Monday, 17 December 2018

6 Ways To Feel Better About Your Body WIthout Dieting



Ever since I started talking about the body positivity movement, and my journey to body acceptance I have noticed how many people have commented on my new-found confidence and how they wished they could find a way to feel comfortable in their own skin too.

 Now I don't claim to have any magical quick fixes for that...it takes a lot of dedication to changing your mindset, a lot of reading feminist and body positive authors and a lot of re-assessing your entire self view and view of the world we live in to get there in my opinion...it doesn't happen overnight.

 But I do believe that there are certain quick and quite simple things you can do to improve the way you view your body and start to feel more confident about it.

Here are my Top 5!

1) Buy clothes that ACTUALLY fit

How obvious does this one seem, right?! You're probably thinking "Errrr duh, of course I do that already!" ... but do you really? I know I did not!

My weight fluctuates a lot. I have clothes in my wardrobe ranging from a size 12 to a size 24. I also find that I can go up or down an entire dress size depending on what time of the month it is.

Then there's the fact that I wear a completely different size depending on where I'm shopping...as I'd say the vast majority of women do thanks to the inconsistency in the fashion industry's sizing.

So really...how often are you wearing clothes that are truly the right fit for you? And how often are you squeezing yourself into something that fit great last summer but is now a bit too snug, or wearing something that's a bit too loose but you liked it so you put a belt on with it and try to make it work?

Of course its not always possible to buy new clothes and avoid wearing things that don't fit right - because money can be a big factor in that -  but wherever possible....try to make sure that you're wearing the right sized clothes for your body NOW, not your body 2 years ago.

Making do only makes you uncomfortable and it's tough not to feel self conscious when something is too tight on your tummy or pinching at your arms. You deserve to feel comfortable in everything that you put on your body.

If you're a plus size woman, take the time to source some stores that cater to your style and size...I spent so many years resigned to shopping in the tiny plus-size sections of high street stores thinking they were my only option. Little did I know that there is a HUGE selection of incredible plus size retailers online selling every style of clothing you can imagine.

Your size does not mean you have to compromise on style. OR comfort. And it certainly doesn't mean that fashion isn't for you!

And take it from me - the more comfortable you feel in your clothes, the more body confident you will feel.

2) Buy towels that go right around you!

Now I appreciate that the slimmer people out there will never have had to consider this, but trust me when I say that as a larger woman - it is not unusual to find that bath towels, usually the ones provided in hotels, are often quite small and won't wrap all the way around a larger body.

This inevitably sends you the message that your body is a problem and - in turn - makes you feel bad about yourself.

A simple way to resolve this is to buy yourself some towels that suit your body size - buy a proper bath sheet or two!

Yes they're pricey but they're so worth the investment if you can afford to make it...snuggle up in a towel that envelops your body in the way it deserves. And if you're going to stay in a hotel...take your bath sheet with you!!

3) Diversify Your Social Media Feed

This was the biggest mind-set game changer for me. It was the easiest change of all to make and it made SO MUCH DIFFERENCE to the way I thought about bodies and beauty, so very quickly.

The majority of us will follow celebrities and bloggers on social media, Instagram in particular, which is fine. But the problem with being continually exposed to images of women who are almost exclusively slim and toned with pouting lips, perfect make up and smooth hair is that we start to think that we can't compare to them because we don't look that way.

Imagine how much easier it would be for your mind to realise that all bodies look different and that every body is beautiful in its own way if you were exposed to an array of shapes and sizes on a daily basis instead of those cookie-cutter images we're so used to seeing.

Now stop imagining it, and make it a reality! Find accounts to follow that represent people of all different sizes, skin colours and abilities...and it won't be long before you start to accept that there is SO MUCH beauty in the world and it does not all look the same way.

4) Take Steps To Make Traveling and days out Easier

If you're a plus size person, then traveling can unfortunately throw up some challenges. Sadly the world isn't really made for people of all sizes, and you'll often find that things like airplane seats are a struggle if you're above a size 20.

