Surprise surprise, here comes another post about body image. What can I say? It’s such an active part of my life and something I’m working at every day so it’s naturally going to be a reoccurring topic.
I want to discuss the current steps I’m taking to improve my self-image and work on my insecurity issues. These are little battles I’m fighting on a daily basis to become more comfortable in my skin and accept myself as I am. Some of the things I’m struggling with you may read and think “YES! I DO THE SAME THING!” or you may think “Oh my god that’s really a thing…?” But yes, all of this is all real, all me. I know I’ll need to fully open up and be honest with myself to be successful.
My big goal from this point on is practicing BODY POSITIVITY. I want to FULLY ACCEPT and LOVE every ounce of my healthy human body because IT DESERVES TO BE LOVED.
Problems that I have and the progress I’m trying to make:
1. If I’m at home, every time I walk past a mirror I have to look in it.
Now this problem for me is not so much in public, honestly it’s probably just because I don’t want to look like I’m looking at myself (ha-ha the irony). This is such a nuisance to me though because I know what I look like!!!! Why must I look in the mirror every time I walk past one, has my appearance drastically changed in the past hour? I am now consciously working towards NOT looking in the mirror. I know it’s ridiculous to just think I can stop looking in mirrors in general, but there’s ways to take baby steps. My goals are to only look in the mirror when I’m getting ready for the day, or when I’m using the sink. I did this for a bit a couple months ago and I appreciated the sense of relief I felt, unfortunately I fell off. I’ll start again today.
2. Sucking In
Now I have to give myself some credit here. I’ve made some really big improvements in this area over the past year. I do however, have to give some credit to having dated someone who constantly made me feel more than beautiful and did wonders for my self-esteem. Having a person whose opinion you care about deeply and who always tell you how perfect you are to them, helps more than you can imagine. I barely find myself sucking in now when a year ago I felt like I was genuinely suffering every day. It got to the point where if I was in fairly form fitting clothing, my body would feel tight as if I was never really allowing my lungs to fill up all the way because then my belly would puff out. Do you see what I just typed there? I literally wouldn’t breathe deeply because of my body insecurities. One step I’m taking to help with this is to record majority of my yoga flows without a shirt on. While this seems like a drastic change and kind of odd, I’ll tell you why it works for me. The entire idea of yoga is meditation through the body. Throughout an entire flow, my main focus is breathing deep and heavy. When practicing, your body is sweaty, bending in every which way and breathing is intense. This is the time when my body is the most exposed and real. I record a lot of my flows to perfect poses and critique myself, so it’s very beneficial for me to be able to watch the recordings back afterwards. When doing so I can see, “hey, I’m not looking too bad!” or “Wow I didn’t know I had that muscle!” Not everything is glamorous don’t get me wrong, but it’s refreshing when you have an extremely distorted perception of what you look like.
3. Getting back in the gym
I started becoming active in the gym at around the time I entered high school, maybe a year earlier. My father is a personal trainer and has always been psycho about health and fitness. Since that time up until this past year, I had gone to the gym at least 3 times a week every week. Even on vacations you would find my dad and I at the resort gym before we pigged out on our breakfast. The longest gap I’d had in working out was probably a week max and that may have only happened once or twice in the past 7 years. These past six months I have been struggling with some personal issues and my mental health wasn’t at its best. For me, working out has always been an outlet. The rush of endorphins made my mind and body feel good and I would genuinely rely on it to get me out of a gloomy mood. When I’m depressed, getting myself to the gym is just about impossible. Luckily in high school my father was there to keep me active throughout my lows. Now that I’ve moved away for college and have a lot more freedom, I’ve allowed myself to succumb to the depression and keep me out of the place I rely on for emotional release. In the past two weeks I’ve been doing well again. I’ve been back in the gym about 3-4 times a week just like I used to be, and I swear it worked for me like clock-work. The cloud above me started to pass almost immediately. I don’t know exactly what it is. We read everywhere that a good diet and exercise is good for your mind but holy shit. The hardest part for me was making time. It’s helpful to have someone close to you that shares the same interests. If you go to the gym 4 times a week and become involved with someone who never goes, it may be hard for you to keep it up. Ask your partner to join you, it’s important to put yourself first sometimes and it’ll benefit them also. My goal with this is to make sure I’m reserving ME TIME for myself and the gym.
4. Bare Belly Out
A strange thing about my body insecurities is that I’m just as insecure when I’m by myself. It really shouldn’t be that way. It’s not like I’m being self-conscious of what others are thinking of me because I’M ALONE. Back maybe 2 years ago when I was struggling heavily with the sucking in, I would literally wear an incredibly baggy oversized shirt to bed and find myself sucking in while lying down. That’s just plain crazy. Regardless, it’s the truth. My little way of combatting this now is to be shirtless around myself more often. I probably sound insane when I say these things because some of you just may not be able to relate to this at all, or just think my solutions sound ludicrous. To me there’s method to my madness. I need to be fully comfortable with myself before I expect to feel comfortable around others. Just changing into a sports bra when I get home for the day and allowing myself to move freely and not make any criticisms about my body is a big accomplishment. This also ties hand in hand with not looking into the mirror during my sports bra time. Baby steps.
I hope that by sharing these things with you it will benefit you as it has me. There’s certainly a calmness in knowing that you’re not alone. As I know I mention in a lot of my posts, we are women living in a body obsessed society. We need to come together, uplift one another and learn to love who we are as we are.