devon, are just a few ways to get the de-stressing, detoxifying and body-boosting benefits of exercise. Opt for the women-only She is Wild Urban retreat for a vegan-catered friendly relaxed day in Stoke Newington, London.


8. Keep your eyes on the ball

It takes 21 days to form a new habit. Any commitment to a fitness routine or a diet cleanse is a multi-step process. ‘If you take positive action towards your objectives, take time to plan your results and a balanced routine, put this plan into action and include meditation, visualisation and positive self-talk to deliver on your plan and acknowledge your progress you can rapidly build confidence,’ says Archer. Once you’ve established what’s working for you, mixing routines, freshening up your workouts and making each training session count is key to avoid reaching a glass ceiling. To make the most out of every class while maintaining a lean and athletic physique over time you’ll need to push yourself. For a full body conditioning class for example, increasing the weights for every muscular group according to your strength and under the guidance of the instructor is critical for steady progression. Ideally, the last 10 reps of every move should be challenging to perform.


9. Track your fitness level

Taking before and after pictures of your progress and fitness journey to motivate you through the dark days is essential. You should be able to look back at your progress critically until your goal is achieved. ‘Monitor your progress carefully so you make adjustments to your plan according to the speed of the results you achieve,’ maintains Archer. Alternatively, downloading fitness tracking apps like the newest BITERunner app or investing in a tracking digital gadget can provide you with detailed and accurate feedback on your performances and encourage you to set new PBs. If you’re not tech savvy and rather deal with a professional, you can still request a health consultation and take tests like the BioAge. Using indicators such as blood pressure, heart rate and reflex, Fitness First’s newest technology compares your chronological age to your biological age and measures accurately your level of fitness.


10. Meditate

Latest figures from the British Social Attitudes survey revealed 10 million women in the UK feel depressed because of the way they look, with only 57% of women aged 35-49 satisfied with their appearance. Stop comparing yourself with others or even discuss your body image at all. ‘When judging our appearances, we always do so against someone else’s. We need to reshape the target so that it only applies to us,’ says Campbell. ‘Consciousness either expands or contracts to reach that space of greater self awareness where we truly love and respect our bodies,’ says meditation master Tom Cronin. ‘From now on you should become your own best friend, being in full acceptance of who you are and learn self love through daily meditation practice. I recommend 20 minutes of meditation, one in the morning and one in the evening, but even taking 5 minutes out of your day to sit, pause, bring your awareness to your breath and get present will make you more confident and loving towards your body.’