We are overwhelmed everyday by images of ‘perfection’, perfect lifestyles, perfect homes, perfect bodies, perfect families, perfect jobs…
We look at these ‘ideals’ as something that is achievable with some type of hard work. But most of these images and ideals are false.
Why? Because there is NO such thing as perfect. We never truly know what is going on.
The one dangerous and prevalent ‘ideal’ that is present on social media is the female body.
The type of female body and appearance that media outlets tend to depict and glorify is an unrealistic ‘slim’ and ‘sculpted’ body type, with ‘curved’ features. This idealisation of this seemingly ‘real’ body shape is therefore glorified and becomes the cultural standard of feminine beauty which is advertised as achievable with healthy eating and exercise.
However, this idealised body shape and physicality are often unachievable and commonly fabricated using photo-editing software. Thus, there is a discrepancy between what a ‘real’ female body looks like and what a media fabricated female body looks like.
Such images are extremely harmful for women and can lead some individuals to take extreme measures of dieting or over-exercising which has serious impacts on women’s physical and mental health.
So, this is why having a positive body image can stand up against these false ideals and protect yourself against the onslaught of perfection!
So, what is meant by body image?
Body image is how you see yourself, both when you look in the mirror and how you think about yourself. It doesn’t not mean loving everything about your body and thinking it’s perfect… because there is no such thing as perfection.
There is you, in all you are and there are others, just how they are – and that is beautiful. Instead, a positive body image being comfortable with how your body is, celebrating the frame of your body, curvy or straight, accepting the marks, scars, bumps, tones, and textures of your incredible body. Its about stepping into who you are, not fighting against yourself.
So here are some tips, in how to improve your body image:
Tip one: Start a body gratitude journal.
This may seem a little strange but stick with me!
Go to a shop, pick out a beautiful, lined journal that aligns with you, and keep it just for your body gratitude journal.
Aim to write in this journal every day either in the morning or evening, but the rule is to only write it using only a positive lens about yourself, using the following prompts such as...
What are you grateful to your body for?
What do I love about my body?
Jot down days where you really felt beautiful.
Tip Two: Wear what is comfortable & makes you feel good!
I have said it before, and I will say it again ignoring the size of the clothes… they mean NOTHING!
This may seem super simple, but it's something I find so many of my clients don't do. They are so worried about the size of their clothes and would rather put on a pair of super uncomfortable size 12 skinny jeans than, then put on a size 14 flare jean that is comfortable and makes them feel like a queen! So, it's no wonder why so many women don't like their bodies because they're trying to wear clothes that their body doesn’t feel comfortable in! - forget the size hun, life is too short!
Extra tip: Take a few sizes into the dressing room, take the clothes off the hanger, mix them up, try each size on and choose the item that is the most comfortable. Really feel how it fits, how it makes you feel, not how you want it to be…
Tip three: Fall in love with movement and out of love with exercise!
Most of my clients have said that when they think of exercise, they think of dragging themselves to a gym or class, that makes them feel miserable and self-conscious.
I have to say, the word exercise doesn’t fill me with positive images either.
That’s why we need to fall out of the word exercise and fall in love with movement.
Give yourself the freedom to try new movements!
Don’t like the gym? Don’t go!
Hate running? Don’t run!
Like to walk? Take a walk somewhere nice and don’t think of it as exercise, just enjoy the process of moving your body.
Or try new types of movement and discover how you like to move your body.