Warning: Talks of body image, diets and body negativity.
We are often told that we should love the body that we are in, and how strong is the new skinny. Do we actually follow or believe this advice or do we still focus on the areas of our bodies we want to change?
The following 5 steps might help you become more accepting and kinder to yourself:
- Tune into who you follow on TikTok, Instagram or Snapchat.
These websites have more of an impact on how you feel about your body than you might think. After you look at these newsfeeds, ask yourself, “do I feel better or worse about myself”. If you are left feeling like you don’t measure up, or that you need to change things, then maybe you need to unfollow these pages and look for those that make you feel good and can motivate you to be the best you can be, which is pretty darn unreal.
Remember also you only see the highlights of celebrities’ lives and not their day-to-day reality. For instance when you take a selfie how often do you switch angles or apply a sneaky filter to be at your best? Celebrities do this too. They very rarely show their just up out of bed, with a spot and feeling crap pictures. So don’t compare their highlights to your day-to-day life.
2. Focus on things that make you feel better.
We can often be bombarded by people telling us what is healthy and unhealthy and it can get extremely confusing. How about starting by focusing on adding things to your day-to-day life that makes you feel better? For instance, add in more water or a walk with a friend and a chat or even aim to try something new like a Kangoo or Spinning Class. Try just one of these this week.
Don’t aim to cut out all foods you love and please don’t do exercise that you hate.
If you hate trying to drink that healthy green smoothie and the thought of a run brings you out in a cold sweat. Don’t do them.
Forcing yourself to do these above things will make you see healthy eating and exercise as a chore or something to dread. It needs to be enjoyable. If it is enjoyable you are more likely to keep doing it.
Remember Find what YOU love to do and do More of that.
3. Listen to things you say to yourself.
Ask yourself if you would say those things to a friend. Try to catch yourself when you’re being a mean girl to yourself. Remind yourself that you are doing your best. This can take time, but only by listening to your inner mean girl can you start to dial down the volume of this in your own head. It takes practice to stop being critical of yourself, but being more aware of your thoughts is a good first step.
4. Stop the comparison head games that we all so often play.
This can be hard to do in reality as often our natural reaction is to compare ourselves to others. In terms of body shape, everyone is so different and your goal might be better served in striving to feel the best and healthiest you can be in the body you have. For instance, if I was to compare myself to a supermodel who is 5ft 9 inches tall, I would definitely fall short. I am 5ft nothing and will never have the legs of a supermodel. So can I change this? Nope, but what I can do is lift weights and exercise and become strong and feel healthier in the body I have.
This takes time and practice. Often it is about catching yourself when you compare yourself to others and say simply “they are not me and I am not them”.
5. Start by setting yourself a goal.
An activity-based target such as a couch to 5 k, or a cycle race. Something that encourages you to become more active. This moves the attention to what your body can achieve and less about how it looks. Start zoning into how strong, fast or simply happy you can feel by moving your body more. Try out different types of movement until you find your thing. Eating well and moving our bodies should feel good and if it doesn’t you need to look at why. Are you being too strict in cutting out all your favourite foods and are you doing exercise you really hate? If so stop.
Work out and eat well because you love your body not to change it.
Feeling better about the body you’re in takes time and practice but it can be done. Try these small steps and they may help you start to feel a little better.
Body image is something that most of us struggle with, yet few of us decide to seek help. If you are struggling with any of these issues, look below for a list of supports, or ask someone you trust for help.
Remember, the most amazing, compassionate, successful and inspiring people we know are those who faced challenges, and managed to overcome them.
Hang in there, it will pass x
SPUN OUT: This is a one-stop shop for all mental health issues. The articles are very matter-of-fact, helpful and all bases are covered.
SAMARITANS: This helpline is open 24 hours a day and completely confidential. Call 116 123.
CHILDLINE: Helpline and online support, offering advice and support to young people under 18.
YOURMENTALHEALTH: Lots of information about Mental Health in Ireland.
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