13 Ways To Improve Your Body Image – I’m Blonde & Tanned

by Sherry Riter in Aging,Perception,Self-Development  

clown redhead pale no fashionI know that people laugh at clowns and that is precisely my point with this picture – I felt as though I looked like a clown most of my younger days. It didn’t matter that my mother, aunts and grandparents said I was pretty or cute because inside I felt goofy looking. When I looked in the mirror I saw someone that should be laughed at because she was very funny looking.

I was teased in school constantly by other children who would say the meanest things about my hair. Looking around at the other children, it was obvious that I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was very pale with lots of freckles on my face and bright orange hair that my mother had me wear in a style something like a bouffant. So not only did I look different than other children, I felt that I didn’t fit in with them. I was inferior. I agonized over this day in and day out, but never breathed a word to my parents about it because, well, they were my parents. We all know that parents say you are beautiful even when you are really ugly, so I didn’t value their opinion at all.

Definition Of Body Image

The mental picture that you have of your body or how you see yourself when you look in the mirror is called your body image. When you have a healthy body image, you appreciate your body, take care of yourself and “feel good in your own skin”. However, a negative body image is the complete opposite of a healthy body image and it can bring about many health problems and stress causing attitudes such as:

  • Self-loathing
  • Shame
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-harm

self image chewbacca teenager uglyAs I got older, my hair turned from a bright orange to an orange-red color. I kept it very short because it was easy to care for without much work, I thought it would make my neck hot and there was less hair to attract attention. By the time I had become a teenager, I was a professional at blending in with the wall and suffered because of it. During this time, I started growing my hair a little bit. My self-image had turned from clown to a monstrous beast like Chewbacca in Star Wars. I felt socially inept and I still didn’t fit in with the crowd.

While other kids were breaking curfew, drinking and smoking weed, I stayed home every night studying. When I finished studying, there was always a book around to immerse myself in so that I didn’t have to think about what a terrible, ugly, tall outcast I was compared to my very petite, short and socially active sister with her millions of friends and boyfriends. So to spare myself from always facing my own inadequacies, I hid in my room, studied and read books to escape from myself. Did it work? Hmmmm…Yes, it did work temporarily, but when the sun rose in the morning and I had to head back to school, the dreaded gloom of nonacceptance and the reality of my ugliness was very evident. There was no escaping myself in the bright light of day.

old fashioned old ugly fatBy the time I got out of high school, I had accepted my ugly appearance. My sister was a tiny size zero, sported a golden tan and always had a boyfriend. She married a very handsome man and had a beautiful daughter. Her life proved that I was as ugly as I always believed.

In my early twenties, I met a very handsome “man” who said he “loved me” and I thought for sure he must be blind or crazy. Even though my hair had lightened to a soft red and hung to my waist in flowing curls, I felt very old fashioned, ugly and stupid. Somehow as the years had passed, I just tacked on more negative adjectives. I never felt pretty and “beautiful” was merely a word for other people.

I ended up married to this handsome man and entered a family filled with handsome and beautiful people. I was convinced that I was the ugliest of them all and hoped that I would have a child with their gorgeous features and golden bronze skin. I knew that if I had a beautiful baby, then my child would never have to go through the horrible experiences that I suffered. So I accepted my ugliness because I had a handsome husband and a firm hope that I would have a beautiful child.

Reasons For A Negative Body Image

No one wants a negative body image, but many people have one, especially women. Here are a few reasons that we have a negative body image:

  • Body weight is not what you think it should be
  • We compare ourselves to other people
  • The media constantly shows and tells us that we need to be thinner
  • We are sick and/or depressed
  • Friends or family are critical of our body

I had a poor self-image because I had very little self-esteem. Self-image is what we see in the mirror, but self-esteem is our evaluation of our own self-worth. Self-esteem includes everything from our emotions and beliefs to our abilities. I believed that I was ugly and not as good as anyone else no matter how much I tried to succeed. That battle inside of me molded me into a perfectionist who overcompensates in order to prove my worth to a husband, parent, child, friend, employer and anyone else I come in contact.

hot woman blonde hair tanBelieve me, it hasn’t been easy. I always felt if I had blonde hair and tanned skin, the world would be my oyster. It sounds silly and totally irrelevant especially because I have one standard for me and a different one for everyone else. I expect perfection of myself because that is the only way I am worthy enough to be loved. Isn’t that stupid?

