After so many years of struggling with my body image, I thought fitness would be my answer to find happiness and confidence.
In some ways, it was. I found a career I can be truly passionate about. I found a way to transform my body & feel healthier and more energetic.
But did losing body fat, gaining muscle tone and getting a smaller waistline ultimately equal happiness and self-acceptance? NO.
I look back on my days competing and I can tell you when I was at my LEANEST I was still pretty damn insecure and outright miserable most of the time.
I started my fitness journey at 27% body fat… then dropped to 23%… Did my first show around 16%… Won my overall title at 13%… Competed on the National stage at 11%….
But it was never good enough. I was never satisfied. I didn’t feel any happier and certainly not any more confident or comfortable in my own skin. Instead I became highly skilled at finding tiny flaws, and comparing myself to other women, constantly.
My point here is: a lower number on the scale, a smaller size in your jeans, or more defined abs will NOT bring you happiness. Happiness comes from within. It comes from loving yourself REGARDLESS of size, or a number on the scale.
As a female it can be especially hard to love and accept yourself. Society tells women our worth is directly correlated to our appearance- and we follow right along, spending countless dollars and hours in salons, spas, or in front of the mirror applying makeup, perfecting our hair. We diet, we exercise, we juice cleanse, we “waist train,” we drink “skinny teas”… We do whatever it takes to try to measure up to this IMPOSSIBLE idea of beauty established by society. And we fall short. And we hate ourselves for it.
After 2 decades of battling this I can now honestly say I love and accept myself, and my body, every day.
Sure, I have my days where I feel gross or bloated, or whatever. (I blame hormones!) And sure, I’d like to shed a few pounds of body fat at the moment. (I blame cocktails!) But I have grown to appreciate the strong, healthy body I’ve been blessed with- and more importantly that my outward appearance is just the packaging for who I really am, my worth, and what I have to offer.
It feels AMAZING to reach a fitness goal, and see your body transform. I am not negating that. But you have to do the mental homework as well…
To truly feel happy and fabulous in your skin you have to learn to love and accept yourself at your max weight, just as much as you do at your goal weight.
Here are my 5 tips to help you feel fabulous in your own skin… TODAY:
- Banish negative self-talk. We all do it. “I hate how my thighs touch.” “My stomach is sticking out.” “My arms look flabby.” Any of this sound familiar? Put an end to it. Remember, a goal weight isn’t about the weight- your goal is about how you’ll FEEL when you reach it (or how you think you’ll feel.) Trust me when I say: YOU WILL NEVER FEEL GOOD IN YOUR BODY UNTIL YOU LEARN TO STOP CRITICIZING IT.
- Stand up straight. Take Mom’s advice and work on your posture. Not only does good posture keep your spine healthy, but it makes you instantly look taller, slimmer and more confident. From my years onstage and doing photo shoots it never ceased to amaze me how different our bodies look based on posing alone. So make the world your stage and stand tall, PROUD of what you have going on… TODAY!
- Wear clothes that flatter YOUR body. I love fashion, and finally in my late 20’s I finally feel like I’ve established MY personal style. In my early twenties, I tried to make every trend work on me and would often find myself feeling insecure, tugging on my clothes or “sucking it in.” That doesn’t exactly leave room to enjoy living the present moment! Find what looks good on YOUR body, what flatters your shape, what you feel confident in, and go with that. Ignore the trends that aren’t flattering on you & stick with styles that make you feel like a million bucks!
- SMILE! Did you know the act of smiling sends neural messages to your brain that promote happiness & good health? It is the quickest, surefire way to feel better AND appear more attractive… instantly!
- Fake it ‘til you make it. There is nothing more attractive and appealing than confidence. Now, hopefully with these tips and a positive mindset you are actually OOZING with confidence… But if you’re like me, confidence can still be a struggle sometimes. Here’s a secret: even the people who are seemingly the MOST confident still struggle- but they don’t let it show, and they don’t entertain insecurity. Adopt a personal mantra and cling to it, even if at first you aren’t really feeling it, in time you will. One of mine is “I am beautiful, I am confident, I am inherently worthy.” Find one that means something to you and repeat it before you walk out the door, step into a meeting, or arrive to a party.
I hope one or more of these tips will help you to feel like the fierce, fabulous, amazing being that you are! If you have tips of your own (or questions or comments) I always LOVE hearing from you. Stay positive, my friends!