I Hate My Body. What Do I Do?

Updated March 26, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Maybe you stare in the mirror and think, I hate my body. Or perhaps when you see pictures of yourself, you tend to say, even in a joking way, “Ugh, I hate myself. I hate how I look.” Body image concerns and body dysmorphic disorder, which may lead you to have frequent intrusive thoughts about one or more perceived flaws, have become more prevalent recently, particularly among adolescents. With constant exposure to social media and a society-wide focus on image, many people find themselves paying increasing attention to their bodies. This may have become even more common with pandemic-driven remote work and the fact that we may be seeing ourselves on screens more and more. In fact, research points to the fact that many  Americans feel unsatisfied with their bodies at some point in their life. 

It’s okay if you’ve come to worry a little or a lot over your body. There are ways, however, to overcome these concerns so that you can develop a healthy relationship with your body.  This article will discuss some of the ways that you can overcome negative feelings toward your own body and move towards forming a healthier body image.

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
Learning to redefine your relationship with your body can be hard

1. Determine whether there are deeper roots to your unhappiness

Oftentimes, poor body image stems from specific behaviors or moments in your life. Perhaps it’s staring at old pictures of yourself, recalling statements from certain individuals, or constantly comparing yourself to the people around you. If you find yourself saying, “I hate my body,” it may be essential to uncover the “why.”

Ask yourself what tends to trigger concerns with your self-image and go beyond simple answers about specific features. Ponder your past experiences and possible challenges like low self-esteem or depression. Asking these difficult questions may help you become better equipped to understand why you’re judging yourself the way you may be.

Consider this: there doesn’t have to be anything intrinsically wrong with your body just because it looks a certain way. What we perceive as “flaws” can in many cases be common, natural features of our bodies—like cellulite or stretch marks, for example—that we may have a warped perception of due to social conditioning. Where did these ideas come from? Who decided that your body should look different than it naturally does?

Once you uncover the roots of a negative body image, you can likely get one step closer to tackling it. Some methods to work through these negativity sources include journaling, talking to someone close to you, and meditating. 

2. Focus on more important aspects of yourself

This can be easier said than done, of course. It’s okay to spend time thinking about and tending to your appearance from time to time. Obsessing over it, however, can exacerbate self-image issues.

To manage this, try to look beyond the body in the mirror. Try being grateful for the things your body provides you besides its appearance. Instead of repeating, I hate my body, in your head, start repeating, I’m grateful for my body and all it allows me to experience.


Try to dispel the negativity from your life. Negative self-talk that makes you feel bad your body image can make it harder to overcome bad habits. Think instead of how your body lets you work harder and get stronger daily—or perhaps how your body has allowed you to have experiences or even bring children into the world. There can be much more to you than just your appearance.

3. Work on your mental health

It can be difficult to reshape your poor body image if your mental health is not being taken care of. You may gain or lose weight from time to time, and that is okay. Embrace the changes. Your body will likely change throughout your life, just as you do. This can be expected and healthy.

There is a common misconception that body issues always stem from a desire to be more attractive. Oftentimes, body issues may have more to do with a sense of control. Figuring out what might be driving the desire to look a certain way or appear perfect on the surface might help you change your habits more permanently.

4. Take a break from social media

Beauty standards change constantly. Social media influencers can edit their images and then sell products that promise to make us look more like them. Ask yourself, Has society—including social media, Hollywood, magazines, the beauty industry, etc.—given me a complex about my physical appearance?

Social media can have lasting effects on body image and mental health. It may be all too easy to fall into comparing your body and your life to the bodies and lives that you see on the screen. You may start to look at your body in a negative light because you don’t believe that you are living up to the examples you see.

That’s why it can be helpful to take a break from these platforms from time to time. You do not have to cut yourself off cold turkey but try heavily restricting your time on social media platforms for a while and see if that alleviates some of your concerns.

Rather than the strangers who populate our social media feeds, consider role models in your day-to-day life. Ask yourself why you admire these people. In most cases, it probably has little to do with physical beauty and more to do with the way they make you feel, their skill or experience in what they do, etc. This can help remind you how much more important personality can be than our mere outer shells.

5. Roll with the changes

There are many changes that we may undergo in our lifetimes, such as weight fluctuation and childbirth. If these changes are causing you to worry about your attractiveness, there are steps you can take. For example, you could throw out clothes that no longer fit. Rather than holding onto old clothes in the hope that they will one day fit again, you can develop a new wardrobe. This may help you move on and accept how your body has changed.  

The only constant in life may be change. As you move through life, you will likely experience emotional, intellectual, and spiritual changes. It may be only natural that your body will change along with you. Try to avoid guilting or punishing yourself for going through phases that are entirely normal, healthy, and even beautiful. This is likely not the last time your body will change. And that’s okay!

6. Treat yourself

Learning to redefine your relationship with your body can be hard

You are so much more than a body. You are a person who is worthy of self-love. Take time to treat yourself; acting like you love yourself can sometimes be the first step toward actually doing so. After all, it can be hard to recognize the good in something until you’ve tried it out for yourself.

By occasionally pampering yourself with self-care, you can help improve your overall well-being. You may also be able to help yourself believe that you are worthy of care and compassion. At the end of the day, that’s the arguably most important thing!

7. Consider seeking support

Body dysmorphic disorder can be a debilitating condition that has the potential to affect many aspects of your life. Even if your body image concerns are not severe enough to fall under the umbrella of BDD, it’s likely that some sort of professional support might be what’s necessary to help you overcome and change your habits for the better. 

Options like online therapy may help you connect with an experienced therapist from wherever you have an internet connection (or phone service). You can save money and time by speaking to a professional from the comfort of your own home at a time that makes sense for your schedule.

Plus, research suggests that online therapy can be an equally effective treatment option for some mental health concerns when compared to in-person therapy as well as being a more affordable way to seek help. No matter the reason behind your feelings about your body, it’s likely that talking to someone who understands can make a world of difference. 

For Additional Help & Support With Your ConcernsThis website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.