#BodyPositivity: How the scales are damaging our self-esteem

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Today I want to talk body image. How you think you should look vs. how you actually look, and just bloody loving it anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means claiming to be an expert on self-love. Like most people, I am still learning how to love every single inch of me and I’ve had to get over years of comparing myself to models, bloggers and even friends. I used to think I’d like myself more if I changed my body; that clothes would look better if I ate less and exercised more. That boys would fancy me more if I was thinner. But no matter what shape or size you are, you will always pick at your imperfections and the people that really matter actually like you regardless of your shape or size – go figure.

As I begin to prioritise the feeling I get from certain clothes rather than the number on a scale, I’m noticing more and more that its the way I measure my self-love that makes all the difference to my outlook and general output of total bad-ass sass. *sassy finger click*

Over the years, I’ve struggled with my body and weight. I’ve never been fat but I thought I wasn’t thin enough.

Throughout my teenage years, I never liked the way I looked and I hated shopping purely for fear of the number inside the clothes. My boobs were never perfectly round, my bum jiggled way too much and my stomach was never flat. I went through phases of restricting my diet, controlling portion sizes and cutting out all the things I thought were bad. But then, I would secret eat to make myself feel better. If your mum didn’t know about the chocolate bar hidden in your dressing gown pocket it didn’t count, right?

Do you know what I learned from these fad-diets and silly rules I made? That I cannot and absolutely will not live without chocolate and that, my friends, is perfectly okay. Oh and potatoes, I love all kinds of potatoes.

Far too often men and women are too busy fretting about the numbers on a scale instead of focusing on how their body feels and celebrating what it can do. We let numbers define how happy we are with ourselves instead of focusing on what actually matters. We deem our reflection ugly or gross because we wish we had a smaller number when we stepped on the scale.

I set myself a challenge a couple of years ago to look at myself in the mirror everyday, to even look at the bits of me I didn’t like, and tell myself something good. With everyday, slowly but surely, I liked more of what I saw. I may have lost weight but my shape stayed the same, just a little smaller.

My bum jiggles. My tummy isn’t flat. My legs are practically the Mecca for cellulite.

But let me tell you something. My arse looks damn fine in a pair of skinny jeans and when I go out and party I shake what my momma gave me. My body is perfectly normal and it’s imperfections are what make it my own. I’m not a fitness or nutrition guru, I don’t have the time or patience to squat a zillion times a day. I like doughnuts and ice cream too much to care and I have an aversion to avocado. I don’t eat ‘clean’ because I will never see food as being something dirty or bad – it’s my fuel and I enjoy eating. I might walk everywhere but I run for no one and it’s going to stay that way.

My point is that even though when I step on the scales I might not like the number I see, when I look in the mirror all of that is irrelevant. I have a banging booty and I like my waist. I wear clothes that make me feel good regardless of what size I have to buy to avoid splitting my skirt open mid-twerk.

Learning to love your body, especially when you’re in your teens, is by no means an easy task. We’re bombarded every day with the perfectly photoshopped bodies of models and celebrities, so who can blame us for wanting their perfectly sculpted and highlighted breasts? But that isn’t a true reflection of the variety and diversity of beauty and fabulousness that our bodies have to offer. Models offer a certain kind of body type. They shouldn’t be placed on a pedestal for having the only kind of desirable body there is. Not to mention, half the models don’t even look like their photographs. Let’s face it, if models need to be photoshopped then do any of us really stand a chance?

The good news is there are loads of men and women fighting to combat this idea. They’re posting pictures of their rolls, refusing photoshop and retouching and they’re showing the world what their body really has to offer. And it’s amazing.

When we finally accept that absolutely bloody everyone has a couple of rolls under their t-shirt, it makes it a little bit easier to love your own. So don’t fret. Your imperfections are perfect in their own way and you wouldn’t be you without them.

Love,
Beth xo

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6 thoughts on “#BodyPositivity: How the scales are damaging our self-esteem

  1. Lydia says:

    I read this in my lunch break lol but didn’t have time to comment. I think that regardless of what other people think, if you are happy with the way you look then that’s all there is to it, but if you aren’t then you should take steps to change that. I think if people wanna go to the gym and eat clean that’s up to them and a good way of getting healthy/fit that should be encouraged. The bad stuff comes in when people are telling other people that they need to lose weight or change their dietary habits because although they may have your best interests at heart unless you want to make that change then its fruitless. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this though mandem.

  2. Jay says:

    I LOVE this post! It was so thought out and well written! It felt like I was listening to a friend talk rather than a lecture. The points you made were… well.. on point! All my life I’ve been very thin. It was hard for me to gain weight and I always wanted too because people would say I didn’t eat and that I was too thin. Now that I’m in my 20’s – especially this past year – I have gained at least 15 pounds. Now although I’m at a good weight I notice that my tummy is different and I want to work out now that I’ve gained. I just need to be happy with who I am and what I look like. This post was amazing and I would definitely recommend. Great job! x

    Jay
    blissfulbeautybird.com

    • elizabethferguson says:

      Thank you so much! I really just wanted to share my experience with body image and weight rather than preach how people should be or look!
      My oldest friend is exactly the same as you. She finds it next to impossible to gain weight and has always been incredibly slim. So much so that people have called her names and accused her of having eating disorders when she tried so hard to look after herself and get to a healthy weight! She’s also recently managed to gain some weight and feels so much better. You’ve just got to be happy and healthy! Thanks so much for reading and for you kind comments xo

  3. bethparnaby says:

    I hope this link works : https://www.facebook.com/bodyimagemovement/videos/890239007770442/?pnref=story <- Have a look at it. If not, then search 'body image movement' on Facebook. I shared her video/trailer just recently and I love it. It's all about that searching to be perfect / never feeling content with yourself. Even though there's nothing wrong with who you are.

    I've felt the exact same as you for god knows how long. I went through a phase in high school where I literally only ate carrots. I mean, yeah, I lost weight but crikey did it do damage elsewhere. I've ran/swam/biked a lot over the past few years so now… no matter how hard I may try when I'm feeling all ratty… I'll never get rid of the thighs or the ass. Some days I love it… others i'm like 'WHY ME?!'

    It sucks that people are made to feel like they are not good as they are. We just have to take little steps and congratulate ourselves when we do.

    Beth ~ http://www.bethparnaby.com

    • elizabethferguson says:

      Thank you! I shall definitely take a look at that! I feel like the most important thing in this is that practically everyone feels the same way, and you’re never alone in feeling inadequate.
      I was a trampolinist for 5 years whilst at school so my legs were thick and rock solid throughout my teens and even now, nearly 6 years on, I’m always gonna have the thighs and the booty. So I definitely feel you on that one! Some days I look at them and I’m like, why won’t you be slim? and then other days I’m like, HONEY look at that booty, work it! You’ve just got to embrace what you’ve got the best you can!
      The more open the discussion is about body image the more we can progress and leave these ideals and pressures behind. We will always compare ourselves to others but if the bodies we see more often are representative of healthy and realistic body types, we won’t work so hard and do so much damage trying to achieve the unachievable!

      Thank you so much for reading xo

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