Why Most Women Think They’re Bigger than They Really Are + How to Combat Body Insecurity
Oh the joys of spring cleaning
I stepped into my closet, and overwhelm hit me in the face. So.Much.Stuff. As I sifted through every clothing item in my closet, I thought to myself, “Almost 1/3 of my closet doesn’t even fit me anymore.” So, I immediately began to toss random clothing items to the side. “Those shorts can’t possibly fit me. I bought those when I was in much better shape. That shirt can’t possibly fit me. It’s two years old.”
I finally pulled out a pair of overalls that I fell in love with the moment I bought them. They were the only item worth trying on just IN CASE I could squeeze myself into them. Even if they halfway fit, it would be totally worth it! I stepped into the overalls and slid them right on. “What? No sucking in needed? No weight loss required? But how? These are from two years ago when I was working out five days a week!”
This epiphany hit me so hard. For years, I thought I was so much heavier than I actually was.
As human beings, we are extremely impressionable. In addition, we are consumers from the moment we take our first breath. We are always looking at the world around us, absorbing ideals, sifting through pictures, reading articles, watching TV shows, and unintentionally adopting standards and ideals the world presents to us. From the content we consume, we create the foundation for our life: the values, morals and standards we choose to live by.
A few years ago I was doing Cross-fit every day simply because I enjoyed it. This was the time in my life that I refer to as “when I was in the best shape.” I remember feeling confident more often than not, I rarely thought about how big my thighs were, and I never hesitated to throw on a bikini and wear it fearlessly. Although my body hasn’t changed drastically, I subconsciously feel like it has. Why is that? Why do I feel so much bigger, so much more insecure and so much more consumed with the idea of having the “perfect body” now?
My obsession shifted from being strong to being perfect
As human beings, we have to put our attention towards something. We go through seasons, and our focus shifts in each one. The key here is that we get to choose where our focus lies. Cross-fit is about pushing your body to its limits. It’s about tapping into your strengths and becoming the best you can be. When my life became too busy for the sport and I no longer was pushing my body, I started to notice insecurities that I hadn’t before. The truth is that my body barely changed - all changes have been minor, such as becoming less toned and gaining more cellulite. But because my focus shifted towards attaining perfection, the change seemed extremely drastic.
What we consume and focus our energy on will consume the entirety of our lives. It’s about time that we stopped obsessing over our body and its “imperfections.” Here’s three ways to combat body insecurity:
1| Consume content that is all inclusive - every shape, size, color, and figure you can think of.
If you scroll through your Instagram feed and only see one body type, it’s time to become more inclusive. It’s even more imperative if this body-type isn’t the one you have. When we consume content that portrays the idea that there is only one body type in the world that is good enough, beautiful and “perfect,” then we will always walk away from our phones feeling like we don’t measure up. Do a social media evaluation. Get on your most used social media platform and evaluate the content you see. Is it inclusive and does it portray all types of bodies? Evaluate how you feel after you walk away from social media. Based on that, follow and unfollow some accounts. Create a full, attainable, true standard for yourself.
2| Shift your focus from perfection to health.
I think that we have skewed our perception of what health looks like. It doesn’t mean eating dry chicken and broccoli every day for lunch. It doesn’t mean that you look in the mirror and see perfect curves, airbrushed skin and tiny legs. It means that you are taking care of your body. It means that you are consuming nourishing foods and getting active when you can. Let’s stop setting unrealistic health goals for ourselves. Instead of trying to work out seven days a week, try to get active three days. And instead of cutting out all sugar and carbs, try minimizing the consumption of those things 4-5 days a week. Focus on staying healthy rather than attaining perfection… Because newsflash, for both myself and you, friend: perfection doesn’t exist.
3| Look at yourself in the mirror. I mean, really look. Say this over and over again: “YOU are a beautiful work of art.”
Thousands of studies prove the power of self-talk. It can have a tremendously positive impact or an extremely negative impact on your self-esteem. I want you to walk up to a mirror and stare at your reflection. Look at your face, your nose, your smile, your curves, the lack thereof, your cellulite, your feet, your arms, and your stomach. Soak it all in, not in a judgmental way, but in a loving way. Say this out loud: “YOU are a beautiful work of art.” If you’re brave enough, I dare you to stand in front of the mirror naked and recite this. Do it once a day for twenty days straight, and watch your self-esteem sky-rocket!
Do you want to grow in confidence, love the reflection you see in the mirror and walk unashamedly in your identity? Click here to download our FREE e-book, EMBRACE, all about loving yourself well.
How do you battle body insecurity? Share your tips below!
Ashton is the founder of The Authentic Woman, a platform that empowers women to live authentically as themselves. She firmly believes that women have the power to shift culture, eradicate unjust standards and ultimately change the world. When she's not working with her husband, she is most likely sipping on a cup of local coffee, swooning over pottery or adding to her succulent collection.
Connect with Ashton over on her Instagram!