Pretty much every woman – and even some men – I know struggles with their body image. By this I mean having a positive body image. Women (and men) of all shapes and sizes, even those who are fit or thin as defined by societal “norms”, deal with body positivity. And I am certainly no different. I have mostly positive days, but those rough days drop in from time to time. You know which ones I mean? Those “I feel fat and nothing in my closet looks good on me and I’m never going out again” days…
This is especially difficult in the digital age where we are constantly bombarded with images of seemingly perfect people living their seemingly perfect lives. Take note, people are only posting the good stuff. I say it about myself all the time. And then, of course, there are those a$$holes online whose sole purpose is to troll. I just don’t understand trolling… does your life suck so badly that the only way to make yourself feel better is to put others down?! Sorry, side rant.
Young people are even more susceptible to falling prey to these unrealistic targets. I have to say, I’m glad I went through middle and high school before social media existed! Not that it was easy for me anyway. I have always been larger than average and I was bullied. And it didn’t help that my sister (with whom I’m very close and love dearly so no malice to her) was and continues to be thin.
I’m a curvy woman and I like that about myself. I don’t necessarily want to fit into the “norm” (nor am I willing to make the sacrifices to achieve it) so I’ve learned to accept the flaws as I get older. Are there parts of my body that I’d change, if I had the time and money for plastic surgery (b/c frankly no amount or type of exercise can fix certain things)? Sure, absolutely. But in the meantime, these are my classy tips for maintaining a positive body image.
Dress to flatter your best assets For example, I’m not particularly fond of my knees, esp from the back, so I tend to wear skirts and dresses with hems that fall below the knee or longer. I’m also a little pear shaped so I stay away from sheath and unstructured dresses (which would cause a tent-like appearance on me). For more on dressing for your body shape, see my earlier post here.
Buy pieces that make me feel great! You know that feeling you get when you try on something new and look in the mirror, you think “Wow! This was made for me!” Those are the pieces I’m talking about. P.S. if you find you’re fidgeting with it, then it probably doesn’t fit right and isn’t the right size or piece for you.
Get out of your own head! Listen, few of us fits perfectly into “standard” sizes found in most stores. (I use the term standard very loosely, as fit can change significantly by brand, garment type, fabric, cut, style, etc.) My biggest issue is with pants. I have thicker thighs and hips, and in order to fit those body parts, I have to size up, causing all my pants to gape at the waist. So I’ve learned to live with it and get the waist adjusted. Moral of the story: your body is not weird b/c not everything fits perfectly. Find a good alterations person and get those little things corrected.
Exercise or get outdoors. Sometimes, when I’m having a few of those blah days in a row, I find that jumping on the treadmill or going for a walk outside clears the mind. Like a re-set button!
Use shapewear. I know, I know, it’s not comfortable and you work up a sweat putting it on. Me too! But I definitely feel more confident with the shapewear than without. And it’s not about looking thinner. It’s about creating a beautiful silhouette.
Practice self-care. I find a little bit of pampering goes a long way. Get a facial. Change your hair cut or colour. Maybe a fresh mani-pedi at a fancy spa.
When all else fails, wear your favourite outfit. Everyone has those go-to looks or pieces that make them feel like a million bucks. Maybe it’s an LBD, or a great pair of jeans, or a sexy jumpsuit.
Secret tip: know your best photo angles. I’m not encouraging anyone to represent themselves falsely. Just to put your best foot forward. My left side is my better side. Pop that arm onto your hip to make your arm look leaner. Angle selfies a little high to avoid that double chin… and don’t get carried away with the photo editing apps…