Updated: Apr 14, 2021
There are lots of trends that have emerged over the last 12 months as we've navigated our way through the scariest and yet also most boring period of our lives. You've got the forced-fun zoom quizzes, the walks with an essential coffee (other hot drinks are available), the excessive banana bread making and the family favourite, unnecessary panic buying.
We've been confronted with terms we have either never heard of before or have only just started to truly understand and unpick. Don't for a second try and convince me, or yourself, that you knew what furlough meant before the March 2020...
One term that has been creeping up more and more on social media over the last 12 months is body confidence. This is something I have personally struggled with from puberty, and I know for a fact there will be a fair few people nodding along when reading this. I developed a lot quicker than many of the girls I hung out with in and out of school which made me hate my body from a young age. By the time I finished Year 10, I was already a GG cup. Yes, you did just read that right. Now that probably sounds great to some but I can assure you that it's a very different story when you're paying £30 for a decent bra because all the 'cool' teenage shops do not accommodate for your 'too big' tits. When you're surrounded by girls, day in and day out, with their slim figures and naturally toned bodies, getting all the attention from the boys as a result, it wasn't hard to go home and feel like you were unattractive for looking so different to them. Unlike them, my body was fiercely clinging to 'puppy fat', as people love to call it, whilst growing in all sorts of directions. It creates an awfully interesting foundation for having a positive relationship with your body, let me tell you.
I'm not going to sit here and lie to you, I still have body confidence issues. However, I am in a different place to where I was a few years ago and certainly where I was when I finished school. I don't obsess about having a boob reduction because then I'd 'look thinner' and 'be more attractive'. I don't avoid crop tops because I worry someone might see 0.1% of my stomach. And I don't drown myself in large pieces of clothing in fear of someone seeing a slight roll when I sit down. Although, can you imagine if they did? The cheek, the nerve, the gall, the audacity and the gumption, as Tayce would say. Can't be having ROLLS, can we?
So, how have I reached these small but important achievements?
1. Follow accounts that promote body positivity
This one feels a tad obvious, yet people continue to follow people who make them feel bad about themselves. Why?! We all know who the usual culprits are for editing photos to death, and I think part of that problem is because they feel like they have to, which is pretty sad. But we aren't here to talk about them, we are here to talk about you. Why are you comparing yourselves to these people when they don't even look like that in real life? It's an unhealthy habit that you need to shift if you want to feel more confident in your body. Replenish your newsfeed with women you actually look like. My favourite accounts are @megan_rose_lane , @staceysolomon, @mikzazon and @em_clarkson. These women embrace their bodies - cellulite, rolls and all - and it is so refreshing to see on my newsfeed.
2. Wear clothes that accentuate my assets
For years I tried so hard to keep up with what all the other girls were wearing, not realising that my shape just didn't fit those styles and often weren't very flattering. So now, I make sure my clothes are nipped and tucked in all the right places - I have approximately 430 outfits ready for when we come out of lockdown to prove it. Don't get me wrong, I can't resist a comfy oversized winter jumper, but I just know which areas to accentuate more to really give my assets the spotlight they deserve. As they say, if you've got it, bloody well flaunt it!
3. Move for fun and not for punishment
Some people simply do not enjoy exercise, and that's okay. We can't all love everything, can we? But exercise doesn't always have to correlate to weight loss and it doesn't always have to be as intense as Instagram would have you believe. There are SO many different types of exercise available that can benefit both your mind and body. I've learned that the more I enjoy the type of exercise I'm doing, the more I'll do it and the better I will feel. I'm less bothered about the most effective kind of exercise for getting that 'dream figure' and more interested in simply seeing the weights go up, improving my fitness and not having to convince myself to do it for a whole 24 hours before it is set to take place. There are so many different types of exercise and fitness classes now that it is near impossible to not find something that you enjoy that helps you connect with your body more than sitting at your desk all day ever will. Get googling and see what you can find.
4. Working from the inside out
When I am feeling a little low on confidence, it makes me doubt myself in pretty much every aspect of life. I question the decisions I make, how I present myself, how well I have completed a task or project and, you guessed it, how I look. But when I invest time in building my confidence, I have a much more optimistic outlook on myself, my abilities and, you guessed it, how I look. So maybe before looking to work on what exists on the outside, you could explore what's going on inside first. I personally would prescribed a heavy dose of Brene Brown to treat a lack of confidence. You're welcome in advance.
I can't promise the four tips I've given will have you strutting around your home naked next week, but maybe invest in some blinds, just in case, because you never know what perverts are waiting to capitalise on your new found confidence. Oh, and don't forget the tiny camera on your laptop too, because it is a well known fact that MI5 are monitoring our every move from there too...