How to start being body positive in a body shaming world
This is my 3 week old daughter, Tabitha. And I think she’s imperfectly perfect.
You may wonder why I have a picture of her here on this body positive blog seeing as though she’s just a baby.
But as soon as I gave birth to a girl, I couldn’t help but look into her eyes and think about all the millions of women who feel rubbish about themselves when it comes to their bodies and I felt so much sadness.
When does it all start?
At what point do girls and women decide to go against themselves?
What age do they wake up and say from today I’m going to hate myself?
Why would we create a society that encourages such negativity and toxicity for girls?
How could we allow ourselves as women to fall victim to a culture that deems perfect the ideal, and anything less is wrong?
Then just as I started to think about body image and girls and my daughter and thought about putting this blog series together, I saw this on Facebook…
… and as you can imagine, it shocked me to the core!
Subliminal messages and body image issues are impacting girls younger and younger and only last week I read about the new thigh gap jewellery available for women ‘lucky enough’ to have one. Lucky?! For having a thigh gap? Jeez, this is all NUTS! So how do we stop this absurdity?
When Tabitha was less than a day old and I cuddled her in the middle of the night at hospital and I was overwhelmed with wanting 3 main things for her:
I want her to be healthy – and what I mean by this is that she has a body that functions properly and she is strong. That she has good energy and immunity and will live long. That’s it.
I want her to like herself – no matter what is going on around her and what size or shape she may be. It breaks my heart to think she could waste years of her life hating herself because she thinks she has to be better, smaller, perfect, different etc to be successful, be liked or fit in.
I want her to be confident – to become who she wants to become, whatever that is. I want her to know her values and passions and want her to live a life that fits in with these.
I don’t just want this for her, I want this for all women. If all women could live like this, can you imagine the power in the world?!?
I’m going to be writing more blogs around this topic over the coming months, but today just to help you get started, I’ve written up ten simple mindset switches on how to start being more body positive when it comes to eating and exercise. Because body image impacts so many areas of our lives AND our attitudes around the things we do.
Improving body image takes time and practice and itt doesn’t happen over night. But these quick tips should help you think a little differently. It’s time for a change ladies and it starts with you!
- Exercise because it makes you feel good rather than look good – this simple switch makes such a difference. Feeling good makes us, well, feel good! Take the pressure off and enjoy your fitness class, it’s not all about results!
- Aim to be fit because it makes you stronger not smaller – I see women struggle to get smaller, but when they put their focus on strength, they radiate an energy that is second to none. Being a strong size 14 (for many women) is far better than being a weak size 10.
- Strive to be fit for life, not just for a fortnight – if women got to grips that to really shine in life, we’d benefit most from finding exercise that we can do FOREVER, it would stop the yo-yo and guilt habits so many have!
- Eat for nourishment rather than punishment – focus on the great things you can eat, rather than the things that aren’t great for our bodies. Never feel guilty about eating so called ‘bad’ food groups. A little moderation is all you need – AND permission from yourself that it’s OK to eat these things from time to time!
- Exercise and eat well because of choice not as a chore – one of the most powerful mindset switches I ever made, as soon as I looked at it as a choice, I was so much more motivated! Repeat after me, choice NOT chore!
- Don’t wait until you’ve reached a certain size – to go shopping, buy a bikini, go on a date or live your life. I see this so often. Buy the size 16 top and embrace it. And remember that men would rather a woman who was confident in her own skin and glows than someone who hates herself!
- If you want to improve your body, try liking yourself and embracing your body as you go about changing it – we are all work in progress. See yourself on a body improvement journey that will take time and have highs and lows, twists and turns. Enjoy the journey because if you don’t it’s a very lonely and negative place. Or shock horror, accept your body as it is and exercise and eat well because it’s good for you, nothing else!
- Hating yourself more does not correlate with increased self-motivation – quite the opposite in fact. Maybe you’ve gained weight, maybe your body wasn’t what it was before you and children, maybe work has been the priority at the cost of your fitness. SO WHAT? Hating yourself is useless. Decide what you’d like to do health and fitness wise and set to it with an encouraging approach. You’ll find it refreshing I promise!
- Extremes are easy, strive for balance – and also focus on consistency instead of the quick fix. Women don’t need to be the size 8 version of themselves to be successful and have made it. In fact many women would be better focusing on a healthy, strong and balanced version of themselves instead of the extreme version!
- Chuck the scales in the bin – please, please, PLEASE focus on your energy, vitality, strength, how you feel and how your body functions. Liberate yourself from the negativity surrounded by the so called scales success we’ve been taught over the decades!
There is nothing wrong about wanting to become fitter, or do a bootcamp or improve the way look. There is nothing wrong with wanting to drop a dress size and it’s awesome to use a lock down (like one of my 28 day bootcamps!) to help you reset or kick start new habits or get short results. But it’s the way you go about them attitude wise.
Do these things positively. Don’t do these programs to ‘fix’ things. And don’t put all the focus on weight loss or getting into a pair of skinny jeans. Try putting your focus on how your body improves strength wise, how great you feel from exercising regularly again, getting up early, challenging yourself , having more ME time and how much better you sleep when you eat better and train smart.
Be healthy. Like yourself. Be confident.
And let me help you achieve this!
As you’ll all know I encourage better body image on the Sugar HIIT, Tummy ATTACK and Best Best body bootcamps
If you struggle with body image issues, come and do an online bootcamp or even print the top ten list above off and take it around with you. And as I said, more to follow on this topic in my up and coming blogs!
Don’t be a victim of the absurdity going on around us. Be a warrior against it.