I was never stick-thin like most girls naturally are before puberty. I already had boobs, bum and curves – all of which made me stand out like a sore thumb. But this wasn’t my first rodeo battling with low self-esteem, and it wouldn’t be the last. No, it began long before that, going back to when I was about 10-years-old. One comment turned into a crippling obsession that led to several weight loss projects over the last decade.
Like a yo-yo, I spent my teens dropping weight by not eating only to gain twice as much in a matter of weeks. The loneliness of feeling burdened and trapped by my body became overwhelming. But as I currently type away, I can honestly say that I’m grateful for my body. It’s carried me through difficult times, championed me through the good and refuses to be defined by opinions other than my own.
It’s not been easy, in fact, it’s an on-going process. Nevertheless, here are some of the tips that have helped me love my body – and will hopefully inspire you too.
1. Practise gratitude
No one body is perfect. Not mine, not yours. And still, every positive experience you’ve ever had was brought to you, by your body. On average, our hearts will beat more than three billion times. In an 80-year lifespan, we will take 672,768,000 breaths and still, we continue to treat our bodies with disrespect. Why? When we start to appreciate our bodies for the incredible machine it is then we begin to mend that broken relationship.
2. Establish goals
Stop focusing on weight and figure out how you want to feel. For me, I want to focus on reducing my stress so that I can feel energised every single day. My goals will be totally different from yours, but my intention is always to make mine SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
3. Outdo your past, not other people
I spent years wishing I could look like everyone else, without appreciating what I had to offer. Thankfully, I missed the cusp of growing up with Instagram, so I’m in tune with the fact that almost everyone edits their pictures. A couple of months ago I decided to unfollow/unfriend anyone that made me feel less than enough. I haven’t looked back since.
You were and always will be enough. With or without makeup, 5lbs lighter or 30lbs heavier, wearing any said size, with morning breath, grey hair, stretch marks and every other insecurity you can possibly think of. Life is topsy turvy as it is – if you don’t believe you’re enough – you have nothing. Be vulnerable to look at yourself in the mirror and develop positive self-talk.
5. Give back to your body
Self-care is about connecting with our bodies and honouring their basic needs. It could be making an appointment with the dentist, spending time with loved ones, ditching the scales or allowing yourself other rituals like a bubble bath.
Practise makes progress – sometimes that’s all you can ask for. Self-care starts with you, so if you find yourself struggling for ideas, check out my self-care ideas on a budget!