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Body Image is something that many of us deal with. Statistics show 91% of females struggle with at some stage of their life, so here are a few ways on how to deal with it and learn to appreciate yourself!

Is your body image holding you back?

It’s that time of year when temperatures are starting to rise, humidity hits an all-time high and the less fabric on your skin, the better.  Maybe you have signed up to the new 8 week challenge because you want to get leaner, stronger, a little bit fitter before Summer comes. And challenges are fantastic for this!  I love seeing people transform their bodies and lives.  I also love the challenge that people set and seeing them step outside their comfort zones to become fitter, stronger versions of themselves.  A major part that seems to be lacking when so many of us embark on these challenges is the mental and emotional changes that it takes to really change habits and mindset.

A little research uncovered some concerning facts.  91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and consistently diet to change their body shape.  This isn’t just a female issue though – 34% of males are displeased with their appearance too.  Even more worrying is the 38% of Australian 4 year old girls who are dissatisfied with their bodies.  These statistics identify that body image is increasingly becoming a much bigger issue.  The mental picture that we have of our bodies and the way we feel about our bodies when we look in the mirror needs to change.

I have just signed up to the challenge too. I’m committed and want to succeed. I even convinced my husband to sign up with me so I know we can be each other’s biggest cheerleaders. I’ve been a bit too social lately. Just like some of you, I have been drinking a bit and overindulging. I want to get back on track and change some habits. These are all great reasons to join the challenge – the only person that can truly change your life, is you. Deep down; however, I know my real reason is because I want to be bikini ready.  My ‘before’ picture was taken and I almost cried.  Why does stripping down to your undies in fluorescent lighting in front of your fit, strong trainer seem like the stuff nightmares are made of?  Does the fact that I’m a little heavier than I was last year make me a terrible person?  Does it make me a bad wife, daughter, sister, aunty?  Does it mean I can’t do my job?  Of course not.

A conversation with a friend highlighted that we are indeed focusing on the wrong things.  Why is self-worth so reliant on what we look like for so many of us?  Why do we believe that if our thighs were smaller, if we could just lose the last 5kg, [insert any other thought here], our lives would be better? Confidence doesn’t always come from a change in appearance. A quick survey of my Instagram followers showed that so many of them struggle with their body image – yep, even those people you would never imagine – and that learning to love themselves as they are was a key goal.  We also know that social media has a lot of explaining to do when it comes to unrealistic images that influence our thinking.  

To begin the transformation of your mind, maybe you could start by pointing out what you love about yourself rather than what you don’t like.  This doesn’t have to be appearance related.  It could be as simple as telling yourself that you love how strong your legs are, that you’re quick thinking at maths problems, that your laugh is fantastic, that your body gave birth to your children.  Something else to remember – exercise shouldn’t be punishment for something you ate.  It should be something you do for your body because you love it and you want it to be strong and fit. Do this challenge because you love your body and yourself, smash the goals because you are worth it.