Okay, its time for some #realtalk.
Do you look in the mirror and constantly criticise what you see?
Do you find your constantly comparing yourself to models and fitness influencers you see on the cover of magazines and social media, and feeling inadequate as a result?
Do you feel like you live in a world where positive body image just doesn’t exist any more?
Body positivity is something that is a huge topic of discussion at the moment, and so it should be. We as women (and men) should be able to LOVE our bodies unconditionally; not be made to feel ashamed or inadequate because of unrealistic images that are portrayed in the media or on social media. We should be proud of our bodies, we should love them and we should respect them for the amazing things they are! When you really stop to think about it, it’s absolutely astounding what our bodies are truly capable of. And we definitely should not be afraid or embarrassed to LOVE our body!
However, with all that being said, I know a lot of women are guilty of hating their bodies, wanting to change it in some way and just feeling ashamed because they don’t look like the girls on the cover of fitness magazines. And this is something I’ve struggled with for a few years, but am slowly working on building up my own positive body image and working on self-love. I definitely still have days where I’m super hard & critical on myself; but that is something I’m working on & is exactly why I was inspired to write this blog.
Going from years of disordered eating and over exercising, to now focusing on the 80:20 approach and striving for balance has its struggles.
I’m still coming to terms with the extra weight I’ve had to gain to help heal the damage I’ve done to my body. I’m still learning to accept I’m not always going to be the leanest person in the room and still working on not allowing my weight or size define me.
In committing to lead a more balanced, healthier life, I’ve had to practice body positivity at every stage of this journey. And, I’m not going to lie – its bloody hard. It’s hard to look in the mirror and love what you see everyday. I’m not at all saying there is anything wrong with my body now, but change is hard; gaining weight to get back to a healthy weight is hard; battling body dysmorphia is hard; and learning to love yourself again after years of believing you were never good enough or never looked good enough is hard.
However, practicing body positivity towards myself is something I’ve 110% committed to and I finally feel like I’ve started to reap the benefits.
I can happily say, I’ve never felt more at peace with my body as a result. I’m finally learning to love and accept myself as I am now. That’s not to say I don’t have those days where I look in the mirror and criticise every ‘flaw’ & nit-pick the tiniest of details. But I try to focus on being thankful; thankful for my capable, healthy, strong body and embracing it for everything it allows me to do.
So what was my turning point? And how can you begin to practice more body positivity towards yourself?
I realised, skinny does not equal happiness! Seriously, its amazing the change of mindset that occurs when you realise this. Just because you get to certain weight or size, doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to be happy or love your body. True happiness and contentment comes from within, not from the number on your clothing or scale.
And you have to realise, everyone is unique! No two people are the same, so don’t get caught up comparing yourself to others. Beauty looks different on everyone. And most of the time the people you are comparing yourself to are on extremely unsustainable diets, ridiculous exercise regimes, and are 99.99% not happy nor completely healthy.
Another major thing that has helped me in my journey to body positivity, is learning to love my body at EVERY stage of the journey. We need to accept, life is constantly changing and so are our bodies. We’re not going to always look like our 18 year old self. So embrace your body for what it is today! The key to this is practicing mindfulness and meditation; this helps you learn to live in the present moment, accept yourself as you are now and not get caught up on the past. Learn to embrace and love the body you have now and know you can be a ‘work in progress’ and still love yourself as you are. If your not where you currently want to be in terms of body goals and composition, accept that, work towards your goals but love yourself in the process.
A good body positivity practice is to look in the mirror each morning, and rather than criticising yourself, pay yourself a complement. Don’t leave the mirror without saying something you LOVE about yourself! It might be your strong legs that allow you to squat a personal best that day; or it might be your healthy hair; or your glowing skin. Or if this doesn’t work for you, try putting sticky notes on your mirror with things like “I love my strong legs” and “I am beautiful” and revisit them everyday. Practice being kinder to yourself and you will find your mindset about your body slowly will begin to positively shift.
So with all that being said, lets make a commitment to work towards practicing more body positivity in our daily lives, towards yourself and towards others. And remember – love yourself at every stage of your journey; embrace that you may be a work in progress and accept that is okay; and be grateful for the amazing, capable body you were blessed with. Only when we start to work with our bodies, and not against them, will we find happiness and acceptance.
Be sure to join me over on Instagram (@eb.fiitness) for daily motivation, recipes and fitness tips! xxx