At 5am this morning I experienced an impromptu body confidence crisis when I caught a bleary-eyed glimpse of my tummy in the bathroom mirror and wondered for the umpteenth time how, despite being a healthy eater and working out furiously six days a week for the best part of a decade, I still harbour five or six inches of subcutaneous fat on my midriff.
And then I stopped myself. I remembered that I don’t do that anymore. All that self-deprecating body shaming is so 2018.
Every day we have a choice: to accept and appreciate our bodies for the strong, complex, beautiful vessels they are, or to be constantly resentful and frustrated because they don’t adhere precisely to a set of physical standards made up by some extremely rich people who sell fashion.
This morning, I chose the former.
Every day I have to make a conscious decision to be kind to myself and stop my mind from spiralling into old, toxic patterns.
For people with body image issues, going on holiday (vacation) to a warm place can be nerve-wracking. Heat means fewer clothes. Nowhere to hide. Even though I’ve never let my insecurities stop me from having fun on my travels, I still feel unattractive, and I find myself looking back at the photos picking out every so-called flaw.
This is very exhausting, and limiting, and just plain ridiculous when you think about how short life is and how little a bit of lumpy fat on a thigh matters in the grand scheme of things.
I want to look back at travel photos and think about how happy I was in that moment: not how my bra was cutting into my back fat. I don’t even want to see fat as ugly, or unnatural anymore – because it isn’t. That was a lie made up in the ’90s. I want to see fat as a healthy part of most female bodies. We’re perfectly evolved to store for the future, for sustenance and survival, and we’re in a state of continuous change with the various cycles of our hormones.
I know I’m not the only woman on the planet with body qualms (are there any without?) so I thought I’d write some body positive affirmations that anybody can say to themselves to fight off those insideous false insecurities manufactured by capitalism…
Fuck wearing a tankini or swimming costume or massive t-shirt to hide my belly on the beach. My belly is as worthy as any other belly.
There are many different ways to be beautiful.
My uniqueness is beautiful.
Other people’s beauty doesn’t diminish mine.
I love being who I am.
I can’t control what others think, but I can control what I think.
I am amazed by all the cool stuff my body can do, like turning food into energy and fighting off viruses and still functioning despite my teen binge-drinking phase.
I will not choose clothes because they flatter or hide me. I will choose clothes that express who I am and bring me joy.
If I am kind, my beauty will shine through – no matter what I look like today.
I choose to feel confident in my own skin.
I will not be critical of how other people look.
Health looks different on everybody.
And that concludes my positive affirmations for tonight. I am going to try my best to feel free and confident over the next few months, and I hope you do too. 🙂