While Tom and I were on vacation, I did something very brave. I got pictures taken in my bikini by the resort photographer. And then yesterday, I did something even more brave…I posted those pictures on Facebook. And today, I’ll share some here.
Two years ago, I would have hardly let someone take a photo of me in a bathing suit let alone post pictures for the world to see. Like so many women, I have struggled my whole life with body image issues and poor self confidence.
Although I have never been overweight and have been told countless times by others, “you’re skinny”, “you have a great body”, “I would kill for that body”, it’s like those words never sunk in because I didn’t believe them. I would look in the mirror and see everything that was wrong with my body. But in the last two years I have learned to change my mindset and now I can say I am happy and confident with my body. So you must be wondering, how did I do it?
First, let me tell you that it’s not easy. Getting over years and years of self deprecation and changing your mindset is a process it is not an overnight fix. The first and biggest step was deciding that I wanted to change. It’s exhausting to strive for that unrealistic ideal we see on magazine covers and beating ourselves up when we don’t achieve it. I realized I am 26 years old and I just didn’t want to spend the rest of my life unhappy with my body. There are so many better things I could be focusing my energy on.
The second and most important change I made in my life was a commitment to fitness. In the past, I had exercised but on and off. I would follow a program or run for a while and then I would quit. When I started exercising consistently, I immediately started to feel better about myself. Even after 2 days of exercising, before I had ever seen any results my self confidence was instantly boosted after exercising. And of course, the more I exercised the more positive changes I saw in my body which led to an increase in self confidence and made me want to exercise more. I got led into a positive cycle. I started consistently working out about 2 years ago and I haven’t looked back since. Now the idea of not exercising seems so foreign, it’s just a part of my life.
The next step was to stop comparing myself to others. I have to be honest, I am still working on this. But I have definitely stopped comparing myself to magazine covers. I mean have you seen this video. There is no point in comparing yourself to something that isn’t even real.
I have really learned to understand that there are truly different body types and therefore comparing myself to someone with a completely different body type just doesn’t make sense and definitely only leads to further self deprecation. For example, I was blessed with big ol’ thighs, they’re genetic in my family and I will never despite hours of hard work at the gym be able to get rid of them. So instead of lusting over skinny legs I have learned to embrace my legs for what they are.
I also think how you look at, treat and talk about other women really makes a difference. Many times we take out our own insecurities on other women. We feel that if we call that person fat or point out their chubby thighs that we will feel better about ourselves. But it really only serves as a vicious cycle because you are then wondering what others think of you. So I’ve tried to change my mindset and look at the positives in other women and comment on their positive attributes creating a positive mindset for myself.
And lastly, I have worked on changing my internal thoughts about myself. When a bad thought creeps into my mind I am mindful of it and try to change it into a positive. I also try to focus on my favourite aspects of myself. And these are both physical and non-physical. Think about the person you are and the achievements you’ve had in your life. There is so much more to life and happiness than the way your body looks.
I hope some of these steps can work for you. No matter what shape or size you are, you are beautiful and the sooner you realize that, the sooner you can feel happiness and confidence.