19 April 2017

BUILDING A BETTER RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR BODY


I've been wanting to write a post about body confidence for a while but, the thing is, it is still a huge work in progress for me, so I tried to think of another approach and ended up deciding I would just type and see what flowed. This post is going to go hand in hand with a YouTube video I am putting up (linked at the bottom of the post!) about how to over come self-consciousness and anxiety in the gym as I thought they would make rather a nice pair (oo-er!).

My struggle with body confidence has been going on for as long as I can remember and, in-fact, I don't think I can remember a time when I actually liked the body I am in. It is only since I have reached my mid-thirties that I have realised just how sad that statement is. As I connect with myself more (spiritually) and realise that we are all just a part of this beautiful planet and everything connects, I understand more about the shell I am in and just how amazing it is. I am strong; I can lift heavy things and withstand hard times, physically and emotionally, and come out the other side feeling like I have learnt something new about the world, yet I still feel the need to criticise myself. We are all guilty of this and, I know it isn't easy, but it really has to stop or, at the very least, become less of a normal occurrence.

Physically speaking, I can honestly say that I am in the best condition I have ever been in. This doesn't necessarily mean aesthetically, but in terms of the food I put into my body to give it health and vitality and the type of exercise I do. I am listening more to how my body is feeling, really feeling and, on days where I feel utterly worn down, I am listening, not pushing. I take myself out for a walk or just totally rest or even nap if I need it. In the past I would binge often and exercise relentlessly without a care for my body warning me it was breaking down. I would be making little or no progress due to the cycle of binge eating and then not eating enough. The strain this had on my mental health was insane (and God only knows what state my metabolism was in).

Last year I went on a total mission, paid for an on-line coach and hit it hard. I did well, going from a size 16 to a 12 (not that size matters, but it is an understandable way of comparison I guess). I learnt so much from the months I spent training with my coach and I can honestly say that I haven't slipped back into my old ways at all. But with weight loss, came other issues. This is the thing about life, it throws you constant things to learn and adapt to. 

You see, in my teens, I was overweight, often needing clothes over a size 18. Please don't think I am judging here, I am not and I would never judge people on their size, I am simply using it as a comparison to where I am today. I honestly think I cared less then than I do now about how I looked (I blame social media for that!), but the point I am aiming towards is that now, at a (large) size 12, I have more visible evidence of where my body has been, like a road map of its journey. I have loose skin on the lower part of my stomach and my inner thighs; it hurts so much in the summer when they rub together and it makes me miserable to look at them in the mirror. Sometimes I stand looking at myself and pull the skin out the way, just to imagine what I would feel like if it wasn't there (and imagine the dresses I could wear in the warmer months without bleeding and rashes on my thighs!). 

Some days I love the fact that I have all these things on my body as, without this journey, I would not be who I am today, but other days I just get angry and frustrated that I have to work so hard to maintain who I am now. But, what I have learnt, and this is the most important thing, is that looking a certain way doesn't come first anymore. What comes first is mental health/spiritual health and the rest comes below that. I am lucky to be healthy and be free and that is a huge thing to be grateful for.

Building a relationship with our bodies, especially as women, is a continuous learning curve but it really is something that needs more attention and more of a positive image in the media. I find it laughable (and I am really talking about myself here) how we can lose lots of weight, fit into smaller clothes, feel healthier and stronger and more alive, yet still only see the flaws. Where has that mindset come from and why does it exist? I am lucky that I am old enough to be able to handle it and know when I am being a total moron, but I think we should all get together to tell each other how amazing we all are, because we really are incredible.

Our bodies are a temporary and fragile shell and they show the evidence of things we have been through, injuries we have sustained and things we have managed to withstand over time. Treat it well and stop the negative talk in the mirror. We can do this; let's build better relationships with our bodies right now and use all that energy we spend on negative self-talk to build each other up.

Thank you so much for reading this post. If you have any comments or anything you would like me to discuss then just pop them down below. I would love you to check out the YouTube video below that I made about dealing with anxiety and confidence in the gym too! If you haven't already subscribed to my YouTube Channel I would love it so much if you did, just click here to subscribe!

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