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Monday, 25 July 2016

How To Be Confident In Your Own Body; Let's Talk About Body Confidence

 Hello hello! So earlier today, I asked you guys on Twitter (@emshelx, come say hey!) what topic I should write about and this is the one most of you asked for/I fancied writing about! If you ever come up with anything you'd like me to write about, please leave me a comment and let me know as it is so helpful! So today, I want to talk about body confidence. Being body confident is easier said than done, with social media, magazines and I guess, the world telling us how we should look. It can actually be quite upsetting, even though I eat well and work out a lot, I am guilty of social media stalking until the point where I feel uncomfortable in my own body. I say to myself: I wish I looked more like her and I actually have to shut down Instagram to stop me feeling that way. So today, we're gonna unpick that, talk about it and kick it in the butt.


Body Ideals - I'd like to start by saying: everyone has a different idea of what they want their body to look like. There is no right or wrong. To me, Jen Selter may be my motivation, to someone else, they may adore Kim Kardashian's body, another person may love Millie Mackintosh. Equally, you may want your body to be a mixture of all three. The brilliant thing about life is that everyone is different, every single body is different so my body ideal may be completely different to yours. That's okay, as long as you recognise this and set yourself realistic goals: I'm forever looking at girls who have had breast implants and bum implants, that aint realistic and no matter how hard I work at the gym, I won't look like that, but, if I go to a surgeon, I might look that way. I'm never going to tell someone how they should look/what is wrong or right or what size is healthy. For me, it's about confidence and happiness. Size doesn't matter. Happiness and confidence does. 

The Best Advice - The best bit of advice I have ever been given fitness/health wise is - it's about how you feel in yourself. My Mum told me never to step on a scale (I refuse to ever step on scales and it makes me shudder when I hear of young girls weighing themselves, it makes me angry! Not at the girls, but that people have told them it's okay - let's not weigh ourselves, muscle weighs more than fat). As TheBodyCoach says, it really is a 'sad step' and I agree with him when he says we should throw the scales out. It isn't about weight, it really is about how you feel. My Mum tells me to judge it by how I feel in my clothes. Am I happy? Yes. Do I feel comfortable in my clothes? Yes. My clothes actually tend to get tighter because my muscles are growing! I have friends who are ridiculously fit and healthy, yet their delicious bootays would break size 6-8 jeans in half so they have to wear size 14 - proof that size doesn't matter. My best friend, Gabi is one of my biggest inspirations. She had a pretty rubbish time with a horrible ex boyfriend (read how getting cheated on affected me if you want to know about my horrible times with boyfriends - warning, tear jerker) and I guess she just lost her way a little bit. Luckily, she's very motivated so she gymmed a lot - she wasn't seeing any difference on the scales and kept telling me it wasn't doing anything. This completely demotivated her but then she started to take progress photos and even though her weight didn't seem to be changing much, her body was. She looks absolutely phenomenal now and I'm pretty sure she wont be using scales! 

- I Want To Look Like Her - Last week I sat on Instagram and binge-stalked beautiful girls. Those insane Australian models, you name it, I stalked them. I sat as I delved into my chocolate bar and felt pretty crappy. Why aren't my boobs as perky? Why does my bum not look as round? Why am I not as tanned? I want a boob job I told myself. Firstly, as already mentioned, we are all different. Secondly, Instagram (a lot of the time) is bull, people stand in the perfect positions, people use lighting, people use filters. Thirdly, these girls might not actually be happy in themselves anyway. Does a perky butt lead to happiness? Maybe, maybe not. There is always going to be someone in the world who looks better than you, or who you think looks better than you, but it's how you use that in a positive way that matters. It's important to remember that a lot of those girls on Instagram probably work pretty damn hard for those bodies anyway, remember that! 




- Turning Jealousy/Envy Into Motivation - I once had a friend who would say 'ew she makes me sick' whenever she saw a beautiful girl in a magazine or on social media. It actually used to really frustrate me, I told her she should channel that and make it inspire her. So now, when I see an incredibly beautiful girl (after telling myself she may be filtered and to breathe - beautiful girls do exist, filter or no filter), I use it as my motivation. When I'm on that treadmill and need to find the energy for an extra minute, I think of that girl. When I'm about to eat 12 pizzas in 7 days, I think of that girl. I really do use beautiful girls as my inspiration. Rather than letting them break me and make me feel 'sick' or 'uninspired' or 'sad' that I don't look like that, it makes me want to run to the gym, put on some fake tan and drink some more water. It's all about turning those negative thoughts into positive energy. Granted, some of these girls may just be lucky and may look perfect, BUT, most of the girls I see on social media, I know work out extremely hard! They have earned that body and they certainly didn't get it from sitting on their butt. Equally, if you can (again, easier said than done) just try not to compare yourself. Comparison really is the thief of joy. There really is no point even comparing yourself to someone who probably has a totally different lifestyle to yours. It's okay to use that person as inspiration and motivation, but don't use that person to make yourself upset.




