Ashleigh Potter My Body Positive & Confidence Story
I’ve always been the big girl. All the way through primary, secondary school and beyond. I never had any issues with body image until I left school, but now, I regularly struggle with my body image.
I was lucky as a teenager, puberty didn’t hit me hard. I didn’t get many breakouts, I got barely any stretch marks and I guess I didn’t notice much weight gain because I was already bigger than most. But when I was about 20, the effects of puberty sought out their revenge. I got stretch marks on my hips, legs, back and breasts. You know the ones, the purple, really noticeable ones. Now if I eat the wrong things my skin breaks out and I’ve put on a lot more weight than I ever thought I would. This really affected the way I thought about myself and my self-esteem went way down.
I would look in the mirror and cry. There was a period of time where I hated my body. It’s not something I like to admit because I preach body positivity nowadays but I guess sometimes you’ve gotta hit rock bottom before you can start moving up. Becoming body positive was something I had to consciously decide to do. It’s not something that happened overnight, it’s something I continuously had to, and still do work on everyday. Some days I have to actively decide to be body positive. Even now, I sometimes look at myself in the mirror and I instinctively start picking out flaws.
I’ve learnt that your mind can play tricks on you. Sometimes, depending on your mood it only shows you what it wants you to see. If you’re having a bad day, you’re more likely to pick out the flaws. If you’re having a good day, you’re more likely to see the good. It’s mind over matter. You can choose to have a good day. It is possible, trust me I know it is because I’ve done it.
I have a few tips and tricks to make myself more confident and I hope they help you as well!
Move your body
Moving your body has so many amazing benefits. It doesn’t mean going to the gym, just move your body. Go for a walk, dance in the kitchen, do some gardening or go to the beach. Just get up and move your body. It makes a huge difference. My favourite is dancing and going for a 30 minute walk.
Wear clothes you’re comfortable in
Being uncomfortable is the biggest confidence killer in my book. If you feel uncomfortable, you will look uncomfortable and people will notice. Find clothes that fit well and make you feel amazing. Only buy it if you feel like you have to have it. This goes onto my next point.
Only go clothes shopping when you’re feeling good
If you’re feeling sick, bloated, in pain, depressed or angry, today is not a good day to go clothes shopping. You are only going to beat yourself up and end up feeling worse. If you don’t particularly enjoy clothes shopping, try online shopping (with a company that has a good return policy if you feel the need) or take a close, trusted friend with you for moral support.
Look in the mirror to see the good
Lastly, I want to challenge you. Next time you look in the mirror, say out loud three things you like or love about yourself. If you see something bad, don’t say it out loud, only say the good. See how many you can find. If you can only find one, that’s ok, keep saying it out loud when you look at yourself in the mirror and I can promise you, you will gradually find another and another.
Loving your body and being body positive is something you can teach yourself and learn to do. It takes practice but I promise you it can be done.