If I asked you “Are you body confident?” what would you say? This question usually raises laughter with many women saying “No way!” Recently I arranged to have some up to date photographs taken of some of my classes for promotion and everybody was asking me if they were going to be photo-shopped or airbrushed! Negative body talk seems to be ingrained in us as women. It’s something we bond over. But what is body confidence anyway and why is it so hard to embrace?
Let’s start with what body confidence ISN’T.
It is not about being thin and it is not about having the perfect curves. It is not about being a certain shape or size. It is not about being strong or toned. It is not about being super fit. It is not about looking perfect (whatever that is!) It is not about thinking you look perfect either! It is not about never wearing makeup or doing your hair ever again. It is not about never having a down day about your looks. It is not about not wanting to make a change. It is not about being a feminist. It is not about being obsessed with looks and equally it is not about not caring what you look like! It has nothing to do with making a statement about how looking one way is better than looking another way. It is not about having reached a certain goal.
Being body confident does not make you vain.
Why does embarrassment always rear its ugly head when we are given a compliment? There is nothing big-headed about taking a compliment or paying yourself one!
Speaking of compliments, body confidence is about being able to pay someone else a compliment without it making you feel down about yourself. I’m talking about admiring someone else’s beauty without questioning your own. We live in a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ society which leads us to constantly compare ourselves to others on social media. Being body confident is about taking a step back from comparison and finding acceptance and happiness in where you are right now.
I’m not body confident, I’d love to look differently!
You can want to lose weight, gain weight, gain muscle, get fitter, get slimmer, get curvier or get more toned and still be body confident! Body confidence does not have to be you saying “I am where I want to be.” You can say “I would like to be there” whilst feeling proud with where you are now and without beating yourself up that you are not where you want to be yet. It’s about feeling happy in the clothes you wear and saying “I look nice today.” If you don’t feel like this maybe it’s time for new clothes! It’s about actually looking at yourself in the mirror instead of running past it with a grimace.
We all feel better with our hair and makeup done and our favourite outfit on. This doesn’t mean we aren’t confident! Being confident is about when you take away those things and say ‘OK, this is me’ (or sing it if you’re a ‘The Greatest Showman’ fan!)
But how do you gain body confidence especially if you’ve never had it before?
Shift your focus from what your body looks like to what it can do. Exercise really does have magical powers! It has worked wonders on my own body confidence and I’ve seen a change in so many of the ladies that come to my classes. Finding exercise you enjoy and getting into fitness has such a positive impact on your self-esteem. It gives you pride, a sense of achievement and a feeling of ‘I CAN do anything!’ It helps you look at your body in a different way, as something far more important than just a clothes horse!