I’ve Struggled With Confidence
Throughout my teenage years for the most part I was fit, athletic and healthy. Sport was always high on the agenda. My parents brought me up to eat nutritious and wholesome food. Due to all this activity and healthy eating my weight never was an issue.
However, once given the full reign of independence after starting college this went out the window. Take-aways, biscuits, crisps and lots of alcohol became common place. I hadn’t a full understanding of how excess calories due to lack of physical activity and calorie dense meals was going to affect my body composition.
Unsurprisingly my weight sky-rocketed within a few months. My once athletic, lean body had become pudgy and flabby. There were less muscles and more moobs.
It will come as no shock that this new physique was having a dent on my confidence. I couldn’t bare the sight of photos. I lost count of the number of times I ‘untagged’ a photo.
This experience, unbeknown to me at the time, would become a vital part of my career. Throughout my years in the fitness industry I have worked with dozens of mums.
A Shockingly Common Theme
A question I often ask is, ‘If you were to gain the body you’ve always wanted how would that make you feel?’. When I first asked that question I had no idea how similar of a theme would run through the answers.
I can confidently say that at least 90% of the answers have included the words ‘increased confidence’. This was shocking, and in a way sad to hear. Women that were once confident and proud of their bodies are struggling to see their bodies in that way anymore.
This could be from creeping habits of excess food and limited physical activity (perhaps from lack of time). A large percentage of mums are finding it difficult to ‘regain’ their pre-baby body.
Whatever the reason regaining that confidence should be a priority for women. The way I see it you have three options; 1. Have a complete mind-set shift to become proud of your body regardless of its shape/size, 2. Make fitness and nutrition a priority so that you ‘build’ the body you want or my personal favourite 3. Do a mixture of both.
I wish that all women were able to become proud of the body they have, whether it’s tall, small, broad or petit. Although you might be carrying some extra weight, you could still be proud of some parts of your body. Maybe it’s your bum or legs or arms. Perhaps you love the curves that you have.
Changing Mind-set Is Difficult
Unfortunately getting into this mind-set can be difficult, trust me I know. Especially if you were once thinner and more comfortable in your body. People tend to look at the past and yearn for a physique they once had.
Throughout the years I have heard the phases ‘I don’t identify with my current body’ or ‘this doesn’t feel like my body’. The first time I heard that it shocked me. This means that countless women are feeling like they’re trapped in someone else’s body. Do you look into the mirror and see someone else staring you in the face?
If you’re feeling like you’re within a body that isn’t really yours, I’m going to suggest that option number 1 isn’t really possible. How can you become proud of a body that doesn’t even feel like your own?
Before deciding that you want to build, or regain, the body you want you need to understand that feeling proud of the outcome isn’t the be all and end all. You need to get into the mind-set of embracing the process and become proud of that process.
For example, fitting back into size 10 jeans might be the outcome you’d be proud of. Of course you’d be proud of that and it will most definitely instil that confidence you crave. But why not become proud of the process and steps you are taking to get there?
Enjoy the Process
If you’ve made the commitment to walk every day be proud of that! That takes huge sacrifice and hard work to make consistent. Embrace the pride you feel in taking that step. There is an inner confidence that you gain from something like this, regardless of whether or not your body has changed.
When small aesthetic changes do occur, like measurement decreases, then you can start to gain pride in your body. Going from a 38 to 37 inch waist is no easy feat, so although you mightn’t be into that skimpy size 10 number, it’s still an outcome to gain confidence in!
Inevitably weight loss leads to pride in parts of our body we never noticed before. Perhaps before you hated your large legs but the loss of a stone or two has made them toned. Maybe you’d never given much thought to your calves before but now they’re muscular and defined.
I’d like to stress again that I genuinely believe people should try to feel confident in whatever body they have, but often this seems impossible. It’s just how we’re wired.
In college when I was washing down chicken baguettes with pints of Carlsberg my little pot belly prevented me from feelings of pride. Someone lecturing me to ‘become proud of your body, regardless of how it looks’ would have been of no benefit.
Within a few months of being back on the ‘health’ train, the return of biceps and pecs made my confidence sky rocket. No longer would I wear baggy, oversized hoodies. Sleeveless t-shirts and shorts returned with a vengeance.
It wasn’t just the return of these aesthetics that made me proud and confident but enjoying the process along the way. I say embrace the parts of your body that you love but also embrace the steps you’re taking to get there!
If you’re interested in taking part in a program with me why not send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org