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I’m going to hazard a guess and say (according to a recent Nat Carter bureau of statistic’s poll: 90% of us have body image issues, then the leftover 3% are supermodels (ugh!) and 7% of women are actually lying about the fact that they don’t have body image issues.
We have issues, face it. The struggle, gals, is real!
Tall, short, fat, skinny, round, square, disabled, able bodied, vision impaired, scarred, tattooed, pretty, blue eyed, brown skinned, pasty, freckled, belly rolls, 6 packs, muscles, broken, big butted, small butted, red hair, blonde hair, no hair and it goes on and on and on….
As a former fat girl (FFG), the full story is here if you care to read it, I was/am the queen of body image issues. My most common issue- not seeing the size I really am, forever unable to see what other people (including other women) see. It’s happening both ways for me. I was bulging out of a size 16 jeans before I realised I was 3 sizes too big for my clothes. I also don’t really register my shrinkage into smaller sizes. I often don’t think a size 10 will even go anywhere near my body, even though it does. The struggle is unending. I say that with a true honesty, even given my profession in the fitness industry. You can think that whenever you accomplish a certain weight loss goal your life immediately turns into the thing you’ve always hoped it to be: Skinny and pretty and amazing. The reality is NOT THAT. So many women, myself including find it hard to get their heads around their new bodies and then the general upkeep of that said body.
Why do we have such weirded out body image? Well, is it just us being over thinkers, perfectionists, stressy weirdos or is the media, other women around us or is it men? I don’t know really. I probably believe it’s a combo of all of those really. I do totally believe that because body image is something passed down through family generations that unless you really foster an awesome, positive, soul building body image in your children, you will in fact repeat the “mistakes” of your parent/grandparent and so on.
How can we get past our body image issues? There’s definitely no quick fix and I truly believe no set protocol. It’s like when I train 2 girls, one responds to the bossy/stand over tactics I dish out and the other may need more of a gentle/easy does it/hold my hand approach. I’m 100% sure you need to come to terms with your body issues and why they’ve infiltrated your life for so long. I also feel:
Talking about them with other females helps. Literally turn to the person next to you right now and strike up a body conversation. I can tell you, you’ll find common ground with each other, no matter how different your body types.
Take Action. Put down the cake, lace up your shoes. The impact of a healthy diet and exercise on body image is massive! All you need to focus on is busting the anxiety. Don’t focus on your body at all (i.e leave the physical goals for a while). On the flip side, if you are a fitness freak, maniac exerciser- just stop. Try yoga or meditation. Just do very little. It can totally work wonders for you. Then as you feel the anxiety lessening, increase your workload- try new things and have regular downtime and recovery.
Embrace and see past our flaws. Ask yourself if it really matters that you have different sized boobs or a belly roll or that you are taller than all of your friends? I mean isn’t it great to just be here, to be in the game of life.
Give back. Take yourself and your body out of the equation. Give back to a charity, or friend in need or complete stranger. Even just engaging in positive acts of kindness will help in seeing the bigger picture.
The take home message? A little bit of love goes a long way. Start small, see the beauty in your imperfections and embrace them. Change what you feel comfortable with (that’s with non drastic measures) and be happy with being a “work in progress”.
Let’s start a conversation….where do your body image issues stem from? What is the main cause for your concern?