How to be More Comfortable in Your Body

I don’t care what size you are. Nor do I care about your skin condition. If you have a nervous disposition it probably irritates me but ultimately I really just don’t care.

But you care and that’s why you’re here.

Being comfortable in your body is a two-sided coin. Happy and Healthy. If you’re happy and healthy then I’m with you, no matter what size, shape, disposition you have.

The reality, though, is that the vast majority of us are neither.

Social conditioning is very real and very powerful. From the second we squeeze out of our mothers’ vaginas we are bombarded with a very particular image of what we should be. How we should look. What we should do with our lives. How we should act. What we should wear. Basically who we should be.

The world is set up in a way that makes us feel worthless, insecure and ashamed of our bodies if we don’t match the impossible ideal.

Why?

So we buy the crap they throw at us in the images of who we should be.

The global fashion industry is worth more than Russias whole economy. $1.34 trillion (with a T). Because if we’re happy in who we are we are and how we look we wouldn’t buy teatox programs or boost-it bras or let strangers inject muscle relaxers into our face so we can look youthfully surprised for the next few months.

We are literally being programmed to believe that we must look a certain way and if we don’t we are less than. So we spend years, lifetimes, waiting until we achieve what we must before we go after what we want.

We’ll get the perfect partner (who doesn’t exist either by the way) when we straighten our teeth. — Only then will we have the winning smile that draws them in.

We’ll go on that Caribbean holiday when we lose the spare tyre because fatties don’t look good in tropical Instagram squares.

We’ll be content in ourselves when we smooth out the wrinkles, get rid of the cellulite, just generally we’ll be happy when we look like thinner, smoother, straighter, curvier, augmented versions of ourselves. — with tinted lashes.

We, as women, are so much more than our bodies. We don’t need to address the greys, the skin discolouration or the lumpy bits. Why can’t we just focus more on accepting what we already are? Which is pretty f*cking amazing for what we’ve each been through by the way.

The Caveat:

Before we dive in here, I want to make clear that being okay with your body doesn’t mean you can’t still want to change. Losing weight and accepting yourself as you are aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s not an either-or scenario. You can do both.

Acknowledgements

You are more than your appearance.

First and foremost — You are you. The human, the person. You have thoughts and ideas, skills and things to share. You have morals and opinions and passion and personality.

Your appearance is one piece of a multi-faceted being that is you. To put yourself down because you don’t meet the physical ideal of what society tells you to be is a disservice to yourself.

It’s what’s going on between your ears.

How you look is not the problem. You function every day. It may not be the way you want to but it happens. A huge proportion of what your body is holding you back from isn’t actually your body it’s your own thought pattern telling you that you can’t do certain things because of your appearance.

You can’t build a body you will accept.

Losing weight will not make you love yourself. You’ll feel lighter and prouder and your muffin-top will be a little bit less noticeable but you’ll quickly hone in and focus on something else. And so continues the never-ending cycle of needing to improve.

If I ask you right now to tell me 6 things that are wrong with how you look I’m sure you could spit them out before I finish typing this sentence. If I had asked you the same thing 5 years ago you would have been the same and if I ask you again in another 5 years. Even if you’ve lost the weight, changed your shape and dyed your hair.. you’ll still have a list of things that need to change or be fixed.

Accepting yourself as you are doesn’t take away from wanting to change things. It merely means that you acknowledge where you are without judgement.

So…

Stop shoulding all over yourself.

You should lose weight.
You should care about what you put on yourself each day.
You should learn how to do the perfect winged eyeliner.
You should clean the house.
You should be more social.
You should take on more at work.
You should be a better friend.
you should make a healthy dinner.
you should go for a run.
You should invest in your sex life.
You should join Tinder.
you should drink more water.

The list will never end. Once you cross one thing off another magically appears. Here’s the rub. So many expectations lead to paralysis. You literally can’t or don’t move.

So just stop. Leave yourself alone. Give yourself a break. Stop with the shoulding and you might just find that it’s a bit easier to do the things on the list when they’re not a source of pain.

Dare to not compare your body.

There’s not a single person reading this who isn’t guilty of comparing. We look at others and see what we don’t. It’s hard to be happy for them (even when you want to be) because their success is a metric of our lack.

So dare to leave it out. Stop yourself before you go there. You’ll be amazed at how great you feel just removing the yardstick.

When there’s nothing to measure up to you can just be. And that lets you work on the things you want to work on — even if that still is losing weight. Wanting to be slimmer and feeling like you should be slimmer are worlds apart.

Accept the reality of what is.

Acknowledging where you are right now gives you tremendous power. Accepting being overweight/heavy/unhealthy is far easier than fighting against it. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you’re okay with it. Nor does it mean that you’re happy with it or want it or choose to be this way. You’re merely saying “this is where I am right now”.

Acceptance gives you a great foundation and a healthier mindset to take action.

Ditch the scales.

Blasphemy I hear you yell at the screen. But hear me out. Your scales are yet another yardstick. And an unreliable one at that.

So you weigh X. How much of that is muscle? How much of that it is fat? How much is water weight? How much is the bloat because Hormones!? When you get rid of the slab that spits numbers at you how you measure your success leans on other things like how well your clothes fit. Actual measurements. How healthy do you feel? Basically, things that actually matter.

Wear things that fit.

On a similar note, wearing things because you think you should, is not the way to go. Muffin-top, sexy bitch that she is, is caused by bands that are too tight. Wearing something that fits eradicates the muffin-top and gives you smoother lines.

Practice self-compassion.

Go easy on yourself FFS. Yes, you screwed up but you’re human. Humans make mistakes. 
Sometimes, a lot of the time really, we bite off more than we can chew and then get annoyed at ourselves. That needs to stop. The only person who can stop it is you.

I don’t promote bubble baths and feeling sorry for yourself. I’m pretty on the fence about the whole self-love thing too but taking your foot off the gas when you’re struggling — best thing you can do for yourself.

Validate yourself.

Stop being a bitch to the woman in the mirror. Stop worrying about what other people think. No one gets to dictate how good you are except you. You decide what type of person you are.

So stop being mean to yourself. Stop picking yourself apart. Don’t let other people opinions affect you. It’s hard, I know but with practice, it becomes a little bit easier.

And now for the hippy bits

Listen to your intuition.

Focus on what helps you feel good. I read somewhere that your intuition never yells, it whispers. So that little nagging voice telling you to stop what you’re doing. The voice behind “I can’t adult today” is telling you to have fun!

Be yourself.

Keep a Log.

I’ve written about changing thought patterns before and that’s what the log does. What do you log? 3 things.

Small wins — because sometimes the only thing you can say you did today was to make the bed.

Gratitudes — because when we’re paying attention to the good things we see more of the good things and feel much better in ourselves

And loving things. — No matter how small. write 3–10 things you love about yourself and your body. When I first started it was “I love my nails on my pinky fingers” (because with my bent middle fingers, I couldn’t love my nails in general)

All in all, being comfortable in your body is achievable. Like a great many things in life, it’s not easy but it is worth it. I’m not there yet, I don’t think there are too many that are, but the small amount of work that I have done has made a huge difference.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash