Loving your body starts with loving yourself: Instagram favorite Katie Sturino on how to stop negative self-talk in a totally doable way
Edited and updated February, 2022.
Did you know the way you talk to yourself—good or bad—matters, and can have a huge impact on your life? In my book, Body Talk, I challenge readers to talk to themselves in the mirror and take note of what they’re saying. Often, it’s cruel things you’d never dream of saying to a friend or loved one. I’ve discovered that when you take notice of that inner mean-girl behavior, you immediately want to stop. A quick and easy way to do that is to say “NOPE.” Literally cut yourself off mid-sentence from whatever bad thing you were about to say and Just. Say. Nope.
If you want to love your body, the first step is to stop sh*t talking it. I wrote my book, Body Talk, to give women the tools they need to do just that. Here’s a short excerpt.
Now that we are aware of how we’re talking to ourselves, let’s learn how to stop talking shit.
The first time a photo shoot featuring me instead of my dog was published on a public forum,* I was surprised to find that the comments were filled with excitement and enthusiasm. I didn’t disgust the entire internet with my being, as I had originally worried I would. Instead, I was overwhelmed with kindness from women who were excited to see my body type—their body type—wearing clothes they’d assumed they couldn’t “pull off.” They wanted to know where I found shoes for my size 12 feet, they wanted to know the brand of my leather jacket, and they wanted to see even more of me, if you can believe it. I couldn’t.
Their positivity sparked a little something-something in my brain.
And that question, though hypothetical* at the time, started the chain reaction that led to the next phase of my life. Affirmations from other women continued as I began to wade deeper and deeper into the pool party of body acceptance and positivity. Women told me in person and on Instagram about the shorts they finally wore that they never thought they could, about the bikini pictures they were finally posting after a lifetime of not feeling “beach body ready.” Their confidence made it impossible to not pay attention to the Mean Things I was still saying to myself (see page 76 if you’re bouncing around). The contrast was stark—and then one day, I had enough. So I stopped.
OKAY . . . I feel like I can hear you yelling at me through the pages:
Well, not exactly, because learning to pay attention to and keep track of your negative thoughts is hard. It’s the opposite of fun. But guess what? If you’ve read chapter three, you’re already well on your way.
How to Stop S***-Talking Yourself
- Step 1: Pay attention to the shit-talking (again, see chapter three).
- Step 2: Scare your Mean Themes and scary words by telling them “You hold no power over me!”
- Step 3: Your negative thoughts will become less aggressive after Step 2, but, guaranteed, they will still appear. Sometimes new ones pop up out of nowhere! Don’t freak out when this happens. Just yell “NOPE!” at them inside your brain.
- Step 4: Replace every negative thought with a positive thought.
That’s kinda it. But don’t worry. I’m gonna coach you through it…
How to “NOPE”
Stand in front of the biggest, tallest mirror you can find. The goal is to get the fullest possible picture of yourself.
Now observe: How do you receive yourself in the mirror?
You may find yourself immediately drawn to all the flaws. You may notice new so-called flaws. You may add even more items to your never-ending “to improve” list. Whatever’s going on in that brain of yours, channel your inner mascot, put your hands on your hips, and say a firm and clear NOPE!
The goal is to shut down that shit-talking before it can even begin.
- “Hey stomach, why are you so—” NOPE!
- “Hey nose, you stin—” NOPE!
- “Hey acne, you are ruining my—” NOPE!
Nope, nope, nope. Just NOPE! Like you’re telling a toddler that touching a hot oven is not a good idea.
I’m not asking you to write a sonnet to your cellulite or to sext yourself photos of your own ass or to propose to your arm jiggle. I’m not asking you to declare your love for your teeth or your boobs or your ears. That wasn’t my path. It doesn’t need to be yours. Right now, all I’m asking you to do is to block the shit-talk, remove the shame, and, eventually, stop equating your VALUE with these things.
If you’re struggling, consider this: Your job is to protect your mascot, right? And she’s a child, right? Rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t let someone say it to your sweet and mighty mascot, who is a CHILD, don’t say it to yourself!
Practice Makes No-Such-Thing-as-Perfect
Once you’ve got your NOPEs down—not perfected, just down, as in you can get the nope out of your mouth, or into your head, or at the very least you’re on board with the concept—I’m gonna need you to head back to that mirror.
This time, you’re gonna follow up your NOPEs with compliments. The compliments don’t have to be related to what you’re NOPE- ing right now—they just have to be about you. EVERYONE has something on their body and in their brain that’s exceptional.