Welcome back, my lovelies!
This is something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while…and it’s become more apparent over the Summer months that “body confidence” is something which affects a lot of us; no matter your age or gender, at some point you’ll be affected by it one way or the other.
I’ve shared some of my own ‘body confidence’ issues below in hopes that my own journey to being body confident helps one of you…as a ‘disclaimer’ though, please be mindful that I’m not an expert on this topic at all and I’m simply talking candidly about my own experiences as well as sharing what I’ve learnt along the way-including things to avoid!
I remember in 2017 Dove did a campaign with a number of different women of different ages, ethnicity and body shapes and the campaign had a massive impact on women across the world, let alone the UK. Studies showed that within the UK, only 39% of women had a high body esteem which just isn’t good enough!
I’m probably one of the women that fall within the 61% with a slightly lower body esteem at times, and a part of that has to do with the unrealistic body image which is praised on social media. It’s interesting to me because I have really candid conversations with my friends, some of which I’d expect to be extremely body confident but they also experience moments of low-esteem because of the images they see on social media; which essentially means a lot of women are setting impractical goals of what they feel they need to look like versus recognising how beautiful they already are.
It’s crazy because I remember as a child a lot of the women on magazine covers were, in my opinion, stick thin and that was the look to have. As a child I was extremely body conscious because I’ve always been voluptuous so even at my ‘skinniest’ I’ve never actually been ‘skinny’. Fast forward to where we are now, everyone is getting lip-fillers, thigh-fillers and enhanced booties to name a few…although I’m so here for the more curvy look in general, because I think this gives younger girls a healthier image to look up to, a lot of the women who are being praised for these body images are women who have essentially ‘paid’ to look like that. To set the record straight, I’m not one of those people who thinks that fillers or the like are wrong; I think if you are old enough and responsible enough to do what you want to do with your body, then do it. On the other hand though, I think that social media does a really poor job of praising women who are naturally beautiful and therefore sets a completely false standard of beauty for younger generations.
To any of my younger readers, including my younger sister, I want you to know that no matter what you look like you are the only version of yourself and therefore nobody can replicate the beauty that you already behold…If there is anyone that can tell you that on a daily basis to make you appreciate who you are, that person is you.
This year in particular I’ve noticed that the need for instant gratification has lead to a lack of confidence in a lot of women…
Let me take you all back to a year ago. Just prior to graduating from University I was heavily into exercise and going to the gym. For the FIRST time in my life I genuinely had a consistent and healthy gym routine and it was so much apart of my regime that if I didn’t go for whatever reason, I felt completely restless.
At one point, I had a trainer and I’d revealed to him that I was really unhappy with my body because I’d been going to the gym religiously for a few months and didn’t see any changes. He gave me a long talk about confidence and gradual changes but one thing that stood out to me throughout that whole conversation was his referral to “instant gratification”. In that moment it really registered with me that things that come to us instantly have the ability to go just as quickly, so for anyone who’s reading this and expecting instant results in whatever your particular healthy journey is, just know that if it doesn’t happen rapidly, don’t give up…keep going! The results will be so worth the wait!
This isn’t just a body thing, but also for my Curly hair readers who have recently started their natural hair journey. The most infuriating part of your journey is where you are right now; believe me, I still remember!! At the start of your journey your hair is becoming accustomed to being in it’s natural state so some days you might have really awful hair days, and that’s completely okay! Allow yourself to go through the journey, document it if you need to, and learn to understand your hair so that you provide your curls with the right types of products. As I’ve mentioned above, the results may not be rapid, but well worth the wait!
Body confidence is more than just how we look, but also ties into how we feel. On days when I’m feeling my worst, I try really hard to be as positive or as confident as I can so that whether I intend to or not, I end up gradually feeling a little better.
I’m also a big believer in the law of attraction; the kind of energy you give out is usually the kind of energy that comes back to you, so essentially if you feel like crap, you’ll end up attracting a lot of crap energy. I know that this is probably a lot easier said than done (trust me I know!) but give yourself one day to try it out. Literally set your goal that on an ‘off’ day you’re going to carry real positive energy and see how that improves your mood and confidence for the rest of the day!
