Better Body Image
I always wanted better body image. For a very long time I thought wearing a sports bra on a hot summer run was reserved for women who had lean, fit bodies and I wasn’t one of them. I really wanted to be able to ditch that top layer, that feels like a weight vest sometimes when the humidity is suffocating. Mostly, I wanted to be confident enough to pull it off, even if my body wasn’t lean and fit and I seriously lacked that confidence.
If you were to chart my confidence though my life thus far it would look a bit like a reversed bell curve-there was a serious valley in my teens and twenties, where I didn’t just lack confidence but I loathed myself. You could say that my confidence has made a recovery, although it is not so much a recovery as a discovery.
I feel as if I’ve discovered what it really means to be confident even when the circumstances around you or your experiences don’t make you feel confident.
I can tell you:
It’s not about the number on the scale.
It’s not about the size on the tag.
It’s not about how you want to “feel” in your clothes.
It’s not about how what you eat makes you “feel.”
It’s not about how lean you are.
It’s not about how fit you are.
It’s about you.
Believe vs. Feel
It is about what you believe about yourself. Not what you feel.
So often we tell ourselves that if I can weigh XX then I’ll feel confident.
If I can fit into size X then I’ll feel better about myself.
If I can only feel confident in my clothes then I’ll be content.
If I eat clean then I’ll feel better about myself.
If I can just be more fit and more lean, then I’ll be happy.
We can certainly make changes based on these feelings. They are effective motivators because we keep thinking that if we just get there then we will feel confidence we’ve been striving for.
The thing is that you can have ALL of that. You can be the weight you always wanted, wear the size that eluded you for so long, feel small in your own clothes and control every bite you eat and still lack confidence.
Maybe you’ll feel a sense of pride in the accomplishment, but confident? Probably not.
There was a time in my life when I weighed far, far less than I do now. I had achieved the number on the scale I thought would make me feel happy, but it wasn’t enough.
I had lost far more than I ever thought I could. I felt small in my own clothes. I controlled every bit of food that crossed my lips. When I looked in the mirror all I could see were flaws, yet everyone else saw a shadow of who I once was. I walked around loathing my body and fighting against it. I was the furthest thing from confident. My pursuit of weight-loss didn’t land me the confidence I longed for, it landed me in the hospital with an anorexia diagnosis which then spiraled into a nine year battle with bulimia.
There was a time in my life that I weighed far, far more than what I weigh now (and I wasn’t pregnant). I cringed a little when I looked in the mirror and at pictures of myself. I felt big in my own clothes. But I wasn’t obsessing about food anymore, or how it made me feel. I wasn’t quite confident yet, but I was getting there. I had seven months of “sobriety” from bingeing and purging to encourage me that maybe, I could put this demon disorder behind me and finally be the confident woman I longed to be. I was no where near my “ideal” weight, but I was edging my way closer to happy.
Here I am today, the weight that I am, in clothes that are sometimes feel comfortable and sometimes don’t, eating food that tastes delicious to me, and I am confident. Sure it waivers from time to time, but my confidence isn’t affected by the number on a scale or the size on a tag or how my clothes feel or how my food makes me feel or what other people think of me.
It has been a long process to find out what it really means to be confident, to shed the layers of self-doubt and loathing that dogged me for most of my adult life and learn to love myself. It was a long, slow process of transformation. As I’ve spent time reflecting on what exactly changed I have realized that there are five principles that have helped me transform my body image and find confidence.
- Become Aware-if you want to change what you believe about yourself, you first have to identify how what you think about yourself. Becoming aware of the internal narrative that plays through your mind on a day to day basis is important in moving forward.
- Expose the Lie-once you’ve identified the thoughts you have about yourself, you must identify the lies. Sometimes this can be difficult, especially for thought patterns that have been engrained over a lifetime. But in dragging the lies we tell ourself out into the light, we break their power over us.
- Speak the Truth-for every lie we’ve told ourselves we must find the truth and speak that to ourselves. And we aren’t easily fooled, these truths need back up evidence so that when we slip into old ways of thinking we have a way out.
- Rewrite the Internal Narrative-changing the internal narrative takes practice, rewiring the brain, learning new ways of thinking
- Learn to Love-the thing that makes it all click is love. We have to learn to love ourselves, if you’ve been tearing yourself down for years this is no easy feat but is absolutely essential for change.
This week on Instagram Live I’ll be sharing those five principles and outlining how I went from a place of destructive self-loathing to a place of confidence and self-love. Each day I’ll go LIVE to talk about one of these principles and share how I’ve “cracked the code” of self-confidence and healthy body image.
Join me each day this week at 7pm EST on Instagram.
I love connecting with readers! You can find me here:
Email: RunFarGirl [at] gmail [dot] com