For all of my adult life I have struggled with zero body positivity.
Even when I lost a lot of weight and was a size 12/14, I still struggled.
And it’s a struggle that impacts my life on a daily basis. Having low self esteem holds me back, stops me from putting myself out there, cripples me with anxiety in social situations. I hate sharing photos of myself and would never dream of filming myself on insta stories.
I hate going to bars or clubs because I feel like everyone is laughing at me. I make my husband look away when I get in and out of a swimming pool. He is the person that knows more than anyone how I feel about myself. He spends so much time trying to build me up and always tells me he wishes I could see myself through his eyes. I’m always terrified that one day he will wake up and see me through my eyes.
I want to lose weight, and I am working on it. But for me body positivity is much more of a mental thing than a physical thing. And that needs a lot of work.
Body positivity and me…
I think the body positivity movement is an incredible thing. I fully support the idea that all shapes and sizes should be represented in the media. Whatever your size, I fully support that body shaming should not happen. And I fully support that we are worth so much more than our dress size.
However as much as I think the body positivity movement is great, my reaction to it isn’t always positive. I would see people talking about body confidence and think, ‘you look way better than me, of course you have body confidence, I’d have body confidence if I looked like you.’ But that reaction isn’t fair, because everyone has body hang ups. Everyone has grown up and is surrounded by the same media promoting the ideal standard of beauty.
Waiting for change…
For a long time I just thought that one day body confidence would come to me and I would have that positivity. Perhaps it was an age thing. One day I would wake up and feel happy in my own skin.
I feel somewhat stupid for thinking that now, because now I know it takes a lot of work to change your mindset. And these things definitely don’t happen overnight.
Trying to be brave…
I feel uncomfortable writing this post, it’s scary putting myself out there. There’s a lot that I’m not saying. Things that I don ‘t feel brave enough to say yet. For want of a less cringey word, I am at the start of my body positivity ‘journey’. I do also want to lose weight which is at odds with the body positivity movement. But I have been doing lots of things to help me mentally which have started to have an effect on my mindset.
I hope by sharing some of the changes I am making in order to be happy with myself, it might help someone else who struggles with confidence.
I’m being kind to myself…
It all starts with the way you talk to yourself. Your inner voice and biggest critic. The things we say to ourselves about our bodies, we wouldn’t dream of saying to anyone else.
I have silenced my inner voice. I practice what I preach to my kids about being kind and “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” Every time I find myself thinking something negative about my body I stop and try and turn it into a positive. Even if I have to dig really deep to find that positive. I’m grateful that my legs walked the kids to school this morning. My tummy is amazing because that’s where my babies grew.
I’ve stopped comparing myself…
At least I am trying really hard not to. I think this is something that I used to do all the time and it’s a difficult mindset to break. But actually the person I’m comparing myself to has their own hangups and insecurities. I don’t know what’s going on in somebody else’s head what battles they’re fighting.
By comparing myself to them, I am judging them on their looks rather than who they are, and even though they always come out on top in the comparisons it is still wrong.
I ditched the scales…
Yes I want to lose weight, but instead of focusing on a diet I am instead focusing on the kindness mindset. Being kinder to my body with the choices I make. So whilst on the whole it’s kinder to my body to make healthier food choices, it’s also kinder on my mental health to just eat the chocolate when PMT hits!
I’ve stopped weighing myself and placing all my self-worth on the number that the scales say each week. Whether that number had gone up or down or stayed the same was having a major impact on my mental well-being.
I don’t need the scales to tell me if I’ve lost weight or make me feel good about myself.
I stopped viewing exercise as punishment…
I’ve never been the sporty type. Working out was something I really had to force myself to do. I hated it. But that’s not surprising being that I used to view it as punishment. Punishment for eating that bit of cake. Punishment for only losing a pound. And no one really enjoys punishment!
I now view exercise as a positive thing. I am grateful that I can move my body and I celebrate this by moving it as fast as I can! It would be a stretch to say I love exercise, or that I enjoy it. But I am changing my mind set and I am a work in progress.
I surround myself with positivity…
It can be really hard to feel body positive when the media portrays one type of body image as the ideal. But we can be in control of our news feed. We can choose to follow people that inspire us and make us feel good about ourselves. Likewise we can unfollow people that have a negative impact on us. We can avoid watching Love Island and instead watch programs like Naked Beach.
There are some amazing influencers out there who will never know the positive impact they have had on my life, and how they are helping me change my mindset and overcome things. I have included a list of these people at the end of this post and I highly recommend you follow them for some positive vibes.
I’ve looked into seeing a therapist and read books to help me…
If there is something physically wrong with us, we go to the GP. If we are struggling with something mentally a therapist can help us deal with it and gain a new perspective.
I’ve looked into therapy through BetterHelp and it is something I might do in the future if I need further help. They can help in so many ways from self esteem issues to changing behaviours.
I’ve also read some really helpful books which have challenged my mindset and given me a few light bulb moments! There are some recommendations at the end of this post.
I’ve made peace with my past demons…
This one has been really tough, and emotional. But I knew I had to let go of some of the things that have happened in my life, things people have said to me, and the way it’s made me feel. All of the experiences that took away my confidence.
I had to revisit some dark places, but I acknowledged that they had happened. I accepted how they made me feel. But I won’t allow those experiences to define me or make me feel bad anymore. Holding onto those feelings was only holding me back.
I’m looking to the people that love me…
I used to put so much value in what strangers thought of me. The actions of people that don’t know me have made me push away those that do.
But now I only value the opinion of the people that love me unconditionally. The ones that accept me for who I am. When you are having a bad day and feeling crap about yourself, you need people that are going to build you up, not tear you down.
The journey continues…
I have a long way to go before I can say that I am body positive. I’m not ready to dance around in my underwear just yet. But I am learning to be kind to myself and not punish myself. I need to fix my head before I can accept my body.
For so long there has been a huge wall between the version of me that I am, and the version of me that I want to be, happy and confident in myself. But I now feel that I can break down that wall. It’s more of a brick by brick approach rather than taking a sledgehammer to it, but it is coming down.
Positive influencers to follow…
- Brummy Mummy of 2
- Molly J Forbes
- Mum Muddling Though
- Island Living 365
- Pink Pear Bear
- What Katy Said
- Body Posi Panda
- Life With Baby Kicks
- Toby & Roo
- Sparkles & Stretchmarks
These are some fantastic books that have been helping me change my mindset. These are Amazon affiliate links, so if you purchase a book by clicking on the image I will earn a small percentage of the sale.
This post is sponsored by Better health