13 Ways To Improve Your Body Image

There are a few things that I have learned about body image and how to improve it if you are suffering as I have most of my life. As we age, our bodies will start sagging, bagging and wrinkling, so it is VITAL to learn to love and respect our body. Think about it, your body has gotten you to this point, so be thankful for the great job it is doing and enjoy it! Let me list a few tips on how to improve your body image:

  1. Eat nutritious food to help maintain the proper weight for your bone structure and height. It will also aid in your health. Skip the crazy diets and change your lifestyle. If you don’t buy the food that is cruddy for your body, it won’t be in the house to consume. Focus on fresh food and a constant weight.
  2. Exercise to keep your body fit, control the fat and to release those happy endorphins in your brain. Remember, the older we get, the weaker our bones, so give your body a little help to strengthen the muscles around those bones. If you think you don’t have “time” to exercise, simply turn off the television and you will be amazed how much more time you suddenly have available for exercising. 😛
  3. Sleep during the night and take naps when you can squeeze them into your schedule. A rested body performs better and the brain needs the time to sort through your billions of thoughts.
  4. Wear the clothes you want to wear whether they are “in fashion” or not. The most important thing is that you feel good in the clothes and they are comfortable.
  5. Stop being so critical of your weight, height, color of your hair, number of freckles on your skin, angle of your nose, length of your eyelashes, number of wrinkles on your face and a billion other things I’m sure you could think of about your body. Let it go! You are unique and beautiful just the way you are now. Yes, I can see you! 😉
  6. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Seriously, stop comparing yourself to other people.
  7. Say positive things about your body all the time. I’m sure if you think for just a few seconds, it isn’t that hard to come up with ten things that are super great about you. What? Umm…no, I’m not listing anything about myself. I’m GIVING advice, but that doesn’t mean I’m so good at taking it. Shhhh…I’m not done with my list yet!
  8. Pamper your body often with long showers, relaxing bubble baths, soothing massages, manicures, pedicures, naps and soothing massages. Oh, I don’t think I said soothing massages. 😉 By the way, I need a soothing massage.
  9. Avoid the pictures on magazines because they will add to your feelings of inadequacy. No one looks as good as the models on the covers including the models on the covers. Don’t set unhealthy and unattainable expectations of yourself or for your body.
  10. Avoid people who cut you down or make fun of you all the time. No negative stuff allowed! Instead, keep a circle of friends and/or family that buoy you up because they appreciate your talents, knowledge, heart and appearance.
  11. Understand and accept your genetics. Seriously, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Have you ever gotten to know a REALLY gorgeous person and then suddenly they aren’t so attractive anymore? Yeah, that is because beauty encompasses far more than just your physical appearance. All the things about you that can’t be immediately seen make you more beautiful. Remember, you are not a size or shape. You are a person of value, knowledge, talent and heart.
  12. Love yourself just the way your are right now.
  13. Participate in sex often. Of course I’m going to include it on the list! Sex is great for your body, health, self-esteem AND self-image. Really, the only thing better than a Krispy Kreme Doughnut is sex and a Krispy Kreme Doughnut. Don’t act surprised. Surely you knew I was going to say that even if I do have to remain grain free because of my allergy. So not to get sidetracked, let me repeat myself and tell you to have sex often because you will feel great about yourself.

Now you know the definition of body image, reasons for a negative body image and 13 ways to improve your body image. You have also heard my struggle with my own self-esteem and body image. The one thing I haven’t said is that ONLY YOU can change a negative view of yourself. Always comparing yourself to other people and coming up short is really a sad way to live. People who really love you think you are handsome/beautiful. They love the real you, not just your body, so be yourself. I think this quote sums it up well…

“Those who mind don’t matter,
and those who matter don’t mind.”
~ Bernard M. Baruch ~


This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mom October 1, 2012 at 2:41 am

LOL you out did yourself!!! I love the first and the last. Now I will say it for the millionth time, I think you are beautiful, you take my breath away sometimes. You have the longest sexiest legs ever. You are 5’9″ and your skin is like a china doll. Your hair is to die for, it comes to your waist with the softest strawberry red curls and it is natural. Your teeth are perfect. Your eyes are a rare gray green. Now Sherry, that adds up to beautiful. I am gonna go to bed and it is a good thing you are not here or I would swat you on your round bum.


2 Sherry Riter October 1, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Thank you, Mom. Just remember…you are biased because I’m your child. LOL


3 mom October 1, 2012 at 2:43 am

Oh yes, I forgot, you are as smart as they come!!! Now I am going to go bed.


