If you told my fourteen year old self that at 25 I’d be posting images of my half-naked body and embracing my rolls and what society deems ‘unsightly bits’ I would’ve laughed in your face! Although at the time I was starving myself and at my lightest weight, I still genuinely believed that I was FAT. It wasn’t like now where you see average sized women in magazines and on tv, no, this was the Miley Cyrus, Gossip Girl stage where everyone was striving to be skinny.
Having just started high school I loved the idea of being able to reinvent myself as the pretty, popular mean girl. This obviously meant being skinny, so I just wouldn’t eat or at max I would eat one small meal a day. I remember a stage where my mom would get home from work and ask if I’d eaten that day. Now looking back I would categorize this as an eating disorder but because I was never skinny enough to look malnourished and it was never something that was addressed I just saw it as stage every teenage girl went through.
If I’m being completely honest the self-deprecating has been an underlying pattern in my life since childhood. I remember being as young as seven or eight, comparing my body to my sisters naturally long slender body and thinking “why is mine not like hers?” and immediately wishing I could look different. Well needless to say that carried into my teen years and adulthood. So now that you’ve seem a snapshot of my history with my body image lets chat about why its different now and what it’s taken to get here.
For those of you following me on Instagram you know that there’s been a very definite change in my content and that’s because I’ve had a complete mind shift when it comes to body confidence and positive body image. I feel like for the last two years I’ve been trying to embrace my body with all the rolls and wobbly bits but I still found myself comparing and saying horrible things to myself when I looked in the mirror. I know some of you can relate to this. But for some reason I kept circling the same drain of horrible thoughts, until about a month ago when I feel like something just clicked in my brain.
These are the three positive changes I’ve made recently that I feel could really benefit or encourage some of you.
Addressing and changing my inner dialogue has made the biggest difference for me – basically being aware of that voice inside my head that said things like “I need to be thinner”, “I’d get more cool campaigns if I lost some weight”, “I could NEVER wear that”, “they’ve noticed the stretch marks on my legs I need to hide them!”. Sound familiar? The thing about that voice is that it constantly tells me that I’m not good enough and that something needs to change before I can love myself. Initially it was just about realizing when I was thinking those things and then I slowly started changing it and actually replacing it positive attributes about myself.
I started making mental lists of things I love about myself – inside and out. These are the things that were buried under-neither the negatives previously in the forefront of my mind. It doesn’t have to happen over night and I’ve found the list growing as you relearn to love myself and the body I’m in. These are a few examples of the attributes and features on my list: my laugh, warm personality, cheekbones, my bum, hips and full lips. I used the think it was vain to highlight the things you love about yourself but if you can do that for your loved ones why not do it for yourself? I’ve also had to change the ranking for what I saw as beautiful because we’ve been taught that it’s the blonde, perfectly toned, naturally slim girl next door, but why can’t that just be the average women?
I’m currently trying to embrace and love the body I have now by wearing clothing that I previously would have disqualified myself from just because I don’t have a model figure. This is a continuous process, as so many of you know but the thing that has helped immensely with this has been to simply adjust what monopolises my Instagram feed. Sounds dumb but because I spend a lot of time (more than I should) on the app it honestly has made the biggest difference to follow more women that are my size and body type. That way I’m not constantly seeing unrealistic exceptions of beauty, of a body that I will likely never have – because I’m not made that way and that’s okay!
Pivoting off that I thought I’d share some Instagram accounts that I’ve found inspiring and a breath of fresh air to my news feed in the hopes that they will inspire and encourage you the same way.
Hannah Gale shares honest tidbits about her life as a full time blogger and mom, mixed in with fashion inserts that don’t make you feel like you need to lose 10kg for them to look remotely acceptable. Her ‘HG Ten’ Instagram Stories are also a firm favourite in my weekly routine!
Lucy Wood is actually more of a YouTube favourite because she honestly and openly talks about her size 14 figure with confidence and it inspires me to accept my body and still dress well. I’m pretty damn obsessed with her size 14 series where she does honest clothing try-ons and hauls which I find myself smiling throughout.
Frances Perks is a mid-size fashion and lifestyle blogger with impeccable style and wonderfully unique & beautiful face. Her pictures make me want to scrap my entire wardrobe and start over with pieces that frame and enhance my figure rather than hide it.
Kate Wasley is a plus size model that makes me want to wear high-waisted bikini’s all through summer embracing every stretch mark, dimple and roll. In fact Kate is one of the main reasons I felt confident enough to buy two high-waisted bikini’s for this Summer – now just to wear them in public!
This is a tough post for me because I’m leaving myself vulnerable to scrutiny and horrible comments but I really do hope that if it gives even one of you a spark of inspiration to start embracing your body and loving yourself then it will be worth it!
I’d love to write more about this, if you guys are interested please leave me a comment. Also if you have any feedback or helpful tips to add to this please write them in the comments – lets continue the conversation there!