Five steps to being body confident

First of all I need to clear something up here, there is no right or wrong way to be body confident because it’s something that is individual and personal to you. Body confidence is something that I have definitely struggled with in the past and you don’t just suddenly gain it overnight. We’ve all been there when you don’t feel confident enough to wear that  dress because you’re paranoid about your tummy protruding through or that skirt because you don’t like the look of your legs. A lot of body confidence comes with age as you discover your body shape but it also comes from loving yourself and feeling comfortable in your own skin. So I’m going to share with you 5 things that I’ve learnt and do to gain body confidence.

1.  Exercise. When I exercise it automatically makes me feel better about myself and so much more confident because I feel great on the inside and outside. Whether that be going for a run, a quick gym session, workout routine at home or just  simply walking it doesn’t matter just as long as its some sort of exercise. Some days I know I need to exercise to function properly as I get into this weird mood where I’m all grump and cranky until I’ve got that heart rate up and muscles pumping.

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2. Selfies. Now I know this sounds rather vein but honestly taking selfies really does help with body confidence and anyway why should it be seen as a crime to take photos of yourself!? But its important to remember that when you take these selfies DO NOT criticise yourself, instead point out the things you like about your body and the things you’re proud of because everyone deserves to be proud of who they are.

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3. Surrounding yourself with supportive, loving people. The people around you and those who influence you are so important in terms of confidence. You need people who lift you up and bring out the best in you, which even applies to people on social media. That’s why on Instagram I follow those who inspire, motivate and educate me. For example one of the accounts I actively follow is the amazing and inspiring @iskra who is an Aerireal role model promoting body confidence and embracing every body shape. If you surround yourself with positivity and confidence then this will radiate through you as well.

4. Learn to appreciate but don’t compare. Now this is something that I have only recently mastered and I admit I still struggle to stick to this sometimes. What I mean by learning to appreciate but don’t compare is that you can appreciate other peoples body shape and appearances but it is important not to compare yourself to them and even worse beat yourself up about the fact that you don’t look like them. We’ve all been there and said ‘Ohhh I wish I looked like her/him’ but I’m here to remind you that every single one of us is unique and our uniqueness should be celebrated and not used to compare or make people feel bad about themselves. Once you stop comparing yourself its amazing what this can do to your confidence levels. Now you might be thinking what about all the things on social media though? Well truth is social media can be both an amazing and dangerous platform but it essentially comes down to how you perceive it and how you allow it to influence you. I allow social media to influence me in a positive way and in turn I aim to project this positivity throughout my social media as well. 

5. Wear and keep clothes that fit you. Now I know this sounds kind of stupid and obvious but you know those pair of jeans that you’ve had for ages and are still a little too small but you don’t want to chuck them out because you might get into them one day… just chuck them out! Trust me I’ve been there with my small clothes hoarding syndrome and its definitely not healthy for you. I kept all my size 8/10 clothes for about a year even though they didn’t fit me at all, but I realised this was just me desperately trying to cling onto the body shape I used to have and not embracing the body shape I now have. This was wrong as all I would achieve was wasting 5 minutes of my time trying to squeeze my mermaid thighs into my tight fitting jeans which would then lead to me being upset  and feeling rubbish about myself because they don’t go past my knees. Great confidence comes with feeling great in what you wear and more importantly feeling comfortable in it, so get rid of those clothes that no longer fit as hard and sad as it is I know but its got to be done. Just think of it this way it now frees up more room for better clothes that actually fit!

Now this isn’t an extensive list on how to be body confident by any means, it’s just what I’ve found that works for me along my journey with my body so far. To this day I’m still learning and discovering things about myself and my confidence levels. Of course I have my up days and down days just like everyone else does, but this is all part of the learning process. There will probably never be a definitive day when you could say ‘I am totally, 100% body confident’ but this doesn’t mean you don’t love yourself or that you aren’t body confident at all, it just means you are being true to yourself; like my saying goes Be True Be You.

