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.

My mini workout at home

You know the days when you really don’t want to brave going to the gym or even worse going outside for a RUN but you still want to do some sort of exercise… well my answer to this is to do a mini workout at home. Even though you might not think it will do much, its not all about wearing yourself ragged with a massive long run or sweating it out at the gym for hours on end, its more importantly about sticking to some sort of exercise regime whatever that may be because progress and results only occur with consistency. My mini workout doesn’t really involve any fancy equipment, the only fancyish thing I use is a 5kg kettle ball for some exercises but you can improvise with things you have at home, whether that be a big bag of sugar (although that could be a recipe for disaster if a spillage occurs now I think about it) or simply anything heavy enough to make your arms work a little harder after a couple of reps. Or, you don’t have to use the kettle bell at all and just rely on your own bodyweight. I must point out that I am no fitness expert but these are just a few exercises that work for me and ones where I can really feel the burn the next day. So lets get started!

First up is the fire hydrant which really gets those glutes fired up (get it because its called a FIRE hydrant… not funny Molly). All you do is get on your hands and knees and lift one leg up at a time till you reach a right angle position or as far up as you can go. I do 3 sets of 10 reps and then on the last set of reps I will hold my leg up in a right angle position and do 15 mini pulses/reps which really sets my glutes on fire!

Still on your hands and knees, next are donkey kicks which again make your glutes really work for it. Instead of lifting your leg up to the side, you lift your leg up to the ceiling still in a right angle position remembering to squeeze those glutes all the way to the top and back down again. I do 3 sets of 10 reps for these as well and sometimes (if I’m feeling energetic) I will repeat the mini pulses/reps with this exercise as well, whilst holding my foot up in a right angle position towards the ceiling.

Sticking with the glutes theme, next is one of my favourite exercises to achieve that plump booty… SQUATS! I squat with a 5kg kettle bell, just to add a little bit of weight and make things slightly harder for myself. Remember when you squat to keep your chest out, shoulders back and look straight ahead to avoid injuries from bad posture. Also the wider the stance the more your glutes and hamstrings have to work, compared to a narrower stance which focuses more on the quadriceps. I usually opt for a wider stance as I aim to get that peachiness! I do 3 sets of 10 reps of these and sometimes will do a couple of pulses at the bottom of my squat before coming back up to really feel the burn.

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To get my heart rate up a bit I will then do 30 jumping squats which really takes it out of me and my complexion then resembles that of a bright red tomato!

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Another amazing exercise to work your quads, glutes and hamstrings are lunges. I do 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg whilst holding a kettle bell in one hand and believe me when I say my legs are burning after this exercise.

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Like many other people I want to be able to do a decent amount of consecutive press ups the ‘man’ style way, but for now I’m sticking to 3 sets of 10 reps with the ‘girls’ style press ups and a 30 second break in between and that suits me just fine. I can still feel the burn but I’m not collapsing every time my nose touches the floor. I need to walk before I can run.

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Now onto abs… the hardest part of this workout and also the weakest part of my body which doesn’t help matters. To get those abs engaged I do 50 crunches one after another and then lie on the floor for a bit until my abs stop burning.

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Then when my abs have recovered a little bit, I do 30 russian twists which really get those muscles working. I hold a kettle bell whilst twisting my abs from side to side but you can also do this without one. The further you go back the harder your abs have to work, so when you’re feeling like you can conquer the world you lie on back until you nearly touch the floor!

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And finally what better way to finish your abs off than the PLANK… my best friend and also my worst enemy. I tend to hold it for 2 minutes in total, but turning to the side every 30 seconds. So straight on for 30 seconds, then the left side for 30 seconds, then the right side and back to the front again for the last 30 seconds. This is one of those exercises that you really dread doing beforehand but just feel so good afterwards. I admit I have to force myself every time to commit to this.

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Lastly to round the whole routine off I do my favourite exercise of all time… WALL SITS! I usually pretend that I’m just about to sit on an imaginary chair, get really low and hold it for about 2-3 minutes depending on how badly my legs are shaking by that point. Trust me sometimes they shake so uncontrollably that I’m amazed myself.

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I hope you enjoyed my mini workout routine and maybe even found it useful. I just want to say that I’m well aware you can see my roles in some of these photos, my skin is a weird complexion and there are some pretty unflattering angles of my body but thats me and I don’t intend to hide that. This is simply me in my room just showing you the exercises that I usually do if I don’t go to the gym or go for a run. None of these images have been retouched or photoshopped in any way as thats not how you would see me in real life so why should I portray to you someone that I’m not? Like always I stick by my motto Be True Be You.