For centuries, we have been heavily focused on our appearance, and what the way we look says about us to the rest of society.
Over time, this led us to feel the pressure as women to conform to a specific body type – the one that was held up and hailed as a standardised emblem of beauty – and for the longest time, that body standard has been thin, lean and often scarily unattainable for most people.
While there is nothing wrong with being naturally slim, the heavy emphasis on thin being the only ‘right’ way to have a body has impacted many people’s body image negatively.
Often, it’s difficult to exist in this world without seeing headlines like ‘how to lose a dress size in 10 days’ on magazine pages, or avoid weight loss products in supermarkets and pharmacies.
Luckily, the tide is turning, and the body positivity movement is on the rise.
The emphasis has been placed squarely back on health, rather than on size, and a healthy lifestyle is the goal, rather than a specific body type to go with it.
There are so many key factors to improving and maintaining health, and they definitely don’t involve cutting carbs and depriving yourself of food, or pushing yourself through a punishing exercise routine.
First of all, it’s important to ensure you’re getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals in your diet so that your body can function properly.
Make sure you’re adding sides of green leafy salads and veg to your lunch and dinner, and snacking on things like fruit, or calcium and protein filled cheese. Pushing yourself to eat that little bit more of the right things will help you feel the difference when it comes to your health.
Of course, we have to indulge a little bit when it comes to our diets – it’s human nature to have a sweet tooth.
It’s often a bout of over-indulgence that leads us to feel unwell or sluggish, so having everything in moderation is key.
Many people struggle with portion control and over eating, and while it’s absolutely necessary to have a comfort meal once a week, it can become a health issue when every meal is a marathon.
I don’t believe in ‘cheat’ or ‘treat’ meals – I say eat what you love, but in the right way. If you LOVE a spicy curry, go for it, just add brown rice rather than white and skip the cream. If you’re mad for chocolate, buy the regular single serving bar rather than the share size, and savour it over a cup of tea.
The phrase moderation not deprivation is so popular for a reason, because it’s essential.
Next up, focusing on staying as hydrated as possible is essential for how you feel overall, as well as helping your brain stay focused and energised during the thousands of tasks you create for it each day.
Getting a water bottle and carrying it with you everywhere is a great way to get some extra H2O in, but sometimes it can be easy to forget to keep sipping, New technology has been introduced in this space, and you can now get reusable water bottles with vibrating caps, which vibrate every 30, 40 or 60 minutes, depending on what you set it to, as a reminder to get your drank on.
Adding produce like chopped cucumber, lemon and mint leaves can also spice up the plain taste of water, if you love the idea of maintaining peak hydration but find the lack of flavour a barrier.
Another mega factor is to simply get rid of the guilt. If you go out for dinner with the gals and overdo it, just write it off, do not beat yourself up over it or try to ‘make up for it’ by ‘being good’ for the rest of the week.
It’s exactly this kind of terminology, where we apply good and bad labels to food and drinks, that allows society to put good and bad labels on people of different sizes.
Adopting body positive, neutral language when speaking about your shape or your diet will help you shift your mindset from weight loss to healthfulness.
All bodies are good bodies, when they are being treated kindly.