This is a post I have been thinking about writing for a little while, and it’s going to delve a bit deeper than my usual posts. I have always had quite a tumultuous relationship with my body and how I look, as I’m sure some of you reading this will have too. I’m not all the way there yet, but I’ve been working really hard recently to start accepting my body the way it is. It’s proving to be quite the process, but I’ve learnt a lot along the way and I’m going to share some of it with you today.
I honestly cannot remember a time when I was happy with the way I looked, so my body image issues started at a young age. I think the issues stemmed from a number of places, but it was mostly just a pressure to conform to society’s idea of the ‘perfect’ body. My teenage years were by far the worst, I would torture myself over every inch of my body. I wasn’t thin enough, I wasn’t tall enough, my thighs were too fat and my boobs too small. I could literally list things I didn’t like about myself for days. Looking back on those days I kick myself for giving myself such a hard time, I was perfectly normal and healthy and I wasted so many years worrying about something that wasn’t even a real problem!
Fast forward to today and I’m a lot bigger than I was as a teenager. The last couple of years of my life have been tough, my mental health has suffered somewhat and I’ve found myself turning to food for comfort. As a result I’ve gained a considerable amount of weight, and that is something that has been quite difficult to come to terms with. However I’ve now decided I’m not going waste any more of my life worrying about how I look – life is short and I can’t live it to the full if I’m constantly worrying about my appearance.
One of the main things that has helped me make this attitude change is being selective with who I follow on social media. It’s all too easy to compare yourself to all the perfect images that are all across social media, many of which are photo shopped within an inch of their life! Comparing your everyday self to carefully selected, filtered and edited images isn’t realistic. I’ve started to follow people who I admire for reasons other than the way they look – this doesn’t necessarily mean unfollowing anyone who is thin, but if a particular account makes me feel a bit insecure then I’ll unfollow. I follow a lot of fashion and beauty accounts, which would generally tend to be the ones that make me feel insecure, but I’ve started following a wider spectrum of people who are all different shapes and sizes. It’s much easier to accept yourself at a size 14 when you’re not constantly bombarded with images of women about half the size you are!
Another thing I have found that has helped is not blindly following fashion trends. Not all trends are going to suit you, and you’re not going to feel comfortable in every single style of clothing. When I was younger (especially as a teenager) I would try to follow fashion trends completely, if an item wasn’t ‘fashionable’ then I didn’t want to know. In more recent years however, my style has been much less trend driven and as a result I’ve ended up feeling a lot more comfortable with my body as it is. The key is to dress in clothes that make you feel confident – you will always look much better in something you are comfortable wearing. By all means, if you see a trend that you love and makes you feel confident then go for it, but don’t feel like you have to wear a certain style of clothes just because it’s in fashion!
I’ve also been working on changing my mindset towards other people – which is one of the more difficult steps that I’ve taken and something I am still working on. In reality, the majority of people will not give two shits what you look like, most people are too busy focusing on their own lives to give the rolls on your stomach a second thought! Anyone who is truly important in your life will not give a crap what you look like, and anyone that feels they need to criticize your appearance doesn’t deserve to be in your life anyway! Life is way too short to give people like that a second thought. After so many years of constantly worrying what other people think it’s been very difficult for me to make this change in attitude, but I am getting there slowly.
I feel like body image issues are way too common in young women, and I really hope that our society’s attitudes towards different body types continues to improve. I think that it is great now that more companies are branching out into more plus sized clothing, and using models of different shapes and sizes, but there is still a long way to go. I’ve also still got a long way to go on my personal journey – I am by no means 100% comfortable in my own skin just yet, but changing my self loathing habit of a lifetime isn’t an easy task! I’m not going to say I will never lose weight, in the future I may choose to do so. For now I’m working on my mental health and being happy, and maybe one day my body will follow, but until then I’m going to love myself regardless!
Have you battled any body image issues? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
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