Tuesday 24 July 2018

How I Work On My Body Confidence

I've been thinking about writing a post like this for a while, but now I think it's more relevant than ever now it's hit peak summertime and Instagram is constantly awash with bikini pictures and perfectly sculpted bodies on the beach.

And with no way of avoiding Love Island, that's giving us a whole hour a night of unrealistic body standards with their cast of beautiful and arguably undiverse cast not seeming to have anyone there over a size 8.

Body confidence is a real issue for women with today's standards, and even though I'm a size 10 I'm a curvy 10. I have boobs as well as bum and hips and I always will do.

Even though I'm not conventionally 'big' and fit into conventional beauty standards, even then I've not always been happy with the way I look. Like most girls and women out there I've tried fad diets and considered if I ever would change anything about myself with surgery.

At 24 I'm still not 100% happy with my body but I'm getting there. Luckily nowadays there is more of a discussion about this expectation on women and how these ideas are developing younger and younger due to social media.

I think it's important to remember body positivity is something that needs to be constantly worked at and kept up, and it is hard to realign the way you think about yourself...and without sounding too 'airy fairy' it really is important to love yourself.

There will always be that barrage of beauty standards that only a small percentage fits that you are constantly told you're not close enough to. Sadly, that's not going to stop anytime soon - even if the parameters of beauty are widening pressures are still going to be there on having to look a certain way.

So I thought I'd put together some pointers on how I worked on my body image and helped improve my confidence in myself as well as how other people I know have done the same. Of course these aren't a quick fix or a one size fits all problem solver - but they could be an important start! 

Know Your Body

This one really is the most important. It might sound and feel a bit odd to do, but that's why it's so important - because it's something people tend not to do.

After you shower just stand in the mirror and look at yourself, really look at your body so you know what it looks like. And no, it's not like the images in magazines but it's still beautiful. Try and find three things you love and focus on that and not the negatives you might usually get hung up on.

image credit
This also means to listen to your body, if you're tired or your hungry then have a sleep or have some food - never deprive yourself of anything. 

Running that extra mile or leaving out those extra calories won't help your mental health. If your body is telling you that it's not right, then listen. Because one thing you can't forget it how body confidence is so inherently linked to mental health and well-being.

Ditch The Scales

This is a hard one, because I was a victim of this in a big way. I used to weigh myself everyday and stress over gaining the tiniest bit of weight, and it became a bit obsessive.

Since I've stopped doing it, I've been happier with myself, because I know the choices I make are still healthy. I do a lot of home cooking with fresh ingredients and I get out and exercise fairly regularly - and that should be what really matters.

You end up worrying about what you're doing 24/7 instead of enjoying a nice meal with friends or that glass of something after a stressful day. Weight fluctuation is normal, checking the scales daily to micromanage your weight isn't healthy for your mind or your idea of your body.

Your health is important, your weight isn't.

Treat Yourself

That means do what makes you feel good in your own skin. As I said before, body positivity is so closely linked to mental health and happiness. Look after your mind and your body because it's all linked and that's really the biggest key to a better body image.

So that means if you fancy pizza get it - don't worry about the calories just enjoy the carby goodness.

Get yourself that dress that is a little expensive but you look really good in, because so what? You have to spare that extra bottle of prosecco at the weekend...but it's worth it. Because you look good and if you feel good in what you wear then you'll obviously feel happier about the body underneath.

Have A Break On Social Media

If you've tried all the above and you're still finding it hard to find anything positive, then try to identify where the negativity is coming from and try to remove it.

With a lot of girls, it tends to be instagram and social media. So just give it a break, take up reading or watch a box set to fill the time you use on social media and see if that helps.

Talk To Someone

If you feel it's really affecting you, remember to reach out to someone and talk about it. It's surprising how many other people feel the same way, and it helps to share experiences and realise you're not alone.

Even consider counselling if you're not comfortable talking to friends and family. Counselling is seen as a last resort for someone who is having extreme issues and needs help, but I don't think that should be the case.

It can be a way to positively change the way you think and help to change how you perceive yourself and the world, and that doesn't have to be done as a last resort at all.

Body confidence is hard to achieve and it's something that needs constant work. There's never going to be a quick fix, but there's always a place to start, because everyone deserves to love themselves and the body they're in.

(note: all these amazing drawings are not my own!)
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