Beauty, size what are they to you?

I just want to start of saying thank you to all those who participated in my questionnaire, I really appreciate the honest and open responses that I received. It was really interesting to gather different peoples perspectives of beauty and size and what it means to them. In todays society we are bombarded with so many people telling us what we should look like or what we should aim to achieve and from the results it is clear to see that this has had a major influence on us.

The first question was ‘what do you think is the perfect size to be in clothing?’ The responses to this question both did and didn’t surprise me as the majority of people answered a size 10/12 which is what I used to aspire to be. But the most interesting answers were those that selected the ‘other’ option. The majority of people who answered ‘other’ explained that there is no perfect size as it depends on who you are. This made me smile when I read this as it really does depend on who you are. I’m a classic example of this as a few years ago if you’d have asked me this question I would have said a size 8/10 but now I would say exactly what was said here; it really depends on you as a person and what you feel comfortable with.

The second question was ‘are you happy with your current size?’ Now the responses to this one were slightly disheartening as the majority of people said no. Following on from this question was ‘if said no to the previous question what size would you want to be in clothing? and the majority of people selected a size 12. This supports the responses from the first question about what is the perfect size and reveals that the majority of people aspire to be  that  ‘perfect size’ themselves. I deliberately put ‘perfect size’ in quotations here because as participants mentioned before there’s no such thing, because A size is individual and B how can there be a ‘perfect size’ if shops aren’t consistently producing clothing to the same measurements. I know from my shopping experience I can be a size 12 in some shops and then a 16 in others! Also I’ve often wondered who decided that these specific measurements were going to be a size 12 or size 14. Why does having a 29 inch waist grant you a size 12?

Moving onto the questions about beauty where it was really eye opening. The first question was ‘what is beauty to you?’ The general answers I received were about feeling confident, comfortable and happy with yourself which I would strongly agree with. Confidence is key, everything from body confidence to studying for exams or even going for a job interview. I mean you would’t walk into a job interview with no confidence at all, act all shy and mutter when you’re asked questions, obviously you’ll be nervous, but how can you expect the employer to put their faith into employing you when you haven’t got the confidence to talk to them? This is the same with body confidence how can you expect society to embrace all shapes and sizes when you aren’t confident with the way you look. Everyone has the right to be confident in themselves and more importantly everyone has the right to love themselves.

The next question was ‘do you think you’re beautiful/handsome’ and as expected the majority of people answered no. This is understandable because not many people like to talk about themselves in a positive light. Many people are quick to highlight their negatives but when faced with flaunting their strengths, we kind of go all shy and modest because we don’t want to appear arrogant. My response to this is its okay to admit that you think you’re beautiful. We are ALL beautiful as beauty doesn’t take a specific form. I realise that you wouldn’t necessarily go up to someone and say ‘I’m beautiful by the way’ but maybe when you’re taking those selfies or looking at yourself in the mirror (as come on everyone does that every now and then even if its for squeezing those spots) try and point out the things that you like about yourself as this will not only boost yourself esteem but also boost your confidence.

And lastly the final two questions were ‘would you change anything about your body’ and ‘if said yes to the previous question what would you change?’ There was no surprise here as the majority by far said yes. The most common answer about what you would like to change was generally slimming down and toning up, especially round the stomach area. I myself have had these same thoughts… I need to be slim and have a flat stomach with wash board abs and my bingo wings need to firmer and not wobble like jelly every time I move them. Well my time thinking these thoughts are over as I’ve been slimmer and basically had a flat stomach but you know what it was so hard to maintain and I was so miserable and grumpy all the time because I hardly ate anything and would feel really guilty if I had even a small square of chocolate, that I choose my now size 14 self with a rather large bum and a little pouch on my belly for my food baby. So I may have rolls when I sit down and my thighs may splatter out onto every chair that I sit on but hey ho I get too much enjoyment out of food and more importantly I choose to lead a happy life. This is not to say that my way is the right way by any means as I am a strong believer that everyone is unique and it is just about finding whats right for you and you’re body. There’s no harm in having goals such as toning up or slimming down, but just remember that they have to be realistic and right for you. If you’re happy with the way you are but feel the need to change for others, PLEASE DON’T! Embrace who you are as there’s no one else like you out there  and remember to Be True Be You.

