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body positive

It’s a few days into January and a familiar, unwelcome feeling is looming in the back of my mind. It’s a specific type of dread, regret and panic all at the same time. I dare to glance at myself in the mirror beside my bed. This is a bad idea, but I force my eyes towards the reflection… I feel sick.

I thought I had come far this year. They say you gain confidence as you get older. That the latter part of your twenties herald a time when you no longer gasp at the sight of your own body. 2019 gave us movement and space to say no to the one-size-fits-all narrative we’d been fed since the beginning. I thought I was there. I was done with the self-criticism and had accepted my body for what it is: a body.

January 2020 has proven me wrong. Just like every January, I am in a state of disgust at my own body- and I’m not the only one.

This time of year is one of the worst for those struggling with their body image- and by ‘those’, I mean most people. We have let our guard down these past few weeks, clinging to the holiday season as an excuse to… to what? To pack on a few extra layers maybe? It’s been a cold winter to be fair. To change our relationship status with food from, ‘it’s complicated’ to ‘In love’ for five minutes? To take a break from punishing ourselves when we ‘lose control’?

Whatever way we toxically justify the winter weight gain, the question remains: why? Why do we do it?

Those of us who preach body positivity delight in the fat rolls of others but still cringe at our own. We are so proud of friends when they appear to achieve body acceptance. We would never use ‘fat’ as an insult… but we pull angrily at the rolls on our tummies and double chins when we see ourselves in the gaps between fog on the mirror.

Before I disappoint, I have not come up with an answer as to why we can’t achieve full-body acceptance. However, it would help if we all admitted to having days… or months when our membership to the body positive club was revoked temporarily. Being semi-okay with your own body is EXHAUSTING. It is so much easier to adore someone else’s being, body and mind.

Maybe simply achieving that is a steppingstone: to celebrate all bodies, but our own. This could eventually lead to a relationship with our earthly vessel that is deemed ‘not as complicated as before, but not yet perfect’.

So, this January, let us not to be so hard on ourselves if we are not yet OKAY with our outer shells. It is just as toxic to hate our thoughts as it is to hate our bodies. We cannot expect a year of Internet movement to undo a lifetime of damage done by unrealistic standards and fatphobic culture.  Cut your mind some slack… even if you can’t do the same for your body, just yet.

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Jacqueline Jossa has marked her collaboration with In The Style by penning a touching note about body positivity.

The mum-of-two stressed that she would never just put her name to something, which is why her range is designed with real women in mind.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Jacqueline Osborne (@jacjossa) on

The actress shared, “I’m over buying clothes and them not fitting properly unless you’re a super model? You know what I mean right? I’ve always been open about my body, my little problem areas and all that.

“I’m creating a range that has everything from casual pieces that I can just lounge with the kids in, to lovely dresses that actually FIT and cover everything they need to AND it’s going to be affordable for us working mums!” she continued.

The I’m a Celebrity winner gushed about the project, “I cannot wait to take you all on this journey with me, there’s so many exciting things to come – This isn’t just my range , it’s OURS and I want you to help me create it so please comment and let me know what you’d like to see from my range and I’m going to try to make it happen!!” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Jacqueline Osborne (@jacjossa) on

“I’m also going to share the journey with you, the fits of samples, find out what prints and shapes you want to see etc – you’re literally going to help me create it all! Thank you all for the support , without you this wouldn’t be happening!” she added.

We love how much thought and effort Jacqueline has put into this collection. It’s evident that the actress wants to design clothes that will make women feel both beautiful and comfortable.

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We are bombarded with ads about dieting, joining the gym and shedding pounds once a new year rolls around. And unfortunately, that has been no different in 2020.

Women are already feeling the pressure about their bodies, but one person has had enough.

Stacey Solomon stressed that she won’t be changing her body in 2020, especially after it gave her the best gift of all last year- her son Rex.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Stacey Solomon (@staceysolomon) on

The mum showed off her stunning body in a bikini snap, with a happy Rex sitting on her lap, and she looks perfect.

