Spending a week in France with 8 of my oldest girl friends all the while wearing bikinis, was an eye-opening take on the modern pressures of having that perfect #summerbod.
Firstly, it’s important to mention that these friends are all driven, successful and down to earth ladies with 10/ 10 figures. But, that doesn’t mean they, or any of us are always capable of seeing that in the mirror.
Our bodies were a frequent topic of conversation. Anything from justifications that one had ‘let themselves go’ because they ‘loved food too much’, were ‘on holiday’, or just ‘didn’t care anymore’. Further, indulgent dinners transitioned into the need to express having ‘eaten too much’, or verbalise feeling ‘SOOOOOO full’.
Before, I let my friends take all the slack; I admit that I am one hundred and ten percent guilty of this myself. I most likely hold the Guinness book of world records title for complaining about my body. It’s a subject I lend way too much energy to, but also something that I frequently preach against.
So this September, I’ve made myself a vow to cut the criticism for good, and here’s exactly how I’m going to do it.
ACKNOWLEDGE SELF-HATRED IS NOT CONSTRUCTIVE
I’ve spoken at length about Ryan Holiday’s ‘The Obstacle is the way’ on my blog and instagram account. Clichéd as it sounds; I do think this read could warrant the description of life changing, so I highly recommend it.
Seriously best book ever! Buy here.
Early on, Holiday describes how many of our thoughts simply aren’t constructive. For example, standing in front on the mirror squeezing my muffin tops and puffing with self-hatred just isn’t a useful activity. It doesn’t challenge me, and it doesn’t better me as a person. It simply puts me in a bad mood, usually to be taken out on others, and limits my ability to enjoy and get the most out of my day.
So the next time negative thoughts buzz round in your head whilst starring into the mirror, smash them away with an imaginary tennis racket. They aren’t constructive and they aren’t going to make you any happier or any better!
Instead, I’d advise taking a deep breathe, appreciating your body for all that it does for you, and perhaps calmly, if necessary, thinking about a productive way of making yourself feel more at ease. Maybe a workout, or perhaps, in a healthy and sustainable way, eating better.
In summary, question whether negative thoughts about yourself are truly constructive. If not, move on! It’s quite liberating I promise.
ACCEPT IT’S ILLOGICAL
Do you, like me, suffer from the dreaded fat days? The days where no matter how hard you try, or how well you eat, your jeans hug your thighs a little too tightly, your tummy is bloated and you just feel one hundred percent rubbish!
I just don’t get it, why on some days do I wake up, caress the skin of my seemingly flat tummy and feel skinny and fabulous? To then wake up 24 hours later feeling quite frankly like a fat bed beached whale? Surely I can’t really have gained 10 stone over night?
Well I decided to do a little research on the infamous fat day, and according to a certain scholar named Reid (2015), ‘feeling fat’ is ‘a logical implausibility’. In fact it is impossible to change your weight or size by more than a couple of pounds overnight.
So what is it that gives woman the illusion of extra bulge and bloat?
Well, scholars point to the influence in sociocultural factors, which throughout history have encouraged woman to manage their bodies in culturally desirable ways. From foot binding to whalebone corsets women have been both forced and seemingly willing to endure pain in order to achieve standards of feminine beauty.
Not natural, nor healthy
In the last fifty years there’s been an evolution in society towards a thinner ideal shape for women! Anyone else dream about those insta perfect bods? Whilst, flicking through a newsfeed or magazine may seem a harmless activity, it leaves the majority of modern day women feeling unworthy and suffering from body dissatisfaction = Cue the fat day!
Reid (2015), therefore identifies fat days as emotional days. They are the days when we as women indulge in a little too much chocolate, read a trashy magazine and stalk their fittest friend on facebook whilst all the time looking in the mirror and thinking why the hell don’t I look like Millie MacKintosh.
So the next time you stand there criticising yourself, remember that your lack of body confidence is probably totally illogical, brought on quite literally by the likes of instagram. Switch off your phone, take a deep breath and you’ll feel back to your best in no time.
MENTALLY LOSE WEIGHT
I’ve been telling myself that I’ve wanted to lose a couple of kilos for pretty much my whole life. This hasn’t become a number, or a goal, just a heavy sigh when looking in the mirror, followed by ‘I really need to lose a bit of weight’.
If I’d really wanted to lose this weight, I’m sure I’d have done it by now. Plus, in reality I think there is never a time sadly, when we feel totally happy with our bodies.
So, my advice, is not to attempt losing any physical weight, by try and lose the weight of this burden and negative thinking in your mind. Just let it go! Free yourself of this urge to lose weight and move forward.
Unless it’s spending unjustifiable amounts on good food, I’m still learning how to master the art of self-love. It’s so easy to be hard on yourself for the smallest of things, missing the gym, or succumbing to temptation.
But, that doesn’t mean I’m not working hard at it. This month, I’ve taken up mindfulness, starting my day with ten minutes of headspace to help keep in control of my thoughts and emotions when things get out of hand. I am also learning to be grateful of my able body, despite the fact I will never be a supermodel with a thigh gap. I love working out and feeling strong which also contribute to overall feelings of happiness, as well as eating well. But, be sure to feed the soul from time to time too.
It’s important to reflect on your successes and give yourself a little loving.
Despite our ability to lose and gain a bit of weight, we really can’t change our body shapes all that much. The sooner we learn to accept this, the sooner we can overcome the tiring and endless feelings of guilt and low self esteem. So I hope this September, you can join me on my mission for positive thinking and self love!