For a good part of my late teens and early twenties I had some major struggles with my body; always wanting to conform to the ever changing and often conflicting notions of what ‘beauty’ meant (in Kenya, thicker and curvier is better). Over the years, I have tried almost everything to get that ‘perfect body’ (whatever that means anyway), including a fad diet that almost made me Bulimic.
What a lot of women forget, is that a lot of the images we use to compare ourselves to in the media are fake, and are as a result of extensive Photoshop, make-up, waist trainers, breast and ass implants and Instagram filters. By comparing our bodies to these doctored images, we are essentially setting ourselves and our bodies up to fail, reinforcing the negative perceptions we already have about ourselves and our bodies.
Is this a race to bottom you ask? Are women doomed to live in a cycle of self-loathing and low self-esteem? NO. Not to sound cliché, but the journey to self-love is a long and arduous one, but definitely worth it.
The first step is STOP THE NEGATIVITY. Yes, you may have some flaws; whether its stretchmarks or muffin tops, but NO ONE is perfect. Focus on the positives by making a list of all the great things you like and love about yourself, both physically and mentally; the shape of your eyes, those gorgeous long lashes, your quick wit and exceptional sense of humour. You will be pleasantly surprised, having written that list, that you are not that ‘ugly’ and boring person you have made yourself out to be.
The second step is reinforcement of your positive attributes. Wake up every morning, look into the mirror and remind yourself of your positive qualities and how amazing you are. This will help you replace the negative thoughts with positive energy and belief in yourself and your body.
Thirdly, stop fighting your body. We are all different and have different body types. Every part of your body makes you who you are, so work to your strengths and embrace and celebrate the parts of you, you feel most confident about, and that positivity will spread like wild fire!
Lastly, your health is your first wealth; whatever your body type or shape, it will look at its best when you are healthy. Part of the self-love journey involves looking after your body and making sure you are eating right and exercising. Stop obsessing with the scale, focus on fitness and eating clean, your body will look better than ever and you will love the body you’re in!