Do you know I don’t particularly like the way I look. My body, my face nor my hair. If you asked my honest opinion on any of the above, I’d present a critical assessment of them all. My face is too round, my teeth are too big, my hair is wavy in all the wrong directions and receding, I have bingo wings, so much cellulite and a tummy that triples in size at the first sign of stress, broccoli or beans. Yet I feel so ashamed telling you all this.
Body Confidence Struggles
I hate that I really even acknowledge this and let it bother me because honestly I know I’m incredibly lucky on so many levels. All I really want to do is appreciate the fact I have the privilege to own my body and put one foot in front of the other.
However, it’s not necessarily my fault that I feel this way, nor is it yours if you feel the same. My perception of my physical self is simply a product of my life thus far, things I’ve been taught, expectations presented to me, images, comments, judgements made about me, the looks up and down, the list goes on. I collected them all up and organised them into a diatribe against myself.
It goes beyond the physical too, I’m not a confident person either.
Despite receiving great feedback from Fitties, the students I lecture and all my lovely friends and family, I’ll find a space for criticism. I can end any day still mumbling away about something I regret, feel guilty about or have some level of disappointment in myself for despite some great achievements.
Now, wait a minute…
Haven’t you seen photos of me on Instagram or chatting away on a Fitter Food Facebook Live, that requires confidence right? Well not really, all of that requires something else.
Something I use as my weapon against my confidence issues.
I have a purpose.
My confidence issues will always be there, they’re deep-rooted, almost a default mode but I’ve learned that I can control how much they influence my happiness, potential and ability to lead the life I want.
I can only do this when I have a greater purpose, an exciting reason to get out of bed each day. Something I want to do or share to help others. A feeling that becomes so powerful, it becomes my weapon against negativity.
When I’m truly in this mode of action I barely have time to brush my hair let alone be critical of its excessive volume!
Equally, there are times I find myself in limbo and the demons resurface. It doesn’t mean my bum is bigger in reality but I can turn on myself as I’m struggling to feel or find my greater sense of purpose.
This creeps up on me unexpectedly, in-between projects, on holiday, when we’re unsure about the direction of our business I start to tell myself I should be slimmer, fitter, stronger, a better speaker, more intelligent … as if the solution lies there.
I’m sharing this with you to help you acknowledge and stop a similar negative dialogue that you may initiate with yourself about yourself. It’s an energy wasting process that distracts you from the bigger picture but can begin to control you. It’s damaging and slows your progress towards understanding and realising how awesome you are and how much potential you really have.
Whilst you figure out those bigger dilemmas about where you’re heading in life, here are some practical steps I implement regularly to stay on track when my confidence situation gets a little complicated:
1) Learn To Be Confident
Education and self-improvement are empowering. Academic development or learning new skills, in general, is a fantastic way to improve self-esteem and develop a more positive perception of yourself.
I’m still undecided about what I really want to do when I grow up so I keep developing professionally and physically. I guard the time I set aside each week to learn or train. It inspires me with ambition for so many avenues that will allow me to make a difference, none of them require the perfect physique.
Studying or expanding upon your own skill set helps you regain perspective about where your real strength and potential lies in life.
2) A Confident Dress Code
Clothes have the ability to influence how you feel about yourself, it shouldn’t be the case but it is. For this reason, my regular wardrobe is predominantly based upon loose-fitting, comfortable clothes because I want to dress for my day but not kick off with a body composition assessment which often happens if your jeans feel too tight.
It has the potential to transform your mindset and adds distraction to your day.
For me, it easily becomes a catalyst for negative reflections about what I might be doing wrong rather than opening my laptop and actually achieving something with my morning.
I often dress in a way that makes it difficult to establish what size I am or if I have a six-pack. The reinforcement is for me as well as others.
Equally, I often wear brightly coloured clothes because if I have something important to say I want to stand out. My clothes reflect the fact I wish to be known for my words once I’ve got your attention.
This advice stands whether your body composition is healthy or you need to lose weight when people join us on Fitter 16 we provide lots of mindset support, it’s essential to the success of their time working with us.
There’s an emphasis on not overthinking or over analysing the process of change, it’s more important to dress comfortably and settle in for the journey.
3) Stop talking about the physical
Start to refocus upon your non physical attributes and compliment yourself daily on these.
I look at myself brushing my teeth and whilst there’s little Instagram worthy about my reflection first thing in the morning I’m proud of the person who looks back at me, she works hard, remains dedicated, honest, still cares and as a result goes out of her comfort zone regularly.
My dad still calls me Saturday’s child, I’ll take that and use it to reassure myself that working hard for a living means you can afford to look a little rough in the morning.
4) Ditch Full-Length Bedroom Mirrors
Similar to the wardrobe dilemma’s having a full-length bedroom mirror encourages you to begin your day by analysing yourself from head to toe. It creates conversations and doubts which aren’t necessary yet it’s easy to fall into the habit of going through them.
What you really need to do is get cracking with your morning so ditch the mirrors and have a quick glance in the bathroom mirror instead to ensure there’s no spinach in your teeth or anything hanging out your nose and you’re good to go.
5) Reframe Those Negatives
My lack of confidence means I have other strengths and traits including empathy, compassion and I listen. I identify easily with my clients and their own struggles, I establish coping strategies for my own difficult situations or challenges and this helps me to develop effective resources for those I support.
Equally, I continue to spend time learning and finding sources of inspiration to draw strength from, sharing them is a big part of what Fitter Food provides to a bigger online community.
My weaknesses give me the ability to help others.
It’ll be the same for you and the other roles and responsibilities you have in life, I’m sure you’re an amazing parent, business owner, employee, friend, son, daughter, brother, sister, pet owner… you get the picture 🙂
6) Hang With The Carefree
Hang out more with the people in your life who rarely comment on your physical appearance and aren’t that fussed about their own either, they’re just always so happy to see you.
Alternatively, spend more time in the company of your four-legged friend or kids who are always just content to just be around you and only ever see the best in you.
8) Stop Spending On Disguises
Overcoming confidence issues comes from within and it’s an ongoing process. In the meantime, it’s easy to think a new dress or extra highlights might do the trick but if you find yourself doing what you’ve always done you’ll get what you’ve always got and you know it doesn’t work long term.
Sometimes a little expert help is what you really need and this is where the investment should be made, consider the root cause of your confidence issues, if you think they might be related to poor mood health or a body composition issue it goes without saying
I’m a big fan of using nutritional therapy to establish a healthy foundation and good understanding of optimal mental and physical health.
I dread to think where I’d be if I didn’t eat nutritiously, exercise sensibly and get my 8-9 hours sleep each night. Talking therapies might also be beneficial or even some careers advice.
9) Ask Yourself This
Now you have acknowledged that body confidence is really just a distraction from a life that will always be too short, it’s time to take action.
Nothing about six packs and perfect teeth has ever been engraved in stone… so how will you be remembered? Why are you really here? In other words… what do you want to be when you grow up?
10) Listen To Our Body Image Basics Series
It’s free trial our Fitter 365 membership site and on there we have a series of Body Image Basics videos that help you explore the origin of your body confidence battles and provide practical steps to regaining a more positive body image and greater self esteem. You can check it out HERE.
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