I think all of us have struggled with body image at some point in our lives. It's very difficult not to compare how you look against other people, whether that's friends and family, pictures of people on Instagram, or models in magazines. Now, these are the obvious comparisons, however, people often forget the most damaging comparison of all; against yourself. We all know that life is busy, time runs away with us, and one day we look in the mirror and wonder where all those years went. We start to notice how our bodies have changed, and it can be challenging to come to terms with our ‘new’ body.
Many people at this point go through a phase where we try to get back to the body we had 20 years ago, but this can be damaging both physically and mentally. The bottom line is, you're probably not going to have that exact same body again. This isn’t easy to accept, but once you do, you will be happier and healthier for it. And this doesn't mean that you can't set goals and work on certain parts of your body that you maybe aren't that happy with, but it's about setting realistic goals.
My body isn't the same as it was when I was in the Olympics, and that's okay. Once I accepted this, it gave me the headspace to focus on the steps I needed to take to love my body. So here are my 4 top tips to becoming comfortable with your body image:
1. Listen to yourself
Accepting your body won't happen overnight. It's going to be a process, and you'll have days where you think you've cracked it, and then the next day you might wake up feeling less confident. This is completely normal, and it's important not to beat yourself up and think that you're back at square one. Don't try and push the negative thoughts away either. Instead, listen to your body and say to yourself ‘today I don't feel as confident, and that's okay.’ Try to tell yourself things that you like about your body, even if you can only manage one. Tell yourself that tomorrow will be a better day.
2. Prepare yourself for changes
Women's bodies alter slightly throughout their monthly cycle, so try not to panic if you feel a little more bloated one day. The body is an amazing thing, so have faith that it is doing what it needs to do.
3. Being active and eating healthy
Being happy with your body image doesn't mean that you can't set goals to strive for, so work on eating healthy and staying active. Exercise releases endorphins, and if you are happy and healthy, you are more likely to have a positive body image. So try and do regular exercise, I'm not talking about running a half marathon (although if that's your thing, then you go girl!) but doing exercise that suits you, even if that's just a 10-minute jog. And experiment; there's so many different ways to be active, so if running isn't your thing, have a go at yoga, or a dance class, or swimming… There's something out there for everyone.
4. Daily ritual
It's really important to set aside just five minutes of your day for yourself, preferably in the morning, as a way to connect with your body and still your mind. It could be anything you enjoy, whether that's meditation, or listening to an inspirational podcast, or simply sitting with your thoughts, the routine will really help you feel calm and have a positive mental attitude, ready to start the day.
I found that these four things really helped me with my body confidence. I hope they help you too 😊and remember; you are beautiful 💜
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