The truth about Instagram photos

So you’re trawling through your Instagram feed looking at all these photos of beautiful women who evidently go to the gym, eat healthily and have natural glowing skin to match their perfectly shaped body. If you’re an Instagram addict like me then you’ll know the kind of girls I’m talking about. We all, once in our lives, have aspired to be like them but I’m here to tell you today that not all of what you see is true. In today’s society its so easy to manipulate photos with the magical help of airbrushing and effects. So that perfectly smooth baby bum skin may just be the works of a expert photoshopper with a hint of wizardry in the form of an app. Personally I was shocked to see what you could actually do on these apps from changing the shape of your face to your whole friggin body. That just ain’t right and more importantly that just ain’t you. Not sticking to my moto, Be true Be you, I’ll tell you that right now. Also what I find with all these Instagramers is that they really know how to pose to accentuate their assets if ya know what I’m saying. So I decided to have a go at all this professional Instagram photo stuff and it was quite interesting I must say but I’ll let you be the judge…

First up is the dreaded straight on photo which isn’t particularly my most flattering angle but by just making minor body movements, i.e. pushing my hips to the side and my bum out slightly, I wouldn’t say its 100 times better but I’d probably say its 80% better as it actually looks like I have a figure rather than just thick thighs (which I love and am very proud of don’t get me wrong, they just don’t need to be the centre of attention all the time). Also notice that by taking the photo from further away my body looks more in proportion and elongated which is always a good thing.

Now lets get to the be-hind area, my favourite but also most dreaded area when taking photos. One thing you have to remember when you have a big bum is that you gotta know its shape and learn how to work it. Here is a classic example in figure hugging jeans that are a godsend as well as nightmare. As you can see from the photos, the relaxed position on the left does nothing for my figure and actually makes my bum look rather strange, plus look at all those lines on my jeans! Compared to the right one where I’ve again stuck my booty out and placed my hand on my thigh to accentuate my curves. Also by sticking that booty out you can actually see my waist HALLELUJAH! I’ve gone from pancake to peachy in a matter of one position change.

Next I tried taking photos in a bodycon dress. Now this is something that all us curvy girls absolutely love but its just so hard to find one that doesn’t ride up as soon as you start walking. They also can be a bit tricky when it comes to taking photos as there’s no hiding in them I’ll tell you that. I must admit this one isn’t too bad but by slightly adjusting my hip position to the side and crossing my legs I feel it elongates my figure and gives me more of a shape.

The be-hind shot is a little different. As you can see from the left photo my butt looks a little spread out and isn’t able to shine like it is in the right photo. All you gotta do is tilt those hips to the side and push that booty out and BOOM bigger butt smaller waist. Also you can see that the right photo is a much closer shot than the left and yes that’s deliberate cuz you wanna give that booty the centre stage it deserves, especially in a bodycon dress.

Then the real business began when I started playing around with airbrushing. I can honestly say that I will now cautiously look at Instagram photos knowing what people have access to and what they can do with those things. So this is my attempt at airbushing…

I know its not a mega drastic change but you can see that my skin is baby bum soft approved, I now have mascara, my eyes are brighter and my lips are soft pink. I much prefer the left one with no filters, nothing if you ask me.

And then it gets worse when you can change the shape of your body. Now this is something that I am totally against. It may only be a minor difference as my legs look slimmer and my waist looks smaller but that’s just not me. Why pretend to be someone that you’re not just for some likes on Instagram? People should like you for who you are and not what you pretend to be as you can’t keep pretending your whole entire life. You’ve just got to embrace you for you and remember always Be True Be You.