I am writing this for everyone, including myself. I have spent so many years not liking bits of my body and being that voice within that berates judges and compares. The thing is no matter how one looks; most people can spend a good amount of time, picking their shape and size to bits inch by inch. When I was a model surrounded by some of the most beautiful girls in the world, I remember hearing the same harsh self-criticism even with their seemingly perfect physiques. I have come to realise that it is not until we accept ourselves no matter what we look like, that I believe changes can start to happen. I have picked on myself physically (and mentally) so much in the past and the result usually is me going to the shops to eat too much of something. Can you relate?
I spend a minute eating it and then the rest of the weekend/week beating myself up for doing so and feeling crappy about my body. And so the cycle continues as the beating-up-of-the-self moves me to again ’emotionally eat’ for that fleeting moment of feeling better. This judging-guilt-eat cycle is a challenging one to get out of, but it is possible. When I was younger I had quite a big struggle with food for a spell but I did get better from it. I still do eat on emotions at times (I think most people do!) but being conscious of this habit does mean that I do it a whole lot less. Three years ago, I fell in love with weights, and that is when I started to like myself much more. I love having the routine of working out, meeting my fitness friends and feeling empowered as I lift and train. One of my passions (baking) helps me to relax and unwind and baking for family and friends is for sure like a kind of relaxing therapy also.
But at times, I can still be hard on myself. My internal dialogue is usually “my feet are too big, my calves are too small, my stomach gets so bloated on some days, I wish I had some more hips” and on and on and so forth.
And then also there is the muscle shaming which comes on social media too. Fat shaming, thin shaming and muscle shaming are not OK. It would be so nice for people to have their judgements and opinions but keep them to themselves and not bother others with them.
I am no expert on this whole topic and only speak from the glistening fountain of my experience. I hear from so many women, of ALL shapes and sizes who struggle with body image and who want to feel more empowered in their bodies. These women may be people who on the outside have enviable figures but still deep within there is that gnawing feeling that they are not perfect enough or good enough. I am trying each day to put the below into practice, but the following steps have helped me towards the first steps of learning to accept my body. It is something I work on daily hourly and sometimes minute by minute if I am having a bad day. This picture of me is in the gym last week in NYC. It took me a moment to decide whether or not to put this up (and I posted it on IG too), as I have had hurtful comments about being too muscly on social media which I try and rise above… people often don’t think before they say something. And it took me about 50 tries to get it to the picture that I was happy with! And I had to breath in a little bit too 🙂
Let’s lift each other up today, love our bodies and treat them with the loving kindness they deserve!
My top 10 ways to accepting your body.
- Be grateful for the body you have. It is an excellent piece of kit which gets you through each day
- Be conscious of your self-talk and change any harsh words you may be saying. Try talking to yourself the way you would a friend who was struggling with her body
- Try not to cut out large groups of food. Eat lots of vegetables and some fresh fruit, lean proteins, nuts, etc. Also watch portion size and do treat yourselves to small portions of what you enjoy eating once or twice a week.
- Have a good body buddy who you can talk too when you are feeling less that positive about the way you look. Surround yourself with positive people who are on the same journey of self-acceptance that you are.
- Find an exercise that you love which can take some time. Just like the right partner or place to live, finding something which suits us can take a moment. Try lots of different types of exercise and give them a chance and I always say to find a way of exercise which you kind of like and then stick to it for six months. Do it 3-4 times a week and commit to it. It may not be fun all of the time, and you may not feel like going to the classes/gym, etc. every time but keep going and see how you feel about it after six months. Something with some weight resistance (body weight or otherwise), along with some cardio work well for me.
- Put some inspiring post it notes around the house. Quotes which motivate and encourage you to keep going with the exercise and healthy way of eating.
- Honour your body type. My body type is quite athletic. I have always wanted to be curvy, but no matter what I do that is not going to happen. So I decided to accept my body shape and make it the best that it can be and honour my sporty shape.
- In my path to accepting my body, I appreciate that there are some parts of my body that I am going to like more than others.. and that is okay!
- Unfollow (with love) any social media accounts which trigger you. Those accounts which may make you feel less than good. (Even though the account may not be doing it on purpose). But seeing something on your feed every day which spirals you in to insecurity it not healthy. This one has worked really great for me and I only follow people that entertain or inspire me on my social media now! And also knowing that so much of what we see is so often edited to within in a very inch of its former self, and so there are a lot more unrealistic body images in front of us to see than ever before. I love the quote “Compare and Dispair”… and actively try not to compare myself to others.
- Finding some form of ‘movement’ which looks after the soul like yoga or meditation can be so beneficial to self-acceptance. Meditation has certainly helped me lessen that judge-guilt-eat cycle a lot.
If you find yourself struggling still, talking to someone who can help is a good idea. I have some stellar friends who have helped me through many times and have found some good counsellors that have encouraged and helped me to locate the strength inside of me towards increased self-acceptance. If other positive things on this list and on the internet don’t work, I could not recommend this path highly enough!
If you can think of any other ways below. Do Comment below! Big love Lorraine xxx