These two pictures represent a huge journey. In the picture on the left, I weighed around 8 stone. I was ‘thin’, which in society is often seen as a synonym for ‘healthy’. The reality was very different. Dealing with depression and a chronic pain issue I had not yet sought help for, I would often lose my appetite and go for long periods without eating, and then when I did get hungry would just binge on junk food. I did no exercise, and spent my life criticising and hating the way I looked. I was often praised for being slim and petite, yet my self-confidence was at rock bottom. Yes, I was thin, but I was also unhappy, unhealthy and not treating my mind or body with the love and respect they deserved.
4 years later and 3 stone heavier, things have changed. This 11 stone body is the body of a person who eats nutritious food, and also of someone who enjoys treats whenever they want without feeling guilty. It is the body of someone who takes part in an exercise they love, and the body of someone who faces her issues head on, and who is now strong as hell, mentally and physically. There truly is no better feeling than coming to love, cherish and accept your body in all its uniqueness. My body used to be something to critique and hate. It is now my home, and one that I love to take care of. In learning to love my body the weirdest thing has happened – I feel as though it loves me back; whether it be when I’m out wearing my favourite outfit or when I manage to lift a heavier weight in the gym. My body feels so powerful, as if motivated by the love and care I now provide it with. I may be heavier, but I am healthier than ever.
Learning to love your body can be a long and very difficult journey, but it is one worth embarking on. For me, the biggest realisation was that body confidence is about loving your body as it is, rather than when you reach a certain goal. In the past, I’d done diets and tried different exercises, and had always failed. Looking back, it’s so obvious that it was because I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. You can try every diet in the world but without working on the mental side of things, your confidence is not likely to get any better as a result. It starts with simply being kind and saying nice things about yourself, even if you don’t believe them at the start. I always use this as an example but in the past, I hated the fact that I have broad shoulders, whereas now I like them as they make me look stronger. Go about things with different intentions. Eat healthily because you want to nourish your body, treat yourself because it makes you happy, and exercise because it makes you feel strong and resilient. You is the important word here – make it your priority. Love yourself and treat yourself kindly in order to become the best version of you, rather than dieting or doing gruelling workouts in order to fit in with societies ‘ideals’ or to look like somebody else. The moment your focus becomes directed at enhancing what makes you a beautiful and unique individual, will be the moment things start to change.
I know this all sounds a bit cheesy, but coming to love my body has been one of the best things I’ve done in my life so far; which is why I wanted to dedicate a month to the subject. I think July is perfect, after all, Summer is the season we naturally tend to think/stress about our bodies the most. Of all the topics I write about, this is probably the one I’m most passionate about, simply because it has had such a huge impact on my life. Over the course of 4 blog posts, I want to explore our attitudes towards our bodies, and the factors that influence those opinions.
This week, I’ve created a survey to try and find out what our relationships with our bodies are like, as well as to get an idea of where these attitudes come from. It would be amazing if you could complete my quick survey, of which I will be discussing the results in another blog post later this month. You can find my survey by clicking here. It will only take about 2 minutes to complete and is mainly just tick box questions (all answers are anonymous). Thank you so much in advance for your responses!