This can cause a lot of embarrassment, particularly as so many people display their fatphobia and insensitivities with sniggering and mean comments, so to avoid that  - make things easier on yourself and take a seat belt extender on flights with you. You can order them cheap on Amazon, and having your own means you can pop it on discreetly without the need to ask the airline steward for one.

Other ways to make things a bit easier for yourself are by doing things like searching for plus size advice groups on Facebooks - you can find them for most theme parks, airlines etc - they're a place where plus size people can ask questions of other plus size travellers who have experience of the place you're visiting - they're particularly great if you're going to a theme park and you're not sure if the rides will accommodate you, it's so much better to get advice before you go rather than have that panicky feeling on the day about being turned away (not that you should need to feel any shame, but easier said than done given the way our society views and treats larger bodied people.)

5) Take the time to get familiar with and appreciate your body

This is probably the hardest one to do, but it's the one that yields the most reward in the long term.

Take the time to look at your body in the mirror. If you find your eyes automatically drawn to the area you're least happy with, stop...re-focus on other areas, and try to find 3 things you like about yourself.

Take a few minutes to really look at yourself. If you find yourself thinking of any negative descriptions such as "flabby"  try to reword them in your mind.

Find positive descriptions to use.

Words like soft, voluptuous, curvaceous...these are all powerful and positive words that are much kinder, and changing your internal monologue to use these more often can make such a profound difference over time.

Don't be afraid to get hands on too - simple exercises like embracing your tummy or feeling the smoothness of your skin can really help you to connect with your body and feel a sense of protection over it.

Your body is an incredible thing, it's what allows you to experience every sound, smell, taste and sight that you love...it's what allows you to live...why hate it for what it doesn't look like when you could love it for what it is and does for you.

6) Go To A Body Confidence Boosting Workshop Or Event!

This is something I intend to do much more of in 2019!

Infact I'm even planning to run one of my very own alongside a good blogging pal of mine, which I'm super excited about!

There are some amazing, empowering body confidence workshops and festivals out there which I am confident will be able to make a huge difference to your outlook on body image.

I am SO EXCITED to be attending my first body positive event in just a couple of weeks time...

The fabulous Nutriri, a Not for Profit Body Positive organisation teaching people to love the skin they're in and re-evaluate their relationship with food in a healthy and positive way  have teamed up with School Of Strut -  a dance class with a difference which aims to teach women of all shapes and sizes to flounce, parade, sashay and strutt their stuff run by body positive ambassador and Health At Every Size advocate Zoe McNulty - to bring a Body Positive event to Bristol just ahead of the new year!

Zoe & Helen's New Years Revolution looks set to be an empowering and incredible day - I am SO excited to learn more about Nutriri's approach to mindful and intuitive eating, and I absolutely cannot wait to set my inner diva free with the School Of Strut!

The event is taking place in Bristol on 29th December, and tickets are currently 2 for the price of 1 so an ideal gift for a girlfriend!!

The video belows gives a little glimpse of what can be expected:




Or you can read more about the event, or how Nutriri could still help you if you're not able to get to the event, HERE

I can't wait to report back and tell you how the day was!

***

If I'm honest, it breaks my heart a little bit to even have to write a guide to feeling better about our bodies but the truth is...it is HARD to live in our society (especially as a female) without feeling some degree of self-loathing when it comes to our physical appearances.

We're brought up in a world where we are constantly exposed to airbrushed images of women, many of whom have worked unusually hard or taken some extreme measures to achieve a slimmer than average figure...and often are surgically enhanced to boot.

Our vision of what an attractive woman is supposed to look like is distorted to say the least...and then there's the very fact that so many of us are so concerned with being considered attractive at all, often placing more importance on our looks than our intelligence, humanity, happiness, wellbeing or any of the values that make up a well rounded and happy individual.

Think about it...WHY do you feel that you HAVE to be attractive to others? Why do you think that will make you happier? You do not owe prettiness to anybody, nor is your attractiveness measured by anybody elses opinion of you or the way you look.

Be your own kind of beautiful, and truly believe in it...and nobody will ever have the power to make you feel ugly again.

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