Body confidence. One minute I’m okay with it. And the next, I find myself in tears wondering when I’m going to accept my body image for what it is. Body confidence with women is something that people don’t always talk about. It’s thought about so much. But you don’t always see people openly talking about how they feel about their bodies.
There’s always been something that I don’t like about my body. From my forever growing body hair, to my toes and feet. Then, I began to realise that as you’re getting older you can’t eat and eat and eat and just expect nothing to happen to your body image. Many people think I’m one of those people who can eat anything I want and not put any weight on. But sadly, that’s not true. If only.
Body confidence and food
I envy anyone who can. I absolutely love my food. And I’ve never been overweight. I’ve learnt the importance of a balanced diet. Part of this has involved sorting better lunches at work. I’ve always had sandwiches and a yoghurt (or something after it). Now, I see myself eating mackerel and salad; chicken salad; soup. And sometimes, I will have the odd chicken Caesar wrap. As much of a choice there is for bread including wholemeal and seeded, my body became bored with it. And actually, it began to feel the effects of it.
Bread is a massive cause of bloating for me. It’s so good. But I have to remember what’s best for my body. For instance, if I’ve had enough bread consumption for the week I might just choose poppadoms rather than naan bread with a curry. It doesn’t end there. I drink more green tea now rather than normal tea. Sugar isn’t in there anymore. But the odd time, I’ll add a sweetener if I feel like I need one.
Saying no the odd thing here and there. Having less of something but still enjoying a treat. There used to be stages where I would eat nothing one minute. And then eat this, that, and everything the next. It’s not too healthy at all. But, I think it’s okay to binge eat days once in a while (especially if you’re hungover or I don’t know, if it’s Sunday?!)
When body confidence affects you mentally and physically
I’ve never been a really unhealthy person or considered to be ‘fat’. But it came to my attention that others thought my weight had increased a bit. This lowered my body confidence. But surely, we all have occasions in our lives where our weight fluctuates? Here, I’m talking a few pounds, not stone. But those few pounds changed my emotions. Just yesterday when someone made a comment that I look like I’ve lost weight, later on in the day something got me down. I made a joke saying “Did I used to be fat or something because I got told I look like I’ve lost some weight earlier?” and their reply was, “Yeah. Well, you did have a bit of extra weight at one point.”
And that was me. I went upstairs quietly and started to cry. I started to go through my Instagram photos and delete more (as I always have). I find that I don’t start to like photos of myself anymore. A lot of us do this. But I start to look for things that people might see as a flaw. Sometimes, the angle a photo is taken or that double crease in the top/dress makes me see a picture of myself in a totally different way. I start to imagine what other people might see, even if it’s not necessarily the way that they do.
It isn’t always about weight and feeling bloated. Sometimes, it’s about your skin being too dry or too oily. Spots and pimples. Red faced bare skin without any makeup. There are so many things.
Keeping active increases body confidence
Now that I go to the gym, 3-4 times a week, I’m feeling much happier. My body is one of those bodies that needs the regular exercise. The results make me feel better both mentally and physically. Many people will say, “There’s nothing to you.” or that, “You should eat what you want.” And that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m starting to see that there is a great choice of food you can have. It’s nice to try new things.
You don’t have to go to the gym. There are any strength and fitness activities you can do at home. For example, press-ups and sit-ups. If I can do a sit-up (never thought that would happen) then you can too. Try not to be too scared to experiment with other equipment. Some people keep fit to lose weight. Some people keep fit to become stronger. And others keep fit to tone up. I see myself in the increasing my strength and toning up category.
I’ve learnt to love my thighs and my bum. I never knew doing ab workouts could be so fun. Yes, you feel the pain the next day but it’s so worth it. And the same goes for cardio. which I’ve always loved anyway. Since doing a combination of both, along with arms. back, and a little chest, I feel like I can accomplish so much more than I ever did before. A big thank you goes to Danny here for always pushing me further because he knows I can do it.
Enjoy your food and enjoy being you
Enjoying your food and still feeling good about yourself is how it should be. One thing I need to remember is that, it’s okay to not look like everybody else. You weren’t born to be like someone else. You were given your life to be you. I need to try not to criticise how my belly looks so bloated in that dress. Occasions like this have resulted to a lot of clothes being thrown away. And then I feel sad that I don’t feel good in anything I have. Or that, I don’t have enough ‘nice tops’ to throw on.
Oh, they’re a similar height to me so I need to have slimmer legs like them.
We all have days where we think, ah we’ll just eat this today. Or let’s miss the gym that. Don’t punish yourself for doing those things. Do the best you can. And maybe make up for the fitness you missed the week before next time. Pushing myself harder at the gym is something that I never thought I’d do. But it happens and I couldn’t feel better for it.
You have your own body shape and size. As much as body confidence affects all shapes and sizes, try not to compare yourself. I’ve done this way too often. Embrace your body. And next time you think that dress isn’t for you, put it on and walk with confidence.