Six steps to improved body confidence

Feeling great in your own skin gives you confidence from the inside out. To get on your way to feeling more body confident, it’s key to bring some healthy habits into your life. It might take a little while (and a little willpower) to get going, but once you’ve found your balance, your new healthy routine will just be part of your normal day, helping you feel fabulous. Here are six steps that worked for us.

1 Make a plan
Sit down and evaluate how you feel about your health. Write down three health strengths and three areas that you feel you could improve. This process can help you set a few achievable healthy habits that can make you feel great. These targets can be as simple as eating your five fruits and vegetables a day, drinking a lemon water before your morning coffee or walking to work twice a week rather than taking the car. Or, they could be a little more challenging. Whatever you choose to focus on, be kind to yourself and make sure your goals are realistic and achievable.

2. Keep healthy snacks nearby
Carrying some fruit, chopped vegetables and nuts in your handbag will prevent you from reaching for those energy-zapping foods that take you on a mood rollercoaster and make you feel terrible. Stick some apples, satsumas and mixed nuts in your bag and you’ll be able to nourish your body properly when you’re out and about. Snacking on fruit and vegetables throughout the day can also hydrate your body and give your skin a healthy glow. If you work in an environment where you can blend fruits and vegetables, try whizzing up a healthy juice as a snack and see how amazing it makes you feel.

3 Write a food diary
Noting down everything you eat is an excellent habit that can help you stay on track. Setting a meal plan at the beginning of the week is a good way of staying focused and it can help you to budget too, leaving more cash to buy that new outfit when you hit your target. Do bear in mind that meal plans have to be flexible and fit around your working week. So, if a last-minute catered event pops up, you might want to have a snack or a healthy meal before you go and just nibble on the food when you’re out. Alternatively, you could just go, enjoy the evening and make sure you pick up your healthy eating habits again the next day – life is all about balance!

4 Stay hydrated
Hydration is so important for metabolism and digestion, and it also keeps you looking younger by giving your skin a healthy glow. Staying hydrated doesn’t just mean drinking buckets of water. Here’s how to make it a bit more interesting:
•    Make your own vitamin water flavoured with fresh fruits and herbs
•    Drink vegetable and bone broths
•    Eat watery soups like miso and minestrone
•    Eat salads packed with celery and cucumber
•    Drink fresh vegetable and fruit juices
•    Choose a detox tea when you reach for the kettle

5 Aim for 30 minutes of daily exercise
Exercise is important for bone health, heart health and muscle structure. You don’t have to rush out and pay extortionate prices for a gym membership. Just choose something that’s enjoyable and fits in with your lifestyle. Don’t do too much too soon, as this could put you off completely. Here are some ideas for adding some exercise into your day:
•    Lunchtime walk or run in the fresh air
•    Morning swim before starting your working day
•    Evening yoga or Pilates class
•    Weekend hike or bike ride with friends or family
Try adding 30 minutes of exercise into your day, or even start with ten minutes if you need to. You’ll soon start to notice the change in your body confidence, and maybe also in the way your clothes fit.

6 Get some sleep
Sleep is so important as it’s how your body recovers from daily events and stresses. Sleep also helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This can increase your desire to eat more of the energy-zapping foods that cause weight gain, as well as energy highs and lows. Set a sleep plan – maybe you’ll pledge to avoid TV and phone screens for an hour before bed, listen to relaxing music or have a bath. Whatever works for you, getting around seven hours sleep per night should help you feel better and send that body confidence soaring.