- My Mantra - My mantra is a simple one, move more, eat better. Take the stairs. Use your legs. get off one bus stop earlier. I would never say 'eat less' because I don't believe in calorie counting and I certainly don't believe in eating less. I don't eat 'low fat'. I eat full fat cottage cheese pretty much every day. I believe in eating more, but eating more of the right things. Read my 80/20 rule, why I think clean eating is dangerous post to find out more about that. You can watch my what I eat in a day video here too. 




- Make It A Routine - You never regret a work out. I only ever regret missing a work out. If I feel rubbish about my body or I'm having a bad body confidence day, I'll go to the gym, or put some fake tan on. For me, the best way to blast a bout of bad body confidence is to hit the gym hard or go on a walk. I know a lot of people don't like the gym but there are lots of things you can do at home too, for starters, you can do my work out videos in the comfort of your own home - find them here. I find that at the time of the month in particular, there's a little demon inside my head - this demon tells me I'm double the size I actually am, makes me feel slouchy and makes me want to eat crap. Honestly, I look in the mirror and feel bigger than I am even though I know I'm not. It's a mind over matter thing, push that little hormonal demon off your shoulder and get some fresh air. Even if you walk to the shop. It's better than nothing and I guarantee you'll feel better for it. I always say that eating well and moving more is a lifestyle choice, it isn't a fad, it's something that should be part of your every day routine and lifestyle. I feel weird if I don't work out for example, you've got to make it part of your routine and then it'll work for you. Read my blog post about how to get in the right frame of mind for the best work out. It may help you! 




- Endorphins - Work out what makes you feel really good and do more of it. Whether it's hot yoga (I made time for a class this morning and feel so happy and confident), walking the dog, going on a run, having a long bath or applying fake tan. I always feel way better about my body when I'm tanned, it's a personal preference. There are so many things you can do to release endorphins, the happy hormone and exercise is a proven one. I could be in the worst mood ever but if I step on that treadmill, I usually always feel amazing. You can read my little things that make me feel happy post here and see why I think it's so important to do things for you! Try find those things that make your happy hormone come out to play, they'll boost your confidence too!




- Try Different Things On! - I was once told that a great thing to do is to pick up loads of stuff whilst clothes shopping, random things you wouldn't usually try and then try them all on! You don't have to buy anything but you'll surprise yourself and maybe find something new that you'll feel super confident in. Nowadays, you can do this online, so it's even better! You can prance around your house until you find some amazing styles that make you feel super confident. I've never been a jean kinda gal but recently I blogged about these jeans - I always find jeans really unflattering but for once, I actually found some that I feel make my body look better, rather than making my bum look flat. I'm forever trying new prints and patterns to try and see what works the best for my body. Again, every single body is different so what works for your best friend might not make you feel confident. It's about finding what makes you feel the most confident. Some people feel the most confident in a pair of jeans and a jumper, I know I feel the most confident in a lovely dress and new heels! IT's finding what works for you. 




- Lacking Confidence - We all have moments when we don't feel confident. For me, it's when I walk into a room full of new people, or when I've got to meet important people - e.g., boyfriends family and friends for the first time. I used to suffer really badly with crazy nerves and confidence issues. I used to Google 'how to feel confident' and as I got older, it just came. I couldn't walk across the corridor at school because I was petrified people were staring and laughing at me. Confidence is something I think that happens as you grow up. Since then, I've done speeches infront of hundreds of people at my University (if you asked me to do that a few years ago I'd have cried). So how do we tackle that confidence? Everyone deals with their confidence wobbles in different ways, for me, if it's a party and I know I need to feel confident, I'll get my hair done because for some reason, I always feel way more confident when my hair has been done (personal preference). If I know I've got a holiday coming up where I'll need to be in a bikini every day, I'll make sure I fit in my gym sessions at least two months before hand! Sometimes having a goal is a great way to actually push yourself to work really hard when working out. It's so hard to feel confident when you're in a nerve wracking situation but sometimes you've just gotta push that negativity to the side, walk in, head high and tell yourself you look fab!




- Consistency - Lastly, consistency is key. As my friend Gabi found, body confidence doesn't happen over night - if it does for you then that's incredible, but, for many, it's a long process. You've gotta work at it, tell your mind to shut up (you look fabulous), ignore sizings on clothes, throw the scales away and find what works for you - it might be a spin class, it might be walking to dog or it might be getting a personal trainer. Gabi used to do a lot of running and saw no results, instead, she got a personal trainer who made her lift weights and that's when she really started to see the difference. I'm all about toning up so now, I'm limiting my cardio and focusing more on weight exercises. I feel confident and sexy when I'm lifting heavy weights - being sweaty in the gym translates to me feeling sexy out of the gym, when I'm wearing a dress or a bikini. It's all about consistency, give it time, work at it and don't beat yourself up if you have time off. Cheat days are totally allowed.




If you want to read more of my fitness posts related to this:

How to get the most out of your work out
Why I don't believe in diets
My top fitness tips & motivation tips

So there we have it, if you have any other thoughts on body confidence/any body confidence tips then tell me! I'd love to hear! Let me know what you think!

Lots of love, Em x


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