4 Sherry Riter October 1, 2012 at 11:23 pm



5 Joan October 1, 2012 at 8:09 am

I’m sorry but I just can’t comment on this post! The reason? It took me almost an hour and a half to read this post. Why? Because I pressed on every link you had in red and read every previous post you wrote! Of course, I wanted to comment on each previous post I read, but time would not permit me, (because you know how long it takes me to write just one comment). I knew if I started commenting on every previous post I read I would never get to sleep at all! I started reading THIS POST at 3:00 A.M. and now it is past 5:00 A.M. So I’ll sum everything up by just saying that I loved this post, and all the previous posts I read whose links were within this post. And I loved all the pictures in this post that you Photoshopped your face into! They were so very creative! I especially liked the picture of you as blonde and tanned with that hat pulled down over one eye! You looked HOT! But then again, I don’t care what your self-esteem says you are, all your readers know that YOU ARE HOT, beautiful, intelligent, funny, talented, gifted, creative, a wonderful writer – and a real treasure! 🙂

Now I am going to catch some zzzzzzzzz’s. Nightie night! 🙂


6 Joan October 1, 2012 at 8:57 am

Redhead Riter, I can’t sleep! I keep thinking about what you said in your post “What Makes A Man Hot or Sexy” http://www.theredheadriter.com/2010/11/what-makes-man-hot-or-sexy/ (It was the red link within this post that you press on that said, “I met a very handsome man.” Well, naturally with a tease like that how could I not resist pressing on that link?

I have to tell you, that post gave new meaning to the saying, “Love is blind.” You wrote Alyssa’s father, Evan, (your now ex husband), reminded you “of the rugged actor name Tom Selleck.” Well, I’m not saying that Evan was not handsome, but to compare him to resembling Tom Selleck – well now that was a bit of a stretch. I mean, if you thought Evan looked like Tom Selleck, then let me say that I am the queen of England! The only resemblance that I could possibly see between Evan and Tom Selleck is that they both have mustaches. Did it ever occur to you that you might have fallen in love with a mustache? (Forgive me, but I just could not resist that!) 🙂 Okay, now I’m going to go back to bed.


7 Joan October 1, 2012 at 9:02 am

On second thought, maybe it was a good thing that you fell in love with a mustache or Alyssa would never have come to be! 🙂


8 Joan October 1, 2012 at 9:07 am

Although I still maintain that Alyssa got her good looks from your side of the family! All one has to do is to look at your mother and you to know why Alyssa is so beautiful! 🙂 Besides, Alyssa would look pretty strange with a mustache on her face!


9 Joan October 1, 2012 at 9:22 am

I still can’t sleep! Now I’m thinking about your “13 Ways To Improve Your Body Image” that you wrote about – and I’m thinking about number 13 in particularly, “Participate in sex often.” Maybe that’s the reason I can’t sleep! LOL


10 Joan October 1, 2012 at 9:25 am

Redhead Riter, you are going to have to stop writing these provocative posts that keep me up all night! 🙂


11 Sherry Riter October 1, 2012 at 11:26 pm

It is impossible for me to take the “provocative” out of the posts. LOL


12 Sherry Riter October 1, 2012 at 11:26 pm

LOL Yes, Alyssa would look hilarious with a thick mustache like her dad! LOL


13 Sherry Riter October 1, 2012 at 11:25 pm

People REALLY thought he looked like Tom Selleck!!! LOL


14 Sherry Riter October 1, 2012 at 11:25 pm

LOL I’m glad you read all the links! I guess you know me even better now! LOL

You mean that you don’t believe that I once looked like Chewbacca? *gasp*

Thank you, Joan. You are very kind.


15 max October 2, 2012 at 1:05 am

I really don’t know who told you that you are ugly, omg you look awesome . love from India


16 Sherry Riter October 2, 2012 at 7:00 am

Thank you Max! You’re very sweet.


17 Ric Fox October 2, 2012 at 1:13 am

Christina Hendricks; tall, knockout body, redheaded, long legged, ivory skinned, unable to tan, voted Esquire’s most desirable woman in 2011. Unbelievably hot looking. Gorgeous woman, star of AMC’s MadMen.
Not a writer.
Not as creative.

Doesn’t have as pretty color of eyes as grey green.
I’m with your mom.


18 Sherry Riter October 2, 2012 at 7:04 am

Thank you Ric! I’m going to look up a pic of Christina Hendricks now then I will come back and finish my comment….

