A couple of weeks ago, I was dead chuffed to be asked to take part in a body positivity masterclass with Laura Agar Wilson. Laura is a really brilliant health & business coach and she asked if I would like to talk about my experiences of, and opinions on Body Positivity for her online membership group, The Balance Club.
Of course I jumped at the chance to be involved. I loved being able to chat freely to Laura about some of the lessons I’ve learned about body image, body positivity and my relationship with own body. But what I really valued was the opportunity that our chat gave me to really sit back and reflect on how my thoughts and feelings have changed (and continue to change) over the last few years.
And never one to waste an opportunity, I decided to turn some of that thinking into a new blog post!
Body positivity is a choice
I know I bang on about this a lot, but we are so brainwashed by the media and the fat shaming that happens all around us, that sometimes we accept without question the “fact” that our body isn’t good enough.
Well I’m here to tell you that that’s bullshit! Your body, complete with wobbles and wrinkles and rolls, is truly a thing of wonder and it’s just waiting for you to wise up to it, start to appreciate it and choose to be more positive about it. Think about it…..Has being negative about your body helped you or improved your life in any way up to this point? Nope. Didn’t think so. So maybe, just maybe the time has come to switch things up a bit and hop on-board the positivity train.
Give good gratitude
It’s a game changer. Honestly. I know it may sound a bit woo, but if your internal dialogue is currently set to negative ninny” then stopping to practice gratitude can flip an otherwise unused switch. Start small…….daily pauses for a quick shot of gratitude to the legs that carried you around the supermarket this morning, and who knows where it’ll lead!
Oh and notice that I mentioned the P word. Practice is where it’s at. This sort of stuff doesn’t cause lasting change because you had a quick go at it a week last Wednesday. You need to practice regularly so that it becomes your default setting (over-riding that nasty inner bitch)!
It really is a journey
Just because I opted to choose body positivity, do leap out of bed every day, clicking my heels together and whooping about my fabulous body? Hell no! Some days are easier than others. Occasionally I still want to hide away in a dark hole where no-one can see me. But those days only happen once in a while now, whereas they
used to be an almost daily occurrence.
At some points I think I’m making great strides towards fully and completely loving the way I look, and then at other times, I feel as though I’ve taken a huge leap back again. Progress is not linear and there will be lows as well as highs. It does not mean you have “failed” and have to start again on Monday! Treat yourself as you would a child who is growing, learning and developing. Nurture and treat yourself with loving kindness. You will get there!
Self reflection is a great tool
Most of us are unpicking YEARS worth of ingrained behaviour and thought patterns. Keep looking back at where you’ve come from to help you appreciate the progress you’ve made. Use regular self reflection as a method of selfcare.
Set aside time where you’re able to pat yourself on the back and celebrate the progress you’ve made or get to the bottom of a negative spiral you might find yourself in. A huge part of this journey is about getting to know yourself rather than constantly putting your needs to the bottom of the pile because “You aren’t good enough!” Journal it out. A really useful tool that I’ve used is to think of my body as if it were a friend, a separate entity. I’ve found that It can really help me to gain a bit of perspective.
Insecurities are inescapable
Look, we’re all human and we ALL have insecurities. I bet even Kate moss has the odd day where she looks in the mirror and doesn’t like what she sees! The trick is in minimising those thoughts and living your best life despite them, rather than allowing them to take over and stop you living. Instead of waiting for a magical day where you no longer have any negative thoughts about your body, choose joy, choose life and flick the insecurities a big fat middle finger!
Be positive about YOU
It can be really easy to get caught up in the world of body positivity and to start comparing yourself unfavourably to all of the other bo-po babes out there. I love the fact that there are so many “ordinary” women taking back control, turning their back on the mainstream and flaunting their fabulous selves in a fabulous array of bikinis and lingerie. But I’ll be honest with you, for a while there I felt as though I wasn’t allowed to call myself bo-po because I wasn’t shimmying on Instagram in a skimpy two-piece. And then I sat back and really thought about the essence of what body positivity means to me, and that is doing/ thinking/ wearing what I want to wear, in order to feel more positive about my body. No comparison. No competition. Just me, myself and I!
Ultimately, we have one shot at life, and one body to live it in. Is mine the body I’d have picked out from the pre-life catalogue had I been given a chance?! For years I’d have said a resounding no, but do you know what? I’m getting to the stage in my life where I’m thinking that maybe it is! Because so far in my 40 years on this earth it has done me proud (even with the pretty serious demands I’ve put on it) and it enables me to live a bloody brilliant life that I am thankful for every day.
Am I body positive? You bet your bottom dollar I am!