Another post about body image today, I’ve had this one kind of swirling around in my mind for a while now but I never felt like it was the right time to try and write it, until today.
Over the past 6 months or so I’ve stopped worrying so much about starving and torturing myself in order to fit a certain number on the scales or reach my ‘goal weight’ – as I said in this post, nothing I ever seem to do is enough anyway – even when I do reach that goal weight or lose x amount of pounds, I’m still unhappy, and it’s because it’s a mental thing – it’s the way that I see myself.
Lately, something that I heard a while ago has really been on my mind and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. It was during this Tanya Burr video where she talks about body confidence and she gives the example that her friend Zoe (Sugg) has a completely different body type than her and therefore she would never look at Zoe and think wow, I want to look like that, because she knows it’s not achievable – her body is simply not made in the same way and therefore nothing that she could ever do would allow her to look the same way that Zoe does. She has accepted that she will never have this kind of figure because her body just isn’t like that and she accepts and loves herself for what she is anyway – in her own words – “Zoe’s figure is beautiful, but so is mine”. She says that Cara Delevingne for example, has a gorgeous figure but she shouldn’t be idolising that because it’s just not attainable for her.
This factor is so, so important.
I have realised that the reason I am so unsatisfied with my own body is because I’m looking at people with bodies I cannot achieve, therefore my results will never be good enough and I beat myself up again and again over it – it’s one vicious cycle. What I fail to realise is that I’m idolising people with body types I simply cannot have because I’m not built in that way, and even if I did manage to starve myself to a point of looking like that person, I still wouldn’t be able to sustain it – it wouldn’t be achievable for me.
Let’s take Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande for example – two completely different body types, two completely beautiful women. If Demi spent her whole life idolising Ariana and wishing she could achieve her body, it would probably make her ill – mentally and physically. Demi is simply not built like Ariana and even if she did manage to achieve Ariana’s figure, it wouldn’t be sustainable because Demi is simply not made that way, and vice versa.
Bodies come in all different shapes and sizes and when you spend your life wishing and longing to have a body type that isn’t yours, it can be very damaging. Just like Tanya said, body confidence is about accepting yourself the way you are – why waste time longing for a body you can’t have? Why make yourself ill to have something that was never meant to be yours? I’m very conscious with the people I choose to look up to now in terms of ‘body goals’, I look at people whose bodies I can achieve – bodies that are more like mine. My body type is definitely a Demi or Tanya rather than a Zoe or Ariana, and that’s absolutely fine (and vice versa). I feel like the whole realisation of this point is kind of obvious yet it’s something people don’t seem to understand or figure out and I just can’t understand why, even for myself this whole realisation never even came to light until I heard Tanya say it out loud in that video. I’d never even thought of it.
I’m not saying that if you want to achieve a certain body type that’s different from your own then you will never be able to achieve it, rather, you may be able to achieve it, but will you be able to sustain it? I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen female celebrities lose so much weight that they drop down to a dress size 8 but then go back up to a 10-12 because they said they were so miserable at the smaller size since they couldn’t sustain it – they literally couldn’t eat anything. That is not healthy. A body type is a lifestyle, not a diet.
Everyone is beautiful in their own individual way and everyone’s body is different – no two are the same. Try not to idolise people with thigh gaps and flat chests if your body is naturally more curvy and you know damn well there’s no getting rid of your boobs, you know? Look at people with similar body types to you and use them for inspiration instead – which parts of their body would you like to achieve? What kind of clothes are they wearing? How are they presenting themselves?
Unrealistic expectations will damage you in more ways than one. Do not make yourself ill for a body that was never meant to be yours – something I have done more times than I’d like to remember.
There’s a quote (supposedly) by Albert Einstein that I’m sure a lot of you will have heard, and it’s this:
“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”.
I’m going to (badly) rewrite it for a second in hopes of essentially summarising what I’m trying to say here:
“If you judge an elephant by its ability to be the same size as a mouse, it will live its whole life believing that it is too much.”
(and no, I’m not calling anyone an elephant or a mouse – it’s a (bad) figure of speech, but you get the idea)
Always stay safe and remember you are wonderful just the way you are.
All my love,