"Your body is not a problem to be solved." - Jessica Porten
Today marks the first day of spring, a time of renewal, rejuvenation, and new beginnings. As we say goodbye to the cold winter weather and welcome the warmer, brighter days ahead, it's the perfect opportunity to celebrate the season of growth and new life.
With the arrival of spring, we can look forward to longer days, blooming flowers, and greener landscapes. It's a time for outdoor activities, from picnics to hiking to simply enjoying a leisurely stroll in the sunshine. We can also begin to shed the layers of winter clothing and embrace lighter, brighter wardrobes.
So, let's welcome spring with open arms and a positive attitude, as we look forward to all the good things this season has in store for us!
This brings me to the topic of body image. Society tends to have a trend of making body image a part of our self-worth where it has nothing to do with who we really are. I wanted to dive into this today and enlighten a path to a positive self-image and a better you.
As we approach the opening of summer, with its promise of sunshine, warmth, and outdoor fun, it's natural to start thinking about our bodies and how we feel in them. For many of us, this can be a sensitive and challenging topic, as we struggle with insecurities and negative self-talk about our appearance.
However, it's important to remember that being comfortable in our skin is essential to our overall well-being and happiness. When we accept ourselves and our bodies for who we are, flaws and all, we can experience a sense of freedom and confidence that radiates from within.
Of course, achieving this level of self-acceptance isn't always easy. It often takes a lot of hard work and self-reflection to overcome our doubts and negative thought patterns. But with the right mindset and support, we can learn to love and appreciate ourselves just as we are.
So, let's take some time to reflect on our own relationship with our bodies and commit to being kinder, gentler, and more loving towards ourselves. As we embrace our unique qualities and celebrate our bodies, we can become more confident, empowered, and truly comfortable in our own skin.
What does it mean to be comfortable in our own skin?
According to a 2021 study by the American Psychological Association, 42% of adults reported undesired weight gain during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 68% of those individuals reported feeling more anxious and stressed about their body image.
According to a 2017 survey by the International Journal of Eating Disorders, over 70% of women and over 50% of men report having negative thoughts about their body image.
These statistics highlight the prevalence of negative body image and the impact it can have on mental health and well-being. To be comfortable in our own skin means to fully accept and embrace ourselves as we are, both physically and emotionally. It means having a positive relationship with our bodies and recognizing their strengths and limitations, without feeling shame or self-consciousness.
Being comfortable in our own skin involves letting go of negative self-talk and unrealistic expectations of perfection. It means focusing on self-care and treating ourselves with compassion and kindness, rather than harsh criticism or judgment.
When we are truly comfortable in our own skin, we can experience a sense of confidence, self-assurance, and inner peace. We are more likely to pursue our goals, take risks, and engage fully in life, without being held back by insecurities or self-doubt.
It's important to note that being comfortable in our own skin is not a fixed state, but rather a continuous journey of self-discovery and self-improvement. It takes time, effort, and practice to cultivate a positive relationship with our bodies and ourselves, but it's a journey worth taking for the sake of our well-being and happiness.
So then what is body image? How does it impact us mentally? Body image refers to the way we perceive and feel about our own bodies. It can be influenced by a variety of factors, including societal and cultural norms, personal experiences, and individual characteristics such as personality and temperament. Having a positive body image means feeling comfortable, confident, and satisfied with our bodies, while a negative body image can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction, shame, and low self-esteem. The impact of body image on our mental health can be significant. Negative body image is strongly associated with a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. It can also lead to social isolation, decreased self-confidence, and a decreased quality of life. In contrast, having a positive body image can promote mental well-being and enhance our overall quality of life. It can lead to greater self-esteem, improved self-confidence, and a more positive outlook on life.
Body image is a complex issue and can't be solved overnight. However, by cultivating a more positive relationship with our bodies and practicing self-compassion, we can work towards building a healthier and more positive body image, which can lead to better mental health and a more fulfilling life.
So we understand a bit about body image, but How can we cultivate a positive self-image?
Practice self-compassion: Be kind, understanding, and gentle with yourself. Avoid harsh self-criticism and instead, treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion you would offer a loved one.
