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Guest post by Elizabeth Shaw of The Strong Skinny
We are starting to see a paradigm shift – one that challenges a life that many of us lived through and still battle to this day. Women of different nationalities, sizes, personalities, and ages are being shared on different marketing campaigns. Finally, a recognition that you do not need to be “model thin” to be healthy, flexible, or active.
However, breaking free of the mould that companies have put us in for generations is not easy. How can we alter someone’s self-image after years of negative, false images of what the perfect woman should look like?
In fact, there’s always two sides to a story. As someone who has struggled to put on weight their entire life, I have been the butt of many unwarranted comments. I am in the thin category but that does not exempt me from experiencing anxiety from what I wear or eat from fear of negative comments from others. No one’s feelings should be unjustified 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 account as a way of bringing awareness to smaller people like me. However, the more I engaged on social media and with others who also struggled with body image, the more I recognized that the spectrum is quite broad. I personally focus on low-impact exercises since I struggle with IBS and digestive issues. High impact exercises or spin classes (which I loved) just didn’t make sense for me anymore and further exacerbated my IBS symptoms and my ability to keep on weight.
I share some strategies below to help you fall in love with the skin that you’re in. Do what makes you feel good!
Do a social media detox.
Remove accounts that do not fulfill you or make you feel like you 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 can or cannot wear, unfollow them. Your mind and how you feel is more important.
If this is new or not easy for you, try guided meditations. I still struggle with sitting alone with my thoughts and I started meditating almost daily two years ago. I prefer guided meditations and reserve the time to do that each morning and evening.
Have a support network (Hint: a real one).
Sometimes the negativity and the worst comments about our bodies come from the people closest to us. I started my Instagram account @thestrongskinny and 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 your overall wellness. Do what feels right for you: if it’s going for a walk for 30 minutes a day, yoga, lifting weights, pilates, 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 am all about moderation and balance. You do not need to eat perfectly everyday. I like the 80:20 rule since it allows some flexibility. If you eat vegan, keto, 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.
This is something I truly believe in. 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 are 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. Releasing those thoughts and putting them on paper, or expressing your feelings through poetry, painting, drawing can be helpful.
I hope these strategies will inspire 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 improve from where I was and having a support network has helped that.
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 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.