So, I am not gonna sit here and provide the inspirational body confidence, love yourself wisdom I wish I could impart upon you all, because in all honesty, I am still on that journey myself..
I have a selection of books, I am going to begin to read my way through, all written by people I am truly inspired by with their books aiming to help you embrace your body, love your self, gain self worth, become more positive, conscious and mindful. Plus tune out to the media bombardment of the “picture perfect” body type.
This is such a current and difficult topic. I can only talk of my thoughts and feelings, as me and as a woman. From a young age I was aware of wanting to look a certain way and feeling that was the desired image, and anything else wasn’t ok. This was partly down to my peers, magazines and hearing conversations with adult women, such as my older sisters or my mum. It would be very hard to become blinkered to what is going on and being said around you.
Even if everyone is telling you that you are beautiful and your body is great. When you think that of someone else, and you hear them say, god I need to loose some weight, I’m ugly etc etc. You’d have to be pretty head strong to then not consider the same thoughts about your self.
I grew up watching modelling shows, reading trash mags and just constantly hearing women being compared to other women and comparing themselves. We all did it, do it and will struggle to not continue to do it.
Even going away from thinking about bodies, as women, particularly when you are younger, you reflect others onto yourself, even from the way you dress. I know, looking back through old photos or old clothes (now gone to charity shops) that my wardrobe throughout the years very much reflected the friends I had or women I aspired to. So you can see how easily this translates into what we think about how we look and feel about our bodies.
I am only now beginning to embrace that this is my body, I cannot compare it or aspire to look like some else because I am me, this is my shape, my skin, my muscle, my fat and it will always be different from someone else’s, so I am silly to try and aim to achieve someone else’s body. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things I want to change and work towards with my body, I’d love more toned arms and a firmer bum and stronger abs. But that isn’t so I can look like someone in a magazine, that is because that is what I like for myself, no one else.
I have found strength in knowing that my body is strong, it is healthy, it is mine. I will continue to eat healthily to nourish my body, and to remain a healthy weight. I will continue to exercise because I know it is good for me, it makes me feel good and I like it when my body feels strong and fit. I am no longer doing all of this so that I can look a certain way because that is what I feel is the desired look and anything else is not ok, I am doing it because I want to look after my body so that it can look after me.
I am getting there with liking what I see in the mirror, and it isn’t because my body is changing to become what I want to see, it is because my mind is changing to begin to embrace that what I see is amazing, because it is me.
There is so much around now, everywhere you look with the buzz words, healthy body image, body confidence, real women, etc etc etc. Which I do think is amazing, because it is helping a lot of women, seeing women of all shapes and sizes embracing their bodies is a truly amazing and powerful image.
For me though, I think sometimes there is a fine line, between embracing your body for what is it, be it skinny, large, muscular, lean etc, and being healthy. For years, we have been surrounded by tiny skinny models, and have felt this is the way we should all look, which has caused an untold number of eating disorders and health risks for many people, particularly some of the models.
We are now surrounded, by what is classed as “average sized” women, and “plus sized” women (hate all the labels), I think it is amazing that we now have a diversity all around us, of women being confident in their shape and size. This is wonderful, truly.
But, I feel sometimes this can also become misconstrued and create a false image of health, as some of these larger women are under equal pressure to remain a certain size, or gain weight to be classed in a certain category. This can cause health problems of the other end of the scale, being overweight, which given the current issue with obesity around the world, this is becoming just as much of a mainstream health risk that no one should hope to have. Or those who have to exercise all day long to have no body fat and muscles of a body builder, causing adrenal fatigue, joint problems and excess cortisol for those being put under pressure to be super fit and have ripped bodies.
The message of embracing your body is a good one, of loving yourself, of being body confident. I am all for it! Preach sisters. But I also think the media needs to be careful in that what is represented is healthy, so if someone is eating well, keeping active and looking after their bodies and they are super skinny, muscular, plump, lean, slim, large or “average” (grr) then bloody amazing and power to them. But if these women are starving themselves, working out every hour of the day, eating to much or eating bad food that isn’t nourishing their bodies, then that is something we all need to think about.
Being healthy is what I think needs to be portrayed out there, and healthy comes in all shapes and sizes. Be body confident knowing that you are looking after your body and it is looking after you.