Why being body positive means so much to me
For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be thinner. I remember being as young as 6 or 7 and wishing to be skinny while blowing my birthday candles out (this isn’t a sob story… this is a genuine memory). Through school when everyone got changed for PE in front of each other I hid in the toilet cubicles. The thought of being seen on holiday without a big t-shirt on was humorous to me and scrolling down the tag ‘thinspiration’ on tumblr was a daily routine.
I’ve never been bullied, nor was I ever told by my family or a doctor that I needed to lose weight. The hate for my body stemmed entirely from, well, myself. At least that’s what I thought until very recently. I always thought that I hated my body because I wasn’t 2 stone lighter. Then I lost 2 stone. I always thought that I hated my body because I wasn’t a size 10. Now I am a size 10. I thought I hated my body because I didn’t work out. Now I work out. Not one of those factors changed anything. And that’s when I realised that I wasn’t going to overcome that negative voice in my brain by changing anything about myself physically, instead, I was going to have to work really bloody hard on changing my mindset; the hardest thing to change.
This past year I’ve become super passionate about body positivity. The mere thought of being positive about a body that wasn’t stick thin was something I thought was physically impossible. I’m nowhere near 100% comfortable with my body and I still have days where I feel painfully self-conscious, however, I am so proud of how far I’ve come with the way I view myself and my body image and if I can do it anyone can!
❤️ Here are 5 small steps that are aiding me in working towards body-positivity ❤️
1. Develop a healthy relationship with food
When I was younger I’d try and limit my calories to 1,000kcal a day (which would always lead to a binge by day 3) and then I’d wonder why I wasn’t losing weight. I then did Slimming World for a while which I know can be great for a lot of people, but when you’re pretty much starving yourself for a full day before weigh day because you can’t face being told you’ve gained and then going home and crying in bed when you gain anyway, you know it ain’t right for you. Now, 2 years later, I have a much better relationship with food and I’m working on it more and more every day. While I do track my calories/carbs, etc, I don’t obsess over them anymore. I’m a 22-year-old girl and if I fancy a chocolate biscuit I have one – you should never punish yourself for something you eat and in order to stop yourself from doing this, you need to let go of the idea that you must be and eat perfectly at all times. (After all, chocolate biscuits are there to be eaten… right?)
2. Stop weighing yourself
I urge anyone reading this who struggles with anxiety surrounding their weight to ditch the scales immediately and see the difference it makes. I used to weigh myself at least once a day, often twice, even three times and it brought me constant misery and disappointment. My mood was entirely dependent on the number on the scales and I felt completely suffocated by the constant anxiety of whether or not I had lost a pound. Since ditching the scales I’ve felt so much more inspired to stay on track with my health and fitness, I no longer train to see the number on the scales go down, but instead, I train to get fit and healthy and it’s sooooo much more rewarding.
3. Don’t feel guilty about ridding yourself of anything that brings you negativity
By this, it could be a friendship that makes you feel like crap, it could be deleting your calorie counting app, or it could even be unfollowing certain people off social media. Anything that works as a catalyst in making you feel rubbish about yourself… get rid. And instead, surround yourself with positive vibes, people that lift you up and make you feel good about yourself, people that let you know how great you are and who inspire you to be a better person.
4. Stop comparing yourself to others
In the age of social media how on earth could we not? How bloody easy is it to scroll down the dreaded Instagram Explore page and compare yourself to every single amazing Insta model featured? I’m sure we’re all guilty of the old “how will he ever fancy me when there are people out there that look like THIS”. But it’s so important to remember that social media is an edited, filtered, staged, tiny portion of someone’s life. Let’s be honest, none of us look as fab as we do on our FB profile pics day to day (at least I don’t anyway!) social media is us at our best angles, in our best lighting, often with about a 15% Valencia filter chucked on the top too. Focus on yourself and embrace your imperfections (the people you’re comparing yourself to will have imperfections too!) after all they’re what makes you, you.
5. Look out for yourself
Most importantly of all, care for yourself. If there’s a voice in your head telling yourself every single day that you’re fat, or ugly, or worthless, you’re going to believe it. If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself. Instead, take some time out to look in the mirror and point out the things you like about yourself instead of focusing straight in on the things you dislike. There are so many different body shapes out there and we can’t allow the media to embed the idea in our brains that only one body size is the right body size. It’s 2018 and there’s no better time than now to start accepting yourself for the way you are and allowing yourself to love your body ❤️
Thanks for reading,