She penned an emotional message beside the photo:

“New year, same me. Because why change something that brought me the most happiness I could ever imagine. That brought me the smiley seven month old in the picture and the most amazing 11 year old taking it.”

Stacey continued, “I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s to another year of loving our bodies no matter how hard society tries to stop us.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Stacey Solomon (@staceysolomon) on

We couldn’t agree with Stacey more. It’s refreshing to see a celebrity share such a positive and realistic message about body image.

This time of the year can be so difficult for people so it’s a relief to see people like Stacey trying to share uplifting advice rather than pressuring people to lose weight to become a ‘new’ you.

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This Christmas has been a hectic one for sure. I noticed this because, for the first time in a long time, my inner critic was silent. I was literally too busy, too overwhelmed with emotions and too tired to hear her.

You know to whom I am referring. That bi**h who never stops commenting on your appearance. Who never shuts up about your life choices or relationship problems. They might embody the voice of a twisted society, an unsupportive family member or a toxic partner.

Whoever they are, their voice is loud and lingers at the forefront of our thoughts most of the time. 

Owing to its usual omnipresence, I was surprised that this year’s festivities had silenced the voice for the first time. I was relieved and relaxed for a few blissful days… Until she was woken again by a Facebook post. And shook awake by an ad on the TV and poked into aggravation by a stray comment.

Two dreaded words brought her back to life stronger than ever: weight loss.

To say that we are bombarded with diet culture this time of year is an understatement. The worst part is that we buy into it every year.

 

Every single January you hear and read about other women's plans to lose weight for the new year. Every year we devote time and energy into caring about this thing that, according to society, defines us as people. As females. As partners

 

No matter how little you cared about your appearance, the world will force you to think about it the moment a new year arrived. Are my thighs too big? Could I lose some weight? Is my tummy rounder than hers?

Last year, like many women, I spent yet another January on the weight loss train- it was a sickly ride full of relapses and self-hate. The “healthier” I was on the outside, the less healthy I became on the inside. Sound familiar?

 

So, this January, before you get sucked in by the motivational ads and the motivational outfit you buy in the sale ask yourself one question: Do I exist to lose weight? The answer is always no. If your past attempts to lose weight have been toxic in nature, wave at that train as it passes by this New Year. 

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Your body goes through some of the most overwhelming changes during and after pregnancy. It can be extremely daunting, especially for new mums like Brooke Vincent, who are experiencing these changes for the first time.

The Coronation Street star welcomed her first child, a boy named Mexx, last month. In a powerful open letter, the actress admitted that she felt ashamed for not being able to pick up where she left off.

She explained that she was supposed to get dressed up for the evening but struggled to find something that made her feel beautiful.

“Tonight I was supposed to look completely different, I was supposed to be dressed up, hair and make up done. ready to eat some nice food and maybe have my first cocktail in 11 months with Kean, our first time away from Mexx for an hour or two, instead I look like this,” she wrote alongside a photo of her in her pyjamas.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Brooke Levi Vincent  (@brookelevivincent) on

Brooke continued, “I look like this because I naively thought that 4 weeks after my baby I would be in all my old clothes looking exactly like I did before I got pregnant. I thought my jeans would instantly fit and I would just be my “old self” only with my new beautiful baby. 

“How wrong I was, I tried 23 outfits on at least, nothing looked right, nothing looked like me and I felt like I was looking at a completely different person, I suppose to a certain extent I now am, I am Mexx’s mum,” Brooke reflected.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Brooke Levi Vincent  (@brookelevivincent) on

The soap star said she sobbed after trying on the bundle of different outfits.

“I sat and cried and felt ashamed that I haven't been able to pick up where I left off like people seem to do here on Instagram! The reason for this post is that even when you’re in this bizarre industry you still get sucked in, you still feel a certain way when you see others posts. So this was so important for me to say, for all the women who think they should look, act or feel a certain way after a baby DONT! Don’t beat yourself up,” the new mum pleaded.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Brooke Levi Vincent  (@brookelevivincent) on

"Do you and if 4/6/8weeks or even a year after giving birth you don’t fit in your old clothes don’t worry, you can always join my club. It’s important to be honest because being a new mummy is daunting enough! The most important thing is me & Mexx are healthy & happy and as soon as my baby boy looked at me, I realised he doesn’t care if I fit in my old jeans or not .. So I guess creased watermelon PJs & slippers for now it is,” Brooke added.

