Body shaming is all too common, but what can we do to overcome the hate and show ourselves some love?
Recently, Chloe Grace Moretz revealed that she was body shamed by a male colleague when she was 15
. It made her feel upset, shameful and as if there was something wrong with her.
This isn’t okay, but it’s a startlingly common reality for many young girls and women. With incessant pressure from the media to look a certain way, and corporations feeding on low self-esteem to sell us products, many of us have issues with the way we look. At best, this makes us feel bad. At worst, it can lead to eating disorders and serious mental illness.
As someone who has suffered from body image issues, particularly over the past year, here are a few ways to combat those negative voices and be more body positive!
1) Body-posi Instagram
Unfollow the clean-eating, fitness and weight-loss bloggers. There are so many fantastic Instagrammers who preach body positivity and self-love. Milly Smith (@selfloveclubb) is a young mother from Hull and posts about her mental health issues, being a young mum and learning to love her body.
Olivia (@selfloveliv) is a friend of Milly’s and posts about similar issues. These great bloggers are a breath of body-positive fresh air on a site like Instagram.
Some other great Instagram bloggers include @bopo.boy, @bodyposipanda, @lexiemanion and @nourishandeat. Give them a follow!
2) Exercise for enjoyment
Going to the gym is often motivated by a desire to lose weight and ‘look better’, which can contribute to negative body image. Exercise is great, but only if you’re doing it for the right reasons. Find a sport or activity you really enjoy that makes you feel good – whether it be yoga, cycling, swimming or playing a team sport – and it can work wonders for your body image.
However, if you know that you’ll always be thinking about losing weight then it can be helpful to avoid places like the gym which can exaggerate these thoughts. Walking is a great alternative as it's a way to stay active, save money and get to places!
3) Try not to compare yourself to other people
This one might be one of the hardest. Everyone is different, and everyone has different body shapes. Two people who look wildly different may be the same dress size, and you may be four sizes bigger in one shop than the other. It is so easy to compare yourself to ‘thinner’ friends, but being thinner doesn’t automatically mean being happier.
This goes for everything, not just weight. People could potentially be jealous of any body feature, including skin, breasts and eyes. It is all about becoming comfortable with yourself the way you are, so you don’t feel you have to be like other people.
4) Throw out clothes that are too small but ‘might fit when you lose weight’
Stop! Get rid of clothes that no longer fit. Take them to a charity shop and go on a shopping spree to buy new, beautiful clothes that look great on you. Hoarding smaller clothes under the notion of losing weight to fit them is a highly negative practice and it is liberating to get rid of them and buy new ones. It’ll help you feel better!
5) Finally – self-care
It’s important to learn how to love yourself, and that starts with self-care. Whether you start meditating, doing face masks or find a way of expressing yourself through art, music or writing, it’s vital that you take time for yourself. We are so busy nowadays, and social media takes up so much free time, you have to make time to look after yourself. It’s all part of the process of being more comfortable with yourself and your body.
All of this is a process and it takes time and effort, but it is so worth it to feel better about yourself and your body. None of these are instant-fixes or miracle cures, but they can make a difference!