I asked you all over stories which blog post you wanted to see first, and this one took the lead with votes! I think this is something that all of us struggle with to some extent. No matter what you look like, no one is body confident 100% of the time. However, I like to think that over the years and going through my own struggles with feeling confident in my own skin, that I’ve learned a few things that have gotten me to a much better place. Of course I still have days and moments where I feel insecure or I am self critical but they are few and far between compared to several years ago.
One thing that has continued to resonate with me through the years is what I wrote about in this blog post: Why I Forced Myself to Become Less Gym & Body Obsessed. For a long time, I was comparing myself to other women on social media (shocker) and most of these were women were personal trainers for a living. I finally came to the realization –why I am comparing myself to someone who lives a different lifestyle than me? And a lifestyle that doesn’t even align with what I want out of life at that. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with living a lifestyle that is more “strict” or “focused” –however, just because someone else has chosen that path doesn’t mean that you need to as well.
I think sometimes we forget that. Just because Susie is ripped and has what you deem as the “perfect” body doesn’t mean that you need to look like Susie to be confident, happy, successful, etc. Since social media is such a visual platform, it is sometimes hard to see past that physical exterior. When in reality, we all have different goals and priorities and that’s okay. It’s okay if one of your goals is to just be healthy and feel good in your own skin without having “perfect abs.” One thing that really helped me stop focusing so much on the physical was following women on social media that were outside the fitness space. I started following women that were inspiring to me because of who they were, and the life they were living and not because they had “the perfect body.”
Below is an excerpt from the blog post I mentioned above that really helped me change my overall mindset.
“This mindset of mine shifted Christmas 2016. I remember being stressed the few days I was home and out of my routine–Christmas dinner, and just in general the food around the holidays and not being as “on track”, etc. I was standing in front of my mirror ready to take a progress picture to see how my body had changed after being out of my strict routine for a couple weeks and I thought to myself’– “Is this what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life?” For the rest of my life am I going to be taking progress photos? Am I going to be so stressed about holidays and vacations that it takes the enjoyment out of them? Am I going to be panicked if I go out with friends more than 1x a week? It was in that moment that I was like, what am I doing?! This is ridiculous. This is not how I want to live the rest of my life; this is not sustainable or enjoyable. Like I’m doing all this to myself just for the sake of being leaner?”
Having these thoughts of “is this how I want to live the rest of my life?” is what really changed things for me. I was tired of so many of my thoughts revolving around how my physical body was going to change. It became exhausting, and I knew it wasn’t sustainable. I knew I needed to find an actual balance in order to live a happy life.
Changing this mindset isn’t something that can happen overnight. It’s something you have to constantly work on. So in the meantime, here are a few tangible things that I’ve found helpful.
-Wear clothes that fit, flatter, and that you feel comfortable in! Throw away the jeans that don’t fit anymore from 2 years ago and stop trying to make them fit! I’ve shared this before but for the longest time I was a size small in bikini bottoms and over the years as I’ve gained weight, I was no longer a size small….but I kept trying to wear them. The result? Every time I’d put on a swimsuit I’d feel terrible, have no confidence, etc. And then one day I switched to a size medium and voila! Instantly felt so much better in my own skin.
-Don’t constantly assess yourself in the mirror. Stop doing the constant ab checks, progress photos etc. If you’re working towards a specific physical goal, I totally understand “checking in” every so often but there is no reason you need to be assessing your progress everyday. One, actual progress takes time (months, not weeks) and IMO, when you’re spending so much of your day-to-day checking your physical progress, those thoughts start to take over your mind. You don’t want those thoughts about “how much progress your gaining or losing” to become a constant thought each day.
-Don’t follow people on social media that make you feel bad about your body. Of course no one is posting photos to make other people feel bad about themselves! But you know what will put you in a negative headspace. Like I mentioned above, I personally needed to follow less people in the fitness space, and start following more people whose lifestyle aligned with mine. When I followed too many people in the fitness space, it made me feel like I needed to care more about my physical appearance/workouts/diet than I actually wanted to.
-Ask yourself what your priorities are? What truly brings you happiness? Like I mentioned above, when we follow or look at how other people are living their life, and it has the ability to influence ours. Sometimes that’s in a positive way and other times not so much. You want to follow people who inspire you to be a better version of yourself, vs. making you feel bad or guilty that you aren’t doing enough. Ask yourself what your priorities and goals are, and engage with people who help inspire you to do/be those things. Also, something I like to do is ask myself –If I wasn’t following XYZ and I wasn’t influenced by how they look –would I want my lifestyle to look like theirs? Meaning, it’s easy to look at someone is really good shape and be like I want that! But if you stepped away and didn’t compare your life to theirs, would you be happy with your current priorities and how you’re choosing to live your life? If the answer is yes, don’t let an IG photo make you feel otherwise. Make sense?!
I hope this post helped guys! Just know that feeling confident in your own skin is something that everyone struggles with to a certain extent and you’re not alone! But it is possible to get to a much better headspace where it’s not something that consumes your daily thoughts. It just takes time and practice. Try implementing some of the tangible tip above and I promise it will help! xx C