Preach it, Brooke!

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The pressure to have a perfect ‘beach body’ still lingers despite waves of body positive movements. The fear of not looking good enough still hangs over so many women, but people like Stacey Solomon are reminding us to embrace our bodies, just as they are.

The mum-of-three is currently on holiday with her darling family and has been sharing their adventures with her Instagram followers.

Stacey showed off her post-baby body in a series of beach snaps and we can’t get over how content she looks.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Stacey Solomon (@staceysolomon) on

The mum posed with her little boy, Rex in the photos, who may be the happiest baby we have ever seen.

She captioned the snap: ‘Beach babies. I’m determined to get a picture of all of us while we are here but for now it’s just me, Rexy and Leightons butt.

‘The boys are having far too much fun for pictures. Feeling so lucky to spend precious time in, what I can only describe as paradise, with them making memories.’

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Stacey Solomon (@staceysolomon) on

The presenter added a message for her beau Joe Swash, ‘Hurry up and get here Joe Joe we miss you.’

Fans of the Loose Women star were quick to comment on how stunning she looked.

One wrote, ‘Amazing. You look beautiful and so real. My little boy is nearly 4 months old so I love watching the journey you and Rex have.’

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Stacey Solomon (@staceysolomon) on

Another wrote, ‘You seriously are an amazing example to young mums or any mums for that matter! Beautiful girl with a beautiful life.’

‘So beautiful @staceysolomon. I love that you’re not afraid to be who you are’ another gushed.

We couldn’t agree more. Stacey’s body confidence is so empowering.

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Gemma Atkinson’s latest post has reminded us of how powerful our bodies are.

The new mum shared three shots, one taken during her pregnancy, one taken six weeks after she gave birth and another taken 15 weeks postpartum.

The actress opened up about the importance of staying fit and healthy as a mum.

She wrote, “Dear body, Thank you! 5 months pregnant / 6wks PP / 15 wks PP. All different but all for a purpose. Growing my baby, feeding my baby, becoming strong and healthy again to be there for my baby. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gemma Atkinson (@glouiseatkinson) on

“My training has even more purpose now I have Mia. I’m her role model! My health and mentally feeling good was always my priority with exercise,” Gemma shared.

“It was never to compete on stage or to chase a certain physique. It was just to be the best version of ME! By making good nutritious choices with my meals without depriving myself (hello once a week cheesecake & pizza) I’m slowly getting back into it,” she continued.

Gemma had to have an emergency C section so the mum has to be cautious when it comes to pushing herself too much. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gemma Atkinson (@glouiseatkinson) on

“I started with just cardio around 8wks PP and last week I had my first session back in the gym. It was tough and I had to go back to basics but afterwards I felt amazing! It’s always worth it once those endorphins kick in,” Gemma shared.

Gemma said her mental health is already benefiting from exercise, “Despite being physically weaker in the gym after time away, I feel mentally stronger than I ever have going through what I did to bring Mia into this world. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gemma Atkinson (@glouiseatkinson) on

“When things get tough, I remind myself that I’m a Mum. A badass Mum. A privilege sadly denied to many… I’m so lucky, that's what keeps me going,” she added.

Gemma’s body positive post has filled us with inspiration. Exercise has an incredible impact on your mental health so we’ll be making more time for it in the future.

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Wearing a bikini is something many women dread. There is so much pressure on us to look ‘perfect’ in a swimsuit. You need to have a perfectly toned tummy, a glowing tan, smooth skin and every ounce of hair should be waxed, plucked and shaved from your body.

These audacious standards are stopping so many women from having fun in the pool or swimming in the sea for fear of not looking ‘right’, but Stacey Solomon is here to empower us with oodles of body positivity. 