It’s also really important that when you’re having an off day, you just switch off from anything that’s tampered with your mood. I do this with social media when it’s needed and I kid you not, tuning out for however many hours really does re-centre you and remind you that not everything you see on social media is in fact ‘reality’.
Since blogging, I’ve found that my most re-occurring body confidence issue is with my face. I know that might sound a little odd, but when you take so many up-close and personal photos to document your hair journey, you might find that you become a little obsessed with ‘perfection’. Laying all my flaws out there, I’ve come to accept that my nose is slightly crooked (due to a car accident which I was in when I was younger) and my teeth aren’t the best (I’ve ALWAYS had bad teeth) which never really bothered me until I started taking photos. My obsession with my look wasn’t that I noticed, but my fear of other people noticing. One thing I’m really grateful for when it comes to blogging, is that I’ve come to acknowledge and accept that I am who I am and my scars, crooked nose and teeth are what makes me ‘Ally’. At some point in time, I will get my teeth done but the scars and crooked nose are here to stay!
Style is probably the least effective some would say, but none-the-less I’ve found Style has a dramatic impact on how I feel on a day to day basis.
I know that I look and feel better when I wear loose, high-waist trousers…the benefit of this particular style is that during the Summer I haven’t felt swamped in material but there’s also a really stylish element to these kind of trousers which makes a really basic outfit appear more ‘chique’. I also love this particular type of style for work, so I often wear high-waist black trousers to work, too. They are also great at disguising any areas you don’t want to be on show, especially on days I might be a little bloated or when it’s “that time of the month” and I’d rather be a little more comfy than wear something more fitted.
I wouldn’t suggest being “stylish” is the best formula for tackling body confidence issues overall, but regardless it helps on a day to day basis when everything else has failed me!
TIP FOR CURVY GIRLS:
High-waist loose trousers really help to accentuate your curves! If your lack of confidence is down to not finding something which flatters you, definitely try a pair of high-waist trousers and see how they accentuate your shape!
I’ve mentioned I’m quite a curvy girl and to be quite honest with you-I like it. I do tend to gain weight quite easily if I’m not careful about my intake but in general weight gain isn’t something I’m too fussed about as I’ve learnt how to manage that over the years. Something I’ve recently struggled with however, are stretch marks!! For anyone that has a lot of stretch marks, I personally really like them and to be very matter of fact, stretch marks are a result of either weight gain or weight loss so there’s very little we can do about them. This is one of those ‘face it’ situations, but there are things that can be done to manage them. Similar to pregnancy (I’m not speaking from experience but rather from what some of my older friends with babies have tried) I’d recommend using Bio Oil which works wonders for minimising the appearance of stretch marks.
As well as Bio Oil, Coconut Oil does a good job of ‘softening’ the lines.
A phrase I literally live by, which is probably the most pragmatic way of dealing with things is, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, face it!”
Body confidence is determined by your Aura rather than your actual physical appearance. I have some beautiful friends as examples of this, of all shapes and sizes, who carry such a strong and confident Aura about themselves that even when they are at their lowest body esteem they still radiate confidence.
Similarly, I’m trying to get to this place, and it’s not something that can be taught but rather something which you essentially become and own.
To all the beautiful young girls and women who need a little bit of a ‘pick me up’ I’ve listed a few things that have reminded me to stay confident along the way:
Manage what you eat by substituting unhealthy foods and swapping them for something a little healthier!
Drink LOADS OF WATER! This one is something to live by if you want a healthy body which will radiate from the inside out!
Dress to suit your figure! Ain’t nothing cuter than a stylish woman that knows she looks good!
OWN IT! No matter your shape, size, age or gender…be proud of WHO you are. Learn to accept that what you have is yours and it’s up to you to either spend your time fault-finding or carry yourself with some ‘sass!’
I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Please feel free to share some of your own body confidence hacks with me in the comments below!