Like nearly all women I have experienced insecurities around my weight. Over my developing years my body has been skinny, it has been overweight and it has been everything in between.
During periods of being skinny I would go to the gym religiously and constantly monitor what I was eating, living on a sort of permanent diet that didn’t leave much room for indulgences. Often if I did give myself a cheat day or a little treat I would feel immediately guilty, and feel the need to schedule a workout time later to appease myself.
The times I have been overweight were due to a hectic lifestyle while studying and not having the time to fit in a healthy eating plan and exercise routine around busy school schedules. Due to lack of time I would be more lenient with myself about what I was eating, on the basis of choosing the more convenient option over the healthier one. However it was always in the back of my mind that I needed to loose weight, and striving to one day eventually maintain skinniness seemed like a big priority.
Looking back I can see this was such an unhealthy attitude towards body weight and dieting. But at the time I really thought being skinny would make me a happier and more attractive person, give me a more glamorous lifestyle and be the solution to my problems – something the media can definitely lead us to believe.
It was when I began working in the fashion industry and working closely with models that my mindset around my body image began to shift. Originally I did find myself going into comparison mode, looking at how my body and appearance measured up against others, and often feeling like I was falling short. I saw myself doing this habit until I realized how unproductive and time wasting it was. Wishing I thinner or that I looked a certain way wasn’t going to make more creative or better at my job and it wasn’t going to help me build my dream life and dream career.
Working with girls whose entire career success is based on their physical appearance and body size, I began to see that being skinny doesn’t make you more happy and definitely doesn’t solve all your problems or give you the perfect life. If anything, striving to maintain a body weight that is someone else’s definition of perfect or isn’t your bodies natural size can create more problems and difficulties.
Now my opinion on body image and weight is that as long as you feel happy and healthy then you should feel good about the way you look. If you are naturally skinny and slight own it, and if you are more curvy or of a bigger size embrace it. Our differences and our bodies are what make us US and that should be celebrated.
Right now, I would say I fall somewhere in the middle of my previous body sizes – I’m slim but I don’t have what the media and industry would call ‘a perfect body’. But I can 100% say that I feel good about that. I no longer eat to be skinny but to fuel my body with nutrients and vitamins so I feel positive, energized, strong and full of vitality. I want to eat well so I am able to run my business successfully, enjoy my life and feel good. I exercise to relieve stress and to spend time outside after a day on my laptop. And if I sometimes do sometimes treat myself then I enjoy it because it means I’m spending time with my friends and family and having fun.
This shift has been such an empowering and freeing experience for me and body positivity and healthy living are now a part of my daily life. Of course I still have moments when I feel insecure or unhappy around my body, but I am better able to rationalize how I’m feelings and take steps to give myself a confidence boost when needed. By writing this post I hope to connect with others on a similar journey with body image and hope to spread some inspiration and empowerment to those who are struggling. I would love to know about your journeys with self image and body confidence in the comments below. Please share with me where you’re at, how you give yourself a confidence boost and what tips you would share to make others feel more confident in their own skin.