She’s as pale as I am! LOL Thank you very much for your sweet comment and all your Twitter tweets. You are very kind.


19 Raquel@2dayswoman October 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm

What a great post! Thoroughly enjoyed reading this – thanks!! You are absolutely gorgeous and awesome!
Love the tips you’ve given to improve your body image. I think sooooo many women (and girls) are suffering from negative body image, I wish that could be different…
Visiting over from Katherine’s Favorite blog hop and so glad I found you 😉
Have a fabulous day!!


20 Sherry Riter October 4, 2012 at 8:36 pm

I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks for stopping by! It is very nice to meet you and I will keep my eye out for you. 😉


21 Mitch Mitchell October 4, 2012 at 9:28 pm

What a wonderful post. Even though circumstances are somewhat different, I’ve always felt the same. Kids used to tease me first because of my clothes (always immaculate and pressed, with my hair greased and brushed; Mom wasn’t sending her only child out not looking “pretty”), then grief over my glasses, then people saying I looked chubby. Even when I was playing sports all the time, I was the chubby guy, which made them underestimate me, then get mad when I beat them.

At a certain point I’d like to say I stopped caring what people had to say, and I did marry a woman whose looks make me look better, but the truth is that now in my early 50’s I can’t look at myself in the mirror unless I have to, such as when getting an eyelash out of my eye, and then only at my eye. What a strange way to live, but I can deal with it because there are so many other things I feel I excel at.

Great stuff; made me think.


22 Sherry Riter October 4, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Thank you, Mitch. Your body has served you well to this point and has gotten you into your early 50’s. So day in and day out, your heart, lungs and every other organ of your body has functioned. No one else has a body like yours and no one can ever have your body either. You can love your body whether it is 100 pounds or 500 pounds because it is your body! What everyone else thinks really isn’t important. After all, if they are lucky enough, eventually they are going to have saggy, baggy wrinkles just like everyone else. 😉 I appreciate your comment. 😀


23 Israel García October 6, 2012 at 4:58 am

Wow! as you may have hooked me this blog has nothing to do with my industry! is great, congratulations and I love to come back for, so if I want to know the formula.

I’m sorry for the English.


En español.
Guau!! como es posible que este blog me haya enganchado, no tiene nada que ver con mi sector !!! es genial , te felicito y volvere por que me encanta, eso si quiero que me digas la fórmula.

Siento mucho por este ingles.



24 Sherry Riter October 6, 2012 at 9:36 am

Thank you! I’m happy you are hooked! 😉


25 Mary@Back to the Basics! October 6, 2012 at 7:04 am

Outstanding post! It’s tough to be positive about who you are when the media is in your face about what we should look like/dress like/talk like. Health is more important than beauty and a positive attitude is a healthy attitude!


26 Sherry Riter October 6, 2012 at 9:35 am

Thank you! I really believe that if the media would present beauty in a different way, we would all find it easier to have a more positive attitude about our bodies.


27 katherine October 7, 2012 at 8:12 am

Self acceptance, it’s critical. You, my beautiful friend, share important points that we should all address. I fall victim to my own self loathing on occasion (shhh don’t tell). I have an internal struggle with aging (I will be 52 next month) I miss my tiny waist and healthy body. But I am happy to say this is fleeting. I spend more days in gratitude for each new day then longing for days gone by when I had a 27 inch waist. Another inspiring post. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things hop. Sorry I’m a bit slow getting here xo


28 Sherry Riter October 7, 2012 at 11:09 am

Thank you, Katherine, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Aging is not an easy process – mentally, physically or emotionally. We are all right there with you, so at least you are not alone. 😀 Oh, your secret is safe with me, well, kinda. LOL


29 Brandie January 13, 2013 at 10:41 pm

This is a struggle for me too. And I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters that I tell each day just how beautiful they are. I hope and pray I set a good example of self love so they can love themselves too!


30 Sherry Riter January 14, 2013 at 12:47 am

Yes! Brandie, you ARE beautiful and your avatar picture is so cheery, it always makes me smile. {{{hugsss}}}


31 Luis Cabrera January 19, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Hoorah for point 13 (Having sex) ho, ho, ho… just jocking… I really like this post.
Even if I think I look ok, I know I could improve my body image a lot.
Thanks Sherry. Luis Cabrera from Mexico.


32 Sherry Riter January 19, 2016 at 8:04 pm

LOL Sex probably should have been first Luis! 🙂


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