After many many years of struggling with my body image, I thought fitness would be my answer to find happiness and feel confident. In some ways, it was. I found a career I can be truly passionate about. I found a way to transform my body & feel healthier and more energetic. But did losing body fat, gaining muscle tone and getting a smaller waistline ultimately equal happiness and self-acceptance? No, not really.
I look back on my days competing and I can tell you when I was at my leanest I was still pretty damn insecure and honestly outright miserable most of the time. I started my fitness journey at 27% body fat… then dropped to 23%… Did my first show around 16%… Won my overall title at 13%… Competed on the National stage at 11%….
Never Good Enough
I was never satisfied and didn’t feel any happier and certainly not any more confident or comfortable in my own skin. Instead, I became highly skilled at finding tiny flaws, and comparing myself to other women, constantly. My point here is: a lower number on the scale, a smaller size in your jeans, or more defined abs will not bring you happiness.
Happiness comes from within
It comes from loving yourself regardless of size, or a number on the scale. Learning to love your body is not easy, conceited or frivolous.
As a female, it can be especially hard to love and accept yourself. Society tells women our worth is directly correlated to our appearance and we follow right along. Spending countless dollars and hours in salons, spas, or in front of the mirror applying makeup and perfecting our hair. We diet, we exercise, we juice cleanse, we “waist train,” we drink “skinny teas” and do whatever it takes to try to measure up to that impossible ideal of beauty established by society. And we fall short and we hate ourselves for it.
Love MY Body
After two decades of battling this perception, I can now honestly say I love and accept myself, and my body, every day.
Sure, I have my days where I feel gross or bloated, or whatever (I blame hormones). And sure, I’d like to shed a few pounds of body fat at the moment but I have grown to appreciate the strong, healthy body I’ve been blessed with and more importantly, my outward appearance is just the packaging for who I really am, my worth, and what I have to offer.
Love Your Body At Any Size
It feels amazing to reach a fitness goal, and see your body transform. I am not negating that but you have to do the mental homework as well. To truly feel happy and fabulous in your skin you have to learn to love and accept yourself and your body image at your max weight, just as much as you do at your goal weight.
Here are my 5 tips to help you feel fabulous in your own skin and to LOVE YOUR BODY today
Banish negative self-talk. We all do it. “I hate how my thighs touch”, “my stomach is sticking out”, “my arms look flabby”. Any of this sound familiar? Put an end to it. Remember, goal weight isn’t about the weight your goal is about how you will feel when you reach it or how you think you’ll feel.
𝒴𝑜𝓊 𝓌𝒾𝓁𝓁 𝓃𝑒𝓋𝑒𝓇 𝒻𝑒𝑒𝓁 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝒹 𝒾𝓃 𝓎𝑜𝓊𝓇 𝒷𝑜𝒹𝓎 𝓊𝓃𝓉𝒾𝓁 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝓁𝑒𝒶𝓇𝓃 𝓉𝑜 𝓈𝓉𝑜𝓅 𝒸𝓇𝒾𝓉𝒾𝒸𝒾𝓏𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒾𝓉.
Stand up straight. Take Mom’s advice and work on your posture. Not only does good posture keep your spine healthy, but it makes you instantly look taller, slimmer and more confident. From my years on stage and doing photo shoots it never ceased to amaze me how different our bodies look based on posing alone. So make the world your stage and stand tall, proud of what you have going on today!
Wear clothes that flatter YOUR body. I love fashion, and finally in my late 20’s I finally feel like I’ve established my own personal style. In my early twenties, I tried to make every trend work on me and would often find myself feeling insecure and tugging on my clothes or “sucking it in.” That doesn’t exactly leave room to enjoy living the present moment. Experiment with what looks good on your body, what flatters your shape, what you feel confident in, and go with it. Ignore the trends that aren’t flattering on you & stick with styles that make you feel like a million bucks!
Smile. Did you know the act of smiling sends neural messages to your brain that promote happiness & good health? It is the quickest, surefire way to feel better and appear more attractive instantly!
𝐵𝑜𝒹𝓎 𝒸𝑜𝓃𝒻𝒾𝒹𝑒𝓃𝒸𝑒 𝒹𝑜𝑒𝓈𝓃’𝓉 𝒸𝑜𝓂𝑒 𝒻𝓇𝑜𝓂 𝓉𝓇𝓎𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓉𝑜 𝒶𝒸𝒽𝒾𝑒𝓋𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓅𝑒𝓇𝒻𝑒𝒸𝓉 𝒷𝑜𝒹𝓎. 𝐼𝓉 𝒸𝑜𝓂𝑒𝓈 𝒻𝓇𝑜𝓂 𝑒𝓂𝒷𝓇𝒶𝒸𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝑜𝓃𝑒 𝓎𝑜𝓊’𝓋𝑒 𝑔𝑜𝓉.
Fake it ‘til you make it. There is nothing more attractive and appealing than confidence. Now, hopefully, with these tips and a positive mindset, you are actually OOZING with confidence. But if you’re like me, confidence can still be a struggle sometimes.
Here’s a secret: even the people who seem the most confident still struggle. But they don’t let it show, and they don’t entertain insecurity. Adopt a personal mantra and cling to it, even if at first you aren’t really feeling it, in time you will. One of mine is “I am beautiful, I am confident, I am inherently worthy.” Find one that means something to you and repeat it before you walk out the door, step into a meeting, or arrive at a party.
Love Your Body [email protected]
I hope these tips will help you to feel like the fierce, fabulous, amazing being that you are! If you have tips of your own or questions or comments leave them in the space below, I always love hearing from you. Stay positive, my friends and don’t be afraid to love your body.
Meet the author
Justine Sloan is a Health & Mindset Coach, and the Co-Founder of Boss Ladies MKE. Her mission is to empower women to feel confident in their bodies, and stop dieting- forever! Justine worked in the fitness industry for a decade as a personal trainer and fitness model. The tremendous pressure of fitness modeling took a serious toll on Justine’s health. In 2014, she reached her “rock bottom turning point,” after being diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and thyroid dysfunction. She decided to focus on what made her feel happy and whole. After that, Justine transitioned from fitness to coaching and created her unique approach to help women find a healthy, sustainable balance. She believes in taking the drama out of eating- and that feeling awesome in your body can be natural and fun. Justine helps women make lasting transformations, so they can stop stressing over food and start living life to the fullest!
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(article updated originally published October 2016)