Poor body confidence can have a major impact on your mental wellbeing. When I was younger I had low body confidence because I was so slim, you could see my hip bones, my collar bones and my knees seemed overly prominent. No matter how many times people told me how ‘lucky’ I was, I hated the way I looked and would hide my body under baggy clothes. Fast forward a few years and I joined a gym, worked hard and began to love my body because I increased muscle mass, I looked more toned and my confidence grew. Now years after my body has fluctuated in size, shape and weight through having three children followed by multiple injuries which have prevented exercise, my confidence is low again due to weight gain. I am determined that this ‘phase’ will not last and thankfully I know there are things I can do to help myself once more.
People who have low body confidence tend to walk with their head down and shoulders hunched, almost as though they are trying to roll up into a ball so that nobody will notice them. This in itself is not an attractive look but pretending to be confident is easier than you think. When you walk into a room, treat it as a ‘drama exercise’, create a different persona for yourself rather like Beyonce does with Sasha Fierce. Hold your head up high, pull your shoulders back and walk tall. Immediately your frame will appear better, make sure your feet are pointed forwards and your bottom rolled under to put your spine into the correct position. This helps to hold your tummy in and pushes your chest out which makes you look and feel better. People will notice you for the right reasons and this in itself will give you a confidence boost.
Sometimes we all need that little jump start to help us on the right path. I recently spotted a non-surgical treatment called Fat Freezing / CoolSculpting where the treated cells are frozen and will be gone for good after a course of treatments. For so many people, the fatty areas of the abdomen, chin, arms, back and flank and have a hugely adverse effect on body confidence but need to get rid of it quickly and effectively in order to get started on a healthier way of living. Like most cosmetic treatments, there are costs involved but if it helps you on the path to a healthier and happier you, it can be worth it and we all love the idea of no needles!
If your best friend stood in front of you, would you tell them “you look so fat today” or “oh my, look at your bingo wings/chin/fat bum”? Of course, you wouldn’t because you respect them. So why do we find it acceptable to speak that way to ourselves? The next time you look at yourself in the mirror, focus on the positives. Perhaps you have great boobs or a pert bottom, legs that go on forever or a slender neck. Be honest with yourself and tell yourself out loud all of the things that you do love about your body and congratulate yourself as you would your best friend.
Find Your Village
Surround yourself with positive people and steer clear of the negative Nellies!! Very often those who are quick to tell you something negative about yourself or give those comments like “big girls like us need to stick together” are projecting their unhappiness at themselves onto you. As I mentioned above, we can easily say negative things to ourselves, we don’t need someone else to do that for us. Give them a wide berth and build your ‘village’ with people who boost your confidence and point out all of your assets.
Step Away from the Screens
Whilst there are many more ‘real’ women in the media these days, sadly they often receive backlash for the way that they look from the critics. The world of social media, magazines and TV is still covered with images of ‘perfect’ women (who have been photoshopped) or those friends who appear to have a perfect life. It is so easy to feel inadequate in a world of perceived perfection. Remind yourself that all is not exactly as people would have you believe, we all have down days but not everyone shares them online.
Find your exercise
Exercise doesn’t have to mean the gym, the latest hatha yoga or spin classes. The great news is that these days there are more and more exercise classes and activities than ever before so you’re sure to find something which suits you and your abilities. Exercise is well-documented for increasing your endorphins and giving you a boost of ‘happy hormones’. Even going for a brisk walk on a crisp sunny morning can lift your spirits as you see the sun shining through the trees and frost-covered webs on fences. The aim is to raise your heart-rate to get the blood pumping.
Keep a gratitude journal
A wise friend of mine once said: “not every day is good but there’s good in every day”. By actively focusing on the positives your mindset will change. Try keeping a gratitude journal every day for at least three months, write in your journal three good things about your day to change the way you think.
Get a new hairstyle
Find a hairdresser who you feel comfortable with asking them for a makeover. Take along photographs of styles and colours that you like to give them an idea but also be open to their suggestions. A good hairdresser will be able to recommend a style and colour to complement your face shape. Our hair is often the first thing that people notice when they look at us and it has a big impact on how we feel about ourselves. Getting a new hairstyle can be the boost that you need to feel good about yourself.
Wear the right underwear
Many women after having children fall into the habit of wearing their ‘comfortable’ underwear but this isn’t necessarily the best underwear. Attend a bra fitting service and get those bad boys up where they belong instead of dangling somewhere near your waist. Invest in a pair of support pants to create a smooth silhouette under your clothes and you will immediately feel better when you step out of the house.