Practicing self-compassion means treating ourselves with kindness, understanding, and empathy, especially during difficult or challenging times. It means being gentle with ourselves and recognizing that we are only human, with flaws and imperfections, and that we deserve to treat ourselves with the same care and compassion we offer to others.
Self-compassion involves three main components:
Self-kindness: This means treating ourselves with warmth, understanding, and kindness, rather than being self-critical or judgmental. It involves speaking to ourselves in a gentle and supportive manner like we would a good friend.
Common humanity: This involves recognizing that we are not alone in our struggles and that it's a normal part of the human experience to face difficulties and challenges. It means understanding that everyone makes mistakes and that we are not uniquely flawed or inadequate.
Mindfulness: This involves being present with our thoughts and emotions, without judgment or avoidance. It means acknowledging our feelings and thoughts and accepting them without resistance or denial.
Practicing self-compassion can have numerous benefits for our mental health and well-being. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, increase resilience and self-esteem and promote greater self-awareness and emotional regulation.
Some ways to practice self-compassion include:
Speaking to ourselves with kindness and understanding
Practicing mindfulness through meditation, breathing exercises, or other techniques
Recognizing our common humanity and accepting our flaws and imperfections
Taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally
Engaging in activities that bring us joy and fulfillment
Focus on your strengths: Identify your personal strengths and focus on them. Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small, and recognize your unique qualities and talents.
Engage in positive self-talk: Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Speak to yourself in a kind, supportive, and encouraging manner.
Engaging in positive self-talk involves using encouraging, supportive, and optimistic language when talking to ourselves. Here are some tips on how to engage in positive self-talk:
Identify negative self-talk: Begin by paying attention to your inner dialogue and noticing when you engage in negative self-talk. This might include thoughts like "I'm not good enough" or "I can't do this."
Challenge negative thoughts: Once you've identified negative self-talk, challenge these thoughts with evidence that contradicts them. For example, if you think "I'm not good enough," ask yourself if this is really true. Think about your accomplishments and positive qualities, and use this evidence to challenge the negative thought.
Use positive affirmations: Use positive affirmations to counteract negative self-talk. For example, if you are feeling anxious before a presentation, try telling yourself "I am confident and capable" or "I can do this."
Be kind and supportive: When engaging in self-talk, use language that is kind and supportive, like you would use when talking to a close friend. Avoid harsh self-criticism or negative language.
Focus on solutions: When facing a challenge, focus on solutions rather than dwelling on problems. Use positive self-talk to encourage yourself to find a way forward, rather than getting stuck in negative thoughts.
Repeat positive statements: Repetition can be a powerful tool for reinforcing positive self-talk. Repeat positive statements to yourself throughout the day, especially when you are feeling stressed or anxious.
Surround yourself with positive influences: Surround yourself with people who uplift and support you. Seek out friends, family, and mentors who inspire you to be your best self.
Engage in self-care: Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Engage in activities that make you feel good, such as exercise, meditation, or creative pursuits.
Avoid comparisons: Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others. Focus on your own journey and celebrate your unique path.
Ask yourself if these thoughts are based on reality, or if they are just assumptions or judgments.
Cultivating a positive self-image is a process, and it takes time and effort. But with commitment and practice, it is possible to develop a healthier, more positive relationship with yourself.
Here are some more quotes about the positive self-body image that you might find inspiring:
"Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself." - Coco Chanel
"The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence." - Blake Lively
"Our bodies are beautiful and miraculous and deserve to be appreciated and loved." - Chrissy Metz
"The human body is the best work of art." - Jess C. Scott
"It's not about having a perfect body, it's about being healthy and feeling good about yourself." - Demi Lovato
"I am beautiful because I am aware of my flaws and imperfections. They make me who I am." - Mary J. Blige
"You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won't discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself." - Geneen Roth
"True beauty is not related to what color your hair is or what color your eyes are. True beauty is about who you are as a human being, your principles, your moral compass." - Ellen DeGeneres
"You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously." - Sophia Bush
How we grow into stronger individuals with a positive self-image and being comfortable in our skin.
This pretty much concludes what was mentioned before, but its always good to list it out...
Build self-esteem: Identify your strengths and focus on them. Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small, and recognize your unique qualities and talents.
