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Women of different nationalities, sizes, personalities, and ages are being featured in marketing campaigns. Finally – a recognition that you don’t need to be “model thin” to be healthy, flexible, or active.
But breaking free of the mould that companies have put us in for generations isn’t easy. How can we change our self-image after years of false images of what the perfect woman should look like?
There’s always two sides to a story. As someone who’s struggled to put on weight their entire life, I’ve been the butt of many unwarranted comments. I’m in the thin category, but that doesn’t exempt me from experiencing anxiety over what I wear or eat, out of fear of negative comments from others.
No one’s feelings should be deemed unreasonable because of how they look. The “privilege” of being smaller comes with a heartache of its own.
As an advocate for body-positivity, I strive to encourage health at every size. I started my Instagram account as a way of bringing awareness to smaller people like me. However, the more I engaged with others who also struggled with body image, the more I recognised that this is a universal issue.
Here are some strategies to help you fall in love with the skin that you’re in
Do a social media detox
Remove accounts that make you feel like you don’t have the power to be a better version of yourself. If someone is making you feel guilty for your size, what you eat, or the clothes you wear, block and unfollow them. Your mental health is more important.
If this is new or difficult for you, try guided meditations. I still struggle with sitting alone with my thoughts after meditating daily for the past two years. I prefer guided meditations, and do them each morning and evening.
Have a support network
It’s important to have a real support network.
Sometimes the worst comments about our bodies come from the people closest to us. When I started my Instagram account I was shocked at the amount of positivity and encouragement from complete strangers.
Incorporate movement into your day
Regardless of your size or age, we need movement. The endorphins – or feel good hormones – that are released through exercise can have a significant impact on our overall wellness.
Do what feels right for you, whether that’s walking for 30 minutes a day, doing yoga, lifting weights, or playing sports. Yes – you can actually get quite the workout from doing laundry, vacuuming, or other household chores, but try to carve out at least 30 minutes for yourself each day. Choose movement that makes you feel good and is something you look forward to.
Eat whole foods
I believe in moderation and balance. You don’t need to eat perfectly every day. I like the 80:20 rule since it allows some flexibility.
If you’re vegan, keto, or gluten-free, only do it if it feels good for your body. Eating should not be restrictive and as someone who is wellness focused, I eat for longevity. I want to live a long, healthy life and want you to do the same. Bonus is that you’ll feel better after, too!
Track your habits
If there are positive habits you want to reinforce in your life to make you feel beautiful, strong, happy, and healthy – track them. The more you see consistent results, the more inclined you’ll be to incorporate them into your day-to-day.
I created a free one you can use here and I encourage you to share and provide feedback with your own habits you’ve created!
Share your story
There’s something to be said about sharing your own journey. We’re all beautiful in our own way and I encourage you to share your own experiences. If you don’t feel like you’re ready for that yet, write it down.
I hope these strategies have inspired you to make some positive changes in your life, and help you become a better, stronger version of yourself. These strategies have helped me significantly, and having a support network has been a huge part of that.
Read next: check out these 5 simple ways to improve your body confidence.
About the Author:
Elizabeth Shaw is a full time management consultant who lives a wellness focused lifestyle to ensure longevity. She started her Instagram account @thestrongskinny, and then www.thestrongskinny.com as a way to share body-positivity, low-impact exercises, and gut-friendly recipes – all of which are part of her own personal health journey. She shares her experiences in hopes of helping at least one other person.