Diets fail for many reasons — one being that people often focus on shedding pounds rather than doing the hard work of healing their relationship with food and their body.
This can create a cycle of fast weight loss followed by weight gain, sometimes referred to as yo-yo dieting. It’s counterproductive and can lead to disordered eating and an increased risk of mortality and cardiovascular diseases.
Thankfully, positive affirmations, which are simple statements that you repeat to yourself, can help you reframe the way you think and influence feelings and behavior.
While they are not magic bullets, repeating these affirmations for a few minutes daily may help redirect negative thought patterns and boost motivation and self-confidence.
Here are 7 positive affirmations to improve your well-being and deepen your connection with your body.
Diet culture tells us that bodies should look a particular way, and so, we can lose ourselves trying to achieve the unattainable.
But remember that the old adage holds true: Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Instead of chasing an arbitrary ideal and a certain appearance, shift your thinking to focus on function. After all, the ideal body is your body at its healthiest state.
This affirmation makes use of your brain’s neuroplasticity, or its ability to change and adapt. In other words, by repeating this affirmation, your brain may begin to take it as fact. This can be especially helpful if you feel that this affirmation is somewhat aspirational.
By prioritizing aspirational thinking toward your body’s abilities, you remove focus from the numbers on the scale or the size of your pants. This can help align your thoughts with a weight that’s healthy for you.
Repeating the affirmation “I am healthy and strong” may encourage your brain to see it as fact. This can improve your relationship with your body.
Focusing on the many amazing things your body already does and can do helps to reframe your relationship with it.
Weight and body mass index (BMI) can be problematic ways to measure your health. This affirmation may help transform the way you consider your body, shifting it toward function rather than numbers on a scale (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
Maybe it’s the baby it carried, the meal it cooked, the cancer it beat, or the laughter it continues to produce despite hardship. Simply acknowledge its many accomplishments thus far, however big or small.
Rather than viewing your body as a thing to continually fix, this affirmation focuses on what it already achieves. In other words, it may help you realize that your body doesn’t need to be corrected by a diet.
And don’t stop here. Make a list and return to it from time to time.
This affirmation takes the focus off appearance and instead focuses on your body’s abilities. This is a healthier approach than focusing on the numbers on the scale.
Maybe formal exercise doesn’t do it for you, and that’s OK. Reframe the idea of “working out” to simply mean “movement that feels good.”
If spin class feels like a drag, do activities that feel good to your body and mind. Maybe it’s gentle stretching, hiking a scenic trail, or dancing at home to fun music.
This affirmation helps reframe how you perceive exercise. Find movement that feels joyful to your body.
This affirmation builds your self-efficacy, or your perception of how well you might carry out a certain task. High self-efficacy can promote behavior changes (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
While this assertion stands on its own, you can also tweak it according to your individual goals. If what you find difficult but aspire to do is to walk every day, then you might instead rephrase your affirmation to state “I can walk every day.”
As you set these goals, keep in mind that they should be attainable and build gradually. You can also get specific about how long you want to commit or how often you want to repeat your new health-related behavior.
Avoid overly ambitious changes that are unlikely for you to accomplish. Remember, you’re aiming for slow, progressive, and sustainable goals that will become habitual.
This affirmation helps build your self-efficacy, thus promoting behavior change.
Eating is a sensory experience that activates your senses beyond taste. While it may not always be possible to sit down and relish every morsel, encourage yourself to do so as often as possible.
Observe the way your food looks, smells, tastes, how many textures you can detect, any sounds it produces as you eat it, or how it’s arranged on your plate.
While broader research is needed, one study found that a high task load corresponded with a diminished intensity of flavor when eating. Participants who multitasked while eating also ate or drank more to compensate for this decreased intensity (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).
Eating mindfully is a practice, and it may take time to learn. This affirmation may help remind you to sit down and enjoy the act of nourishing yourself.
Eating mindfully can help you better enjoy the act of nourishing your body. This affirmation helps to remind you to slow down and be present.
Our bodies can be a site of shame. Harmful messages promoting an ideal body type are sent out by diet culture and reinforced in media. This may make you feel too large or small, or as if a particular body part doesn’t look the way you want it to.
If shame of this sort is a part of your body’s story, this proclamation may help you as you work to heal. Consider tailoring the affirmation to focus on a specific body part if that feels appropriate for you.
Keep in mind that positive affirmations may not be enough for your journey. Consider also speaking with a licensed counselor to work with you on any body image issues you may experience.
Diet culture and media can reinforce unattainable ideals about the perfect body and may even create shame. This affirmation helps to counter that.
Positive self-talk is worth exploring on your path to wellness. Self-talk is the inner monologue you carry, the way you speak to yourself inside your head.
Unfortunately, sometimes the way we speak to ourselves may be less generous than the way we would ever speak to another person.
While more research is needed, positive self-talk may be a boon to health (23).
If you are overtly and harshly self-critical, this affirmation can help foster compassion toward yourself.
This affirmation reminds you to practice compassion toward yourself, which may improve your well-being.
Positive affirmations can be a great start to improving your well-being and your relationship with your body.
The best affirmations are those that work for and make sense to you. Therefore, make them specific to your goals and situation.
They may work best when repeated daily for several minutes at a time.
Although positive affirmations are not magic bullets, they can at least provide a launching point for your path to wellness.