Challenge negative thoughts
Surround yourself with positive influences
Engage in self-care
Advocate for body positivity
Working on a positive body image can lead to greater self-esteem, resilience, and overall well-being. By cultivating a positive relationship with our bodies and ourselves, we can become stronger and more confident individuals.
poor body image is not just limited to women, but can also affect men. While women have historically been more widely affected by body image issues, there has been an increasing awareness of men experiencing similar struggles with body dissatisfaction and negative body image.
In fact, a 2012 study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that 18.3% of boys and 15% of girls aged 12-18 reported dissatisfaction with their bodies. A 2019 survey by the National Eating Disorders Association found that 25% of men reported feeling pressure to have a perfect body, and that this pressure has increased in recent years.
The societal change you mentioned, where appearance is seen as an important measure of success and worth, has played a significant role in the development of body image issues in both men and women. Social media, advertising, and entertainment industries often promote unrealistic beauty standards, which can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.
As a result, many individuals, regardless of gender, feel pressure to conform to these unrealistic ideals in order to feel accepted and successful. This can lead to negative body image, disordered eating, and a range of mental health issues.
It's important to recognize that body image issues can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, or background. By raising awareness about body image issues and promoting self-acceptance, we can work towards a more inclusive and accepting society where everyone is valued for who they are, rather than how they look.
We are all unique and different for a reason. Our differences should be celebrated, not criticized. Rather than focusing on our external appearance, we should prioritize who we are as people and the communities we live in. We should remember that our worth is not determined by our looks, but by the qualities and values that make us who we are. By promoting diversity, inclusivity, and acceptance, we can build a society where everyone is valued and appreciated for their unique contributions, rather than just a simple image of what we perceive ourselves as. Let's embrace our differences and work towards creating a world where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued, just as they are.
Today I have a special recipe to mix things up and conclude with some great recovery balance after any hard activity.
it's simple but perfect for the 4:1 balance of Carbs to Protein to ensure you are giving your body what it needs post-recovery.
Consuming an adequate amount of carbohydrates as soon as possible after a workout restores your muscles' energy stores, while an adequate amount of protein assists in recovery and repair. If you wait just two hours post workout to consume a meal, your ability to refuel your muscles diminishes by 50 percent, found
A study published in the "Journal of Applied Physiology" in 2002. The International Society of Sports Nutrition notes that protein may also help your muscles absorb the energy from the carbohydrates and store it as glycogen, or fuel. Proper post-workout nutrition may also help augment muscle growth and boost your mood.
Blueberry bread recipe:
rebuild muscles with a post-workout
The latest science on blueberries suggests that they improve muscle regeneration, meaning that they help the body rebuild faster (while getting stronger) after a workout.
Paired with folate-rich wholemeal flour and bananas (one of the best fruit sources of vitamin B6 – responsible for removing unwanted chemicals from your kidney and liver), this loaded loaf is pretty much the best snack there is if you want to recover quickly.
This bread also has a good carb-to-protein ratio for post-exercise recovery. it's a great snack to have before hopping into the shower and then having a proper meal if you are in a rush after your workouts.
What you need...
3 ripe bananas 120g unsweetened plant-based greek yogurt *you can use a greek style to get closer to the right protein balance
1 scoop of your choice of protein powder (plant or whey) 1 tsp vanilla extract 195g wholemeal flour or ground oat flour 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp ground cinnamon Pinch of salt 100g fresh blueberries, plus extra to serve (optional) Maple syrup (to serve)
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spray a 900g loaf tin with cooking spray. Line the tin with parchment paper. Peel the bananas and put them in a mixing bowl. Mash the bananas until smooth. Add the yoghurt and vanilla extract to the bowl and stir to mix. Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl and stir to combine. Combine the dry mix and wet mix together, and blend into a batter. Add the blueberries and fold them into the batter. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and spread the surface of the batter evenly with a spatula. Put the tin in the oven and bake the loaf for 50 minutes (or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean without any batter on it). Take the loaf out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Remove the baked cake from the tin and cut it into slices.
Toast the slices before eating. Drizzle maple syrup on top and add extra blueberries (optional).
With that, I wish you all a lovely week!
Be Kind, Do fearless