You don’t have to lose 20 pounds, get a makeover, or buy a whole new wardrobe to feel better about yourself. Boosting your body confidence is 90% mental, say experts with a wide range of real-world experience.
Try out their advice and see how much better you feel, starting today.
The Red-Carpet Escort
Want to feel as cool and fabulous as Angelina Jolie at a premiere? Chris Gaida knows how. He's been accompanying celebrities on the red carpet since 1999. Name the famous woman and he's been seen on her arm: Taylor Swift, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, Mariah Carey, and dozens of others. His book, Arm Candy: A Celebrity Escort's Tales from the Red Carpet, is due out in January.
- Prepare. Time management is 90% of feeling good about how you look, Gaida says. "If you know something big is coming up, like a job interview or a date, don't wait until that day to decide what to wear. If you're pulling yourself together at the last minute, you will look in the mirror and not like what you see. It's amazing how even an extra 10 minutes will make you feel and look 100% better."
- Remember other people's insecurities. "It's a world full of insecure people," Gaida says "Most people are so worried about their own hangups about themselves -- yes, even celebrities -- that they don't even notice the things you hate about your body or how you look."
- Fake it 'til you make it. "Take five minutes in the morning before you leave for the day, and picture yourself looking good and people thinking you look good," Gaida says. "Plant that message of confidence in your head. Even if it's false confidence at first, eventually you'll start to believe in yourself."
Hector Hill has been tending bars in Santa Monica, Calif. for more than 10 years, and in that time he says he's learned a lot about how people present themselves to others. He offers what he calls a "commonsense consulting" service for people seeking help with personal relationships, and recently self-published Tipping Back: The Mixologist Psychologist's Guide to Life Skills and Social Tricks.
- Get out of your own head. "Focus on the other person instead of thinking about how you look," he says. "Be interested as opposed to being interesting. Ask people questions about themselves and stop worrying about your outfit. When people are interested in others, you can see the confidence radiating from them.
- Put your phone away. If you're checking your smartphone every five minutes, not only does it tell people you're not paying attention to them, but it actually makes you look bad. "That blue light makes your face look ghoulish! And nobody likes to be second-tiered," he says.
The Image Consultant
Wardrobe consultant Terri Ghio runs The Style Institute, an online personal stylist training and coaching program. Too many people are stuck dressing and styling themselves the way they used to in high school, or based on a look in a magazine that doesn't suit them. "No wonder they have no confidence!" she says.
To feel better about how you look, she says:
- Find your favorite outfit -- the one that you wear over and over again and makes you feel like a million bucks. Put it on and ask yourself why it's so perfect. Is it the color? Cut? Fabric? Look for other items that have that same feel.
- "Shop for your body shape. No matter how beautiful clothes are, if they're not made to suit you, they won't look good and you won't feel good," says Ghio.
- Find the one thing you love about yourself and make sure that's what you focus on. "Everybody has something," she says. "If you have great eyebrows, make sure your haircut focuses attention on them."
The Fitness Expert
Laura Williams, a fitness manager with a master's degree in exercise and sports science, runs Girls Gone Sporty, a web site that promotes a healthy, active lifestyle without focusing specifically on weight.
- Step away from the mirror. It's one thing to stand in front of the mirror to put on makeup or check out how your outfit looks, but when that look turns into a stare, it's way too easy to become obsessed. So check to make sure there's no lipstick on your teeth and your part is straight, and then go.
- Compliment yourself. The minute you find yourself thinking, "I hate my thighs," counter that negative thought with something positive, like "I love my thick, wavy hair."
- Exercise. Long-term, of course, working out will give you a better body, but even before that happens, Williams says, half an hour of getting sweaty will make you feel better about your body.