Dealing With Body Image Struggles

Body image is a touchy subject for most people and it’s a pretty common feeling to have struggled with body image and self confidence at least once in your life time – therefore, I think pretty much everyone who reads this will benefit somehow from these words, whether it resonates or not. 

I’ve always struggled with self confidence issues and there has never been a day in my life where I haven’t looked in the mirror and picked myself apart at least once. You could say in some cases that I have been obsessed with my appearance, what others think of me and how I look. I’ve never been confident enough to leave the house without makeup, in fact if you counted up the days I have spent with no make up on you probably wouldn’t get passed double figures. I hate the way I look naturally and there are a million things I would change before I ever paid myself a complement. This will sound all too familiar for many people, not just females but certainly males aswell and I think we can all agree that one factor which we can blame for 70% of our generations’ insecurities is the dreaded social media. 

Lately, I’ve been focusing a lot on my body image and self perception and have started taking actions to cleanse my social media use and refresh my mind set to begin to love myself, after a major set back the past year or so which has left me leaving potentially the most unconfident I have ever felt in my life. I’ve put weight on due to a change in lifestyle and health, I suddenly developed acne at 22 years old from internal stress and there has been days where I couldn’t bare to even look in the mirror.

Developing confidence is probably the hardest skill you can accomplish in your lifetime, and at times it will definitely seem impossible – how do you even grow confidence and how could you ever turn these thoughts around that you’ve had for so long? Especially in world where we are exposed to edited Instagram photos everyday. 

I’ve probably done it all, from comfort eating to avoiding food all together to diet pills and whatever else I could try out to get the body I thought I wanted. After hours in the gym and constant belittling of myself and never feeling good enough, I started to realise something. I’ve been tiny-skinny, I’ve had a belly of abs and do you know what? I was still sad, unconfident and unhappy in my body. The truth is, we get obsessed with achieving a body we think we want and genuinely believe that ‘if I just lose this weight I’ll be happy’, ‘if I just get that body then I’ll be happy’. What if, one day, you get that body and you’re still sad and struggling with self esteem? 

Chances are, you will be. If you find yourself stuck in the cycle of chasing weight loss or fighting for a particular body to feel valuable and worthy, you’re doing it wrong. It’s taken me a long time to realise that the process of getting to a ‘skinny’ and ‘attractive’ body type was actually really miserable, I was depriving myself of food and lifestyle choices that I actually enjoyed and this lead me to some pretty horrendous moods! 

I’m not saying I’ve cracked the code and figured out how to be confident because that is so far from the truth, I just hope I can lift at least one person’s spirits who I know will be going through a similar thing to myself recently. As long as you live balanced and take care of yourself, don’t deprive yourself of the things that make you happy and definitely don’t enter into any damaging behaviour which will in end harm your mental wellbeing and physically wellness – it is not worth it!

I used to eat an omelette a day, a chicken breast with brown rice and fill up the rest of the day with water and I was tiny. That doesn’t mean I was happy, I was probably my most unhappy. When I grew older past the age of 19/20, I started to take more shape in my body and grow curves which I hated, I would deprive myself of calories to try and lose the weight without realising that my growth was healthy, natural and necessary! It was completely unrealistic for myself to expect to maintain my teenage body as I grew into my twenties, and I’m beginning to accept this now and love my growing body as part of a journey.

Being skinny does not equal happiness, clear skin doesn’t equal happiness. You can spend millions on plastic surgery and you will still hate how you look if you don’t deal with what is going  on inside your mind. Yes, like a healthily lifestyle and eat well, with exercise to maintain psychical health but please never fall into depriving yourself of food to achieve an unrealistic goal – especially if you’re chasing a fake image on instagram.

Next time you look in the mirror, I don’t care how hard it may be, say something you love about yourself and ignore any voice trying to pick your appearance apart. Every body has beauty, and as cliche as it may sound it definitely resonates from the inside.