Self love is not easy and it certainly isn’t instant

We can’t just flick a switch and love ourselves and our bodies (and if you can then I salute you)! Most of us have a constant battle with our thoughts and self judgement, we must learn to be thankful to our body. Its not something that comes naturally to us mainly because society is constantly telling us to change ourselves to fit in, especially to that of social media. We also have to learn to accept ourselves with every flaw and imperfection. It’s about learning that self love comes from within and that our bodies do not define who we are. 

The perception we have of our body is so tied to our overall persona that far too often it holds us back from achieving the things we want. At some point this cycle needs to stop. Our body does amazing things which needs to be recognised. 

Since my late teens my body has had to adapt to many changes. From being a dancer to a fitness athlete to a mother. I have always felt the pressure to have the ‘perfect figure’ but that definitely softened when I had my children. I was always pretty realistic with my expectations about my post baby body but I still have days where I criticise myself. I have a little moan about my excess belly skin and get caught up over the fact I don’t have a perfectly flat stomach anymore. I have a quiet word with myself, my body has done something amazing; twice! I should be (and I am) proud of that.

The most important thing to me is that my body functions well so I can get out and do all the things I love, so I try and be a little kinder to myself and say thank you to my body for all that it’s done. Ive come to realise that finding self love is remembering that you might not like yourself every day, some days you may have an off day, you might feel bloated or uncomfortable in your clothes, but don’t let that control your thoughts or your life.

Having a healthy relationship with my mind and body is even more important to me now that I am a mother and I hope that this positive attitude is reflected to my sons. 

Learn to love your body 

Be proud 

Try not to focus on problem areas but celebrate what you can do – ‘A healthy and active body is a beautiful body’ Gina Harney, Fitnessita 

Set an example with your body image

Be an example to the younger generation, whether that be your children, nieces or nephews or children of your friends. Be their role model and lead by example. By loving your body will teach them to love theirs. 

Be your body’s best friend

Talk to yourself how you would talk to your best friend. If your best friend missed a gym session or gained a little weight you would (hopefully!) motivate them to get back on track and not judge. 

Strong not skinny

True beauty is not about fitting in to a certain stereotype but a quality that shines from within. That doesn’t mean we should stop trying to improve ourselves, just that our time is better off spent building a strong, healthy body and mind and not trying to be something or someone we’re not.

Do not compare your body

Use other bodies as inspiration BUT do not compare, this habit can be dangerous. Do not give yourself opportunity to feel inadequate and unhappy this will not help you accomplish your goals. Remember the very person who seems perfect in your eyes has their own list of insecurities and body image issues. Embrace the body you have and what you can achieve with it.

And finally, be kind to yourself

Learn that you don’t have to mistreat yourself to see your body change. The ‘no pain no gain’ mentality isn’t the only way to achieve your goals. ‘Remember, your body listens to your thoughts. Make them good ones!’ Jessica Sepel- Dance fitness