Every morning when I wake up I reach straight for my phone. After turning off my alarm, which I set for about fifteen minutes before I actually need to climb out of bed, I start scrolling through Instagram. Now I follow a lot of fitness accounts on there, so I immediately find myself looing at heavily posed photos of girls at the gym in Gymshark leggings which always make their bum look amazing. Or they’re in bikinis, again heavily posing to flaunt their abs and their toned legs. I’m not bashing these accounts at all. The ones I follow post some really good workout videos which I save to my collection and use to inspire some of my exercises when I’m at the gym or when I’m at home. But with Instagram especially, it’s hard to separate what we see from reality. What I want to talk about today, is some of my top tips for feeling positive about the way you look. I don’t always wake up and feel like a 10/10 – in fact, I never do. But most of the time I am pretty accepting about my shape and size.
So my first tip is this. You might not look like some of the girls you see on the Explore page of Instagram, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t look good. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you look at these photos with the knowledge that some of them are edited or that some of these girls are seriously breaking their backs to make themselves look curvier, then it will be easier to tell yourself that this is not necessarily reality. Also on a side note, if you don’t get over 60 likes on an Instagram post, it’s really not a huge deal. It’s your Instagram page, if you like a particular photo then why shouldn’t you upload it? I have 500 Instagram posts on my personal account and only a few of them have more than about 30 likes. My blogging Instagram (@thetanyatales) is pretty new and has even less, but I’m really not that concerned!
2. Keeping fit
I don’t think there is a better way to feel positive about your body than by doing exercise to keep fit. You don’t even have to have any particular body goals that you’re working towards – like slimmer legs or bigger arms. You might just genuinely want to keep fit, which I think is the best reason to start going to the gym or start exercising. There is nothing wrong with wanting to change certain parts of your body through exercise, but just understand that this will take time, consistency and also a good diet. Knowing that I exercise every week makes me feel a lot more positive about my body because I know that I am taking care of it. I also find a lot of new exercises to do from the little Instagram videos that I mentioned earlier. My top two accounts at the moment are Danielle Roberston (@dannibelle) and Grace Beverley (@GraceFitUK).
3. Eating the right foods
Even though I exercise, I do sometimes struggle to stay away from the wrong foods. I love chocolate. Sometimes about three quarters of the way through my day I just really crave something sweet and I have to try really hard not to give in to that desire. If I’ve brought an alternative snack with me, like some fruit, then I’m fine. If not, it’s a different story. It’s also really difficult being at work with a little Starbucks hut within walking distance, to not waste money on sugary drinks like a hot chocolate or a white chocolate mocha. Some people don’t have these temptations, but if you do, I think the best thing you can do is find an alternative for the things you crave.
4. Cooking from scratch
This is my favourite tip because it has changed the way I eat so much. For a few months now, I’ve stopped buying pre-made sauces and started making everything from scratch. Firstly, I cannot emphasise how much better the taste is. Secondly, with the ingredients you buy, you can actually make the same sauce multiple times which means that you have saved money! Finally, you know exactly what you’re eating down to every single ingredient and there is just something very satisfying about this.
5. Dressing for your figure
In all honesty, you can wear whatever you want and feel good in it. Even if it’s something horrible to somebody else, if you wear it with confidence, chances are that will show and you will look great. However, there are just some things that are not going to be as flattering on certain body types. This doesn’t mean that there are some things you can’t wear, you just might have to wear them slightly differently to somebody else. Maybe you have to add a belt or get a high-waisted fit instead of a low-rise in a certain pair of jeans. This is never a bad thing anyway, it’s all about adding your own touch to an outfit.
Body positivity is a work in progress for all of us. Of course there are things I would love to tweak about my body but it just isn’t worth obsessing over. If you’re taking care of your body from the inside, then it will definitely show on the outside. Drinking lots of water will help to keep your skin clear for example. Eating lots of fruit and veg (although I’m not the best in the world at doing this everyday) will give you a lot more energy, which will help you to feel and look less tired. And please, do not admire the bodies you see on Instagram. If you type in “Instagram Editing” on YouTube, you can find a ton of videos showing you how people change their photos before uploading them. So it definitely isn’t always real life!