The mum has been praised for sharing a natural photo of her body and she looks sensational.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Stacey Solomon (@staceysolomon) on

Stacey was at swimming lessons with her baby boy Rex when the gorgeous photo was taken. The mum looked as happy as ever as she cuddled up to her little water baby.

The Loose Women panellist donned a striped black and white bikini for the classes and we adore how body positive she is.

And we weren’t the only ones.

Hundreds of followers took to the comments to express their love and gratitude for Stacey.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Stacey Solomon (@staceysolomon) on

“I wish I had the balls to rock a bikini with my mama tummy like you do, you look great and he's so cute,” one wrote.

Another shared, “What a natural photo. Beautiful inside and out.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Stacey Solomon (@staceysolomon) on

“You’re such an inspiration to women. Just be confident exactly as they are in that very moment… Beautiful mother inside and out.”

One shared, “You look absolutely amazing and just such an inspiration for young girls these days.”

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By Shauna Coen 

It's not uncommon to hear people who show their ‘imperfect’ bodies called brave.

It’s great when people share posts and photos about loving their body. It’s great that they may inspire others to grasp and understand body positivity and it certainly shows some diversity to what we typically see on Instagram and magazine covers. But we shouldn’t call women ‘brave’ for simply having a certain type of body.

Too often, women who show off their bodies that match society's idea of conventional beauty are called ‘gorgeous’ while women put their supposedly ‘flawed’ bodies on display are commended for their bravery.

As if revealing your stretch marks, cellulite or tummy roles in public makes you a superhero.

Having suffered from eczema since a young age, I was always conscious of my skin. I struggled to find a magic potion that would soothe my rough, red and patchy textured skin.

Often, the only solution to stopping the itch was steroid cream. Years of slathering the creams on the backs of my knees had resulted in stretch marks developing in those areas.

For me, it was a small price to pay for the relief of constant discomfort. They are now a vital piece of what makes me, me, and more often than not, I forget they're even there.

However, on one sunny day last summer, I decided to wear a short summer dress -tight and restrictive clothing aggravates my eczema, not that it matters what I was wearing- when a friend pointed out my marks and commended me for showing them off.

‘Fair play to you for not covering them up,’ she said. ‘I'd never be as brave as you are,’ she added. I was lost for words. Why would I consider hiding them? Or am I supposed to take that as a compliment?

I don’t blame her for thinking it. I blame society.

 

A post shared by Chrissy Ball (@fitfarmmom) on

The reason people see this as bravery is because we perceive showing flaws, be it fat, a scar, whatever, as having some potential for social failure.

While fat and stretch marks are completely normal for women, it's something we don't always see shown off, particularly on social media.

We as a society have developed this notion that there's one certain way to look and that you have to look a certain way to be deemed ‘beautiful’.

Therefore, we think other bodies that don’t fit into that narrow perceived image of beauty are ‘imperfect.’ This has made showing off bodies not perceived as normal as some radical act, when it's actually just natural and we’re just human.

 

A post shared by Emma E. (@emmaersang) on

You don’t tell a catwalk model that they’re ‘so brave’ for displaying their bodies on runways and for photo shoots. And besides, comments like these are rather insulting to the women who are really displaying bravery in life.

There are people who are firefighters, risking their lives every day, there are people fighting cancer, fighting for rights for minority groups despite risking their own lives by doing so – they are acts of bravery.

Posting a photo without makeup on or a picture in a bikini isn’t. If the only positive feedback a woman receives from posting an untouched photo of her body is that it somehow represents ‘bravery’, it only makes it that bit more difficult for every person, be it, man or woman, to see the real beauty in any body type.

If we can’t change this then society will not stop perceiving the exposure of ‘imperfect’ bodies as an act of courage.

There is no reason loving our bodies exactly as they are should be seen as brave or radical. It should be the norm.

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It's the body positive movie we have been waiting a lifetime for.

If you've seen Netflix's adaptation to Julie Murphy’s novel, Dumplin', you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Starring Jennifer Aniston and Danielle Macdonald, it's a refreshing take on self-acceptance, beauty pageants and how the plus-size community are portrayed in the film industry.

