As women, we face pretty regular scrutiny about our bodies. Instead of celebrating how amazing our bodies are, the focus is often on our so-called “imperfections”, or parts of our body that are ‘bad’. But are they really bad? Are they even imperfections? How do we define perfect or imperfect? And if they are imperfections, what’s the big deal?
Just like you girls and everyone, I have struggled with insecurities at times. Below is a list of some things that I know my clients have felt self-conscious about in the past and sometimes, still do. I want to let you girls know it's perfectly normal to feel like this from time to time, but that it’s important it doesn’t DEFINE who you are.
I want to help you girls to understand that we ALL struggle with insecurities, but I need your help. I'd love for you to be involved in a survey I'm running about motivations and insecurities. If you want to take part, you can click on this link.
It’s okay and totally normal to have a day where you don’t feel as good, where you wish your dress fit better, your hair was thicker, or your bum was bigger. It’s perfectly normal to have cellulite, to struggle with breakouts (even as an adult), to want to change something about our appearance. But while it is normal to feel this way, it shouldn't be normal to feel constantly BAD about it. I want you all to be able to accept there are certain parts of your body or life you may feel insecure about, but that doesn't mean you are alone in feeling that way, and it doesn’t mean you can’t make a positive change both mentally or physically.
Rather than focusing on a certain body part you want to change or something you feel insecure about internally, we should focus on the overall feeling of HEALTH. Okay, you may want smaller thighs, or to get rid of that stomach roll — but is this really a realistic and healthy way to look at your body? No. It’s more important to think about how you FEEL overall! Do you feel strong, fit, happy and confident? These are the things that we should all strive for. Yes, insecurities may inevitably pop up — but when we look at the bigger picture of our lives, they aren’t necessarily the things that are most important.
Here are just 8 of the things that are socially portrayed as “bad to have” as women.
Cellulite is primarily caused when the collagen fibres that hold fat against the skin stretch, which gives fat cells room to expand, leading to dimpling. Yep, the cause can really be that simple! While it’s so common to see advertisements for laser treatments, creams and other such remedies to ‘treat’ cellulite, it’s not common to see people who embrace it. That can make anyone feel self-conscious about having cellulite.
I’m sure that all women have felt body insecurities, and cellulite is just one of them. Yes, it can be very frustrating. But it’s also SO normal! Cellulite can affect women of all sizes and ages, no matter how fit / thin / healthy. Women worry so much about cellulite, to the point that they workout like crazy trying to get rid of it, or try all kinds of radical treatments. I want you to choose to make lifestyle changes because you want to be healthy and to feel confident. Cellulite doesn’t define you or your capabilities, so don’t feel that getting rid of it has to be your priority.
Blemishes / Breakouts
There’s a whole bunch of reasons why skin might suffer from breakouts, or why blemishes might appear, like hormones, genetics, diet and bacteria. Photoshopped and retouched photos in the media can make us feel self-conscious if we have even a single blemish, as they portray a message of glowing perfection.
I know it can be really hard to feel good about yourself in the middle of a breakout. Seriously though, who hasn’t had a blemish? Why do they make our self-esteem plummet? Blemishes are normal, so maybe we need to just stop thinking of them so negatively. No girl is flawed for having blemishes. Even those girls we see on TV or in magazines have blemishes. They are a fact of life!
Scars / Stretch marks
Scars often come with emotional or painful memories, which can be part of the reason someone wants to hide them. Stretch marks can develop when someone grows quickly, or after losing or gaining weight in a short time frame. Have you ever noticed it’s normally the bad guy in the movie who has scars? It’s no surprise we feel as if they are flaws!
Lots of women have stretch marks, yet they seem to only feature in magazines alongside a body-shaming comment or a cream or secret treatment to remove them. Being self-conscious about a scar or a stretch mark shouldn’t stop you from living your life, wearing what you want or being comfortable in your own skin. We need to learn how to embrace it — it’s part of who you are. It signifies a moment in your life. These so-called imperfections are what make us unique, and make us real. Why shouldn’t we be real?
Injuries or health restrictions
If something health-related leaves you with no option but to slow down in your fitness routine, it can feel like a huge mental roadblock. It might make you want to give up all the hard work you’ve been through already. If you’ve suffered an injury that has changed the way you live your life, it can be a difficult adjustment time. But your self-confidence doesn’t have to be affected.
No one is in perfect health 100% of the time. You could be struck down with the flu, injure yourself or require a medical procedure or pregnant. I want to remind you that you’ll get through it, especially with the help of supportive women like those in the BBG Community in the forum. When you’re better, you might even be stronger than before. And remember, even with an injury or a health problem, your body is strong and it’s beautiful.
Having a glowing tan is something many girls strive to achieve, I think especially those of us who live in Australia — a tan is such a socially accepted thing. However, I also know how getting a spray tan can quickly turn into feeling like you can’t go out WITHOUT one.
If you feel better about yourself when you have a tan, then go for it! But do it for yourself, not because you feel having tanned skin is something you HAVE to have. It can be way too easy to slip into a mentality that you ONLY look good when you’re “tanned”, and hate your skin at all other times! Just remember you are beautiful in your own skin — tan or no tan!
Have you ever felt shamed about something you’ve eaten? Maybe someone commented when you decided to have a piece of birthday cake, or a second coffee. Comments about eating something ‘naughty’ or ‘bad’ can feel really personal, which can lead to you feeling guilty or embarrassed. If you eat healthy most days and choose to have a treat, why should you be ‘food shamed’ for that? YOU are in control of the food you put in your body, so don’t let anyone pass judgement on you for your decisions!
Remember that it’s perfectly fine to have the occasional indulgence. I think one of the worst things you could do is punish yourself for eating ‘bad’ food; it can lead to an unhealthy relationship with eating. You should enjoy a little of everything — it’s about moderation!
Something I’m sure everyone has noticed using social media is a criticism of the angle of a photo. I see lots of comments made online about a photo being taken from the ‘right’ angle to make someone look ‘better’. You’ve probably tried to take a photo once before and had someone tell you not to get their bad side. This often leads us to think about our own ‘bad angles’.
Why is a particular view of ourselves bad? I’m a person, just like you, and we all have three dimensions. Different perspectives, or ‘angles’ are natural. It doesn’t change who we are as a person on the inside; and we certainly shouldn’t feel as though we can’t be photographed from an ‘unflattering’ angle. An angle is an angle. How boring would photos be if everyone posed in the same way?
Wearing a sports bra to workout in is something every woman should do. For some girls though, they don’t feel comfortable wearing a crop, because they are worried it will show off body ‘flaws’. I’ve heard from some girls that they prefer to workout out in baggy t-shirts, because they feel self conscious about their body in tight activewear. We should ALL feel comfortable wearing whatever we like, rather than feeling like we need to dress for someone else!
The point I’m trying to make with the above is that it’s okay to want to do certain things that make you feel good! Don’t forget that the things you may deem as faults or flaws, are things that everyone on this planet deals with.
I wrote this blog because I want you to know that ALL women struggle with insecurities at some stage. Most of these worries are about things that are completely normal, like cellulite, dark circles under our eyes or stretch marks.
These things that are ‘wrong’ with us are perceived. These problems aren’t really problems at all. I think it’s time we stopped trying to be flawless. Trying to live up to the strict beauty standards placed on women is a game that can’t be won.
Let’s decide to make changes for ourselves. Let’s decide to celebrate ourselves. Let’s make more of an effort to be body positive, even when we’re feeling self-conscious about ourselves.
Love, Kayla xx