It’s that time of the year again where the hashtag bikini body is absolutely everywhere, and yep I know you already know, summer is generally a time when a lot of our insecurities eer their ugly heads and we can no longer hide behind cosey knitted oversized jumpers and loads of layers. AND What’s also not helpful is the constant bombardment of summer body adverts, like juice plus, womens best and god knows what else claiming to make us look like beyonce in about 3 days if we just eat celery for dinner and a protein shake. And don’t get me started on the the unbelievably unrealistic bodies of the love island contestants. Honestly i’m over it.
So anyways, this post was sparked from the other day, when i went into a bit of a shitty downward spiral as I was clearing out my wardrobe of old clothes as i have just moved in with my boyfriend and i’m not sure he would appreciate all of the clothes i’ve longingly held onto for about 10 years in the hope that they would fit again. And cutting a long story short, no i didn’t fit into the majority of the clothes and i would be lying if i didn’t admit that it made me feel like shit. As I don’t weigh myself anymore and just kind of go off if my clothes fit or not, I genuinely thought that over the years i had really come to accept my body. But, just being completely transparent here, this realisation that i didn’t have the same body i used to, sent me on a bit of a downward spiral. So to make myself feel even worse, because thats what us girls are great at – I started stalking my own pictures on instagram and facebook – I think we’ve all been there, stalking our own picture from years ago to see what size we were and thinking to ourselves ‘oh if only i was as fat now as i thought i was then” we’ve all seen the memes circling the internet. – which are completely unacceptable by the way, and i am completely against fat shaming.
But when I really sat and thought about it, it seemed as if my “body acceptance and body love” was based on my previous size. If I was this upset about gaining a few pounds, over literal years then how could I really be accepting of my body? And being completely transparent again here, i haven’t even had children yet, so i’ve really got to get a hold of these beliefs about my body, because our bodies, especially as women, are constantly changing and we have to get over the shitty pressure we put on ourselves.
Anyway it got me thinking about accepting our bodies as we get a bit older and how much we change. And when i say older, i mean the small but almost gigantic and life changing cross over between our teen years and early twenties to our late twenties and early thirties. My brain went into a bit of an internal fight, it’s like wow yes i have put on weight since i was 18, because that was about a million years ago where my metabolism was sh hot and i could inhale burgers and strongbow like my life depended on it. Also I was constantly active and had a lot of freedom then, whereas now most of us are glued to our office desks to earn a living and then we just chill watching netflix with a glass of wine or 3 most evenings because hashtag real life. So the question is, with these inevitable body changes, how do we accept the new normal?
If we are brutally honest with ourselves, we associate certain sizes with being happier and being more desirable to men, in the workplace and to other women, as if our size shapes who we are can be and how we are accepted in society.
But what if we put two fingers up to those beliefs? And accept our bodies anyway? Wouldn’t society be forced to make changes? And accept us all for who we actually are? Warts, back fat, hairy toes and all? We really need to question the thoughts behind WHY we want to be skinnier and smaller, and why we want to look a certain way. And besides health reasons and just generally wanted to be healthier, because that’s kind of in a separate box. I’m talking about the unhealthy constant scrutiny we have of our bodies.
A hard truth to swallow, as we are inundated by facetuned instagram babes that project an image that thinness = happiness. But when you find that place within where you can accept yourself and your body, flaws and all, your life will begin to change. And by change, i mean drastically and immediately. All great change comes from self love. And trust me, I am by no means a self body loving goddess, i have some work to do myself on my own beliefs, but my god i have come so far compared to the self-hating version of myself i was a few years ago. And this is why i started this podcast and my blog, because i wish that someone would have said all of this to me years ago, i suppose im talking to myself and my younger self to stop being so hard on yourself, forgiving yourself for horrible thoughts and realising life isn’t about being in a constant cycle of hate, and lack of worth. And eating the bloody krispy creme, and necking a bottle of wine every now and again.
BUT most importantly, it’s about choosing to see yourself as more than your weight. By choosing to allow who you are to shine regardless of what a number on a scale says about you. I mean is that seriously what your going to reduce yourself too? Worthiness based on a dress size? You deserve better than that.
And it is a choice. It doesn’t just magically appear one day. You have to choose every single day. Chose to love your body. And I know what your thinking at the moment, this is one of hardest things to do, but when you accept your body, and i mean really truly accept yourself where you are now, your whole life will change. Because how you feel on the inside affects everything else in your life. And you deserve a life where you feel good and you feel worthy, both inside and out.
I think a lot of us think that once we reach a certain weight or get back to our teenage body weight – which lets be honest is impossible -, then we will be radiant and confident and pretty much feel amazing. This is a FALSE and never ending pursuit because, If you are already insecure, or unhappy a number on a scale will not fix this. Trust me, i know this from experience. No matter what the scale says. You can still look amazing and beautiful with extra weight.
Thoughts are real forces but they are also controllable. If you allow yourself to think that you’re fat and unattractive, this will become your own personal reality, even if it’s completely untrue. You can spiral very quickly from being confident and self-assured to an insecure mess. And over what? A few extra pounds? Fine, you’ve put on some weight over the years, but that does not define who you are- you’re still just as pretty, fun, smart, intelligent, etc. as you were before. Again, I think i’m talking to myself again here aswell as you. Don’t let the extra pounds weigh you down and hold you back. Accept and love your body for all that it has done and all it has been through since your younger years.
So what does accepting your body really mean?
It means wearing a one piece because that’s what you’re most comfortable in (even if you think you “should” be wearing a bikini).
It means not hiding in big, baggy clothes (because no matter what size you are, you have every right to be seen in fitting, flattering outfits if that’s what you’re in to) but it also looks like wearing baggy clothes just because you want to.
It means looking in the mirror and not pinching at every single bit of fat, seeing every single stretch mark, scar, and extra skin as something to be fixed, changed, and “made smaller.”
You can’t hate, criticize, and berate your body enough to create lasting change. It just doesn’t work. Trust me. Because, when you DO accept where you are, that’s when you CAN begin to change.
You can, however, be mindful, loving, and gentle with yourself and your body; with where you are now in your journey. And be courageous enough not to hide or be ashamed of how you look.
So, as the summer starts and the cosey jumper you’ve been hiding away in all winter is shoved to the back of your wardrobe, I encourage you to also throw out your beliefs of having to look a certain way or be a certain size to accept yourself.
And be kind to yourself! If I promise to work on it and I hope you will too.