Coming from a former fat girl, i.e. me, the movie didn't shy away from the very real stigma people face every day.

It's clear that the author and those who wrote the script had an insight into the real struggles plus-sized people face.

When the girls face this stigma, instead of running home and gorging on chocolate like most movies portray 'sad,' 'lonely' fat women, Danielle, who plays Willowdean Dickson, fights back.

In one scene, when a bully makes fun of another girl, Willowdean goes for the glory shot and punches him in the nuts, another clip shows her eye-rolling to slagging shouts of teens towards herself and co-star, Millie (played by Maddie Baillio). 

Instead of playing the victim and the sad, fat girl, they portray young women leading a body revolution, and the film rightly shows those who bully the girls as total assholes.

Another perception they tackle in the movie is when an absolute ride of a fella asks Willowdean out.

Bo Larson is the hottie that works with our leading lady and is utterly taken by the teen.

After an ole snog on their first date, it was Willowdean, not Bo who needed some time to reflect.

Bo didn't go out with her for a bet, no fat jokes were made or any attempts of trying to make her turn from an "ugly duckling" into a swan – he liked her for her.

In fact, we saw a very real admission from Willowdean about how guys like him didn't go for girls like her – and he totally called horsesh*t on it.

He confessed that he thought she was beautiful and she is.

The film shows how despite society's best efforts to make us conform to a certain look to feel beautiful, that there are leaders out there who want you to embrace you for you and feel empowered as the sexy ladies we are.

No shame, no excuses, just love for the skin you're in.

The movie follows four teenage girls who take on a pageant competition – they're all very different in shape, size and style and they want to redefine the look of a beauty queen. 

One of our fave part of Dumplin' is that it shows a number of different plus-sized women and drag queens totally owning their identity.

Instead of just one fat girl, there are plenty of plus-size role models – her aunt and friend, Millie.

The role models in the film extend their knowledge of self-acceptance and give the young women buckets of inspiration to go up on stage and take it over.

The women all go on very unique paths in the film, and it shows that plus-sized women are diverse and they have multiple voices on screen – they aren't cast as the 'fat friend'.

Dumplin' creates a positive body narrative through their journey and doesn't force the characters to lose weight in order to be confident.

They project the message that confidence is achieved through finding your inner-self and letting it shine – no diet plan or killer exercise regime required.

It shows that you can be fat and happy, which is the reality for millions of people around the world.

We applaud everyone involved in its creation and we hope this is the way forward for the portrayal of plus-sized women.

If you haven't seen the film, please do. 

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Jameela Jamil might have just won 2018 – like seriously, someone give her an award.

Taking on the world of diet teas, the presenter made an EPIC video which takes the piss out of the false promises influencers and celebs can make about some weight-loss detox products.

The 32-year-old captioned the video: "If celebs and influencers were actually honest with us about some of these diet/detox products…"

The video begins with Jameela in a yellow dress, with a glass of green liquid in hand.

She starts to mimic the same scripts we are all too familiar with when hearing about the diet teas. 

She starts to exaggerate to highlight the ridiculous claims some people make about the drinks: "I've only been taking it for three days and I've already lost 35 pounds and I've got abs…" 

Then commences some more realistic side effects that the liquids can cause – and if you've got a weak stomach, turn off the sound. 

The actress is seen on the toilet with all those juicy sound effects in the background.

Still sticking to the script, her make up is now run down her face and we feel sweaty just looking at her.

"Discount code is in my bio…it burns" she finishes.

We honestly love her so much for being so honest with her experiences with certain detox products. 

So if you are going to buy a diet tea, make sure you know exactly what it does to your body.

We LOVE the real body positive messages that Jameela preaches. 

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Stacey Solomon is one of our fave gals as she isn't afraid to call bullsh*t on the unrealistic beauty standards women are held to. 

The 29-year-old is a breath of fresh air with her bikini selfies and campaign against airbrushing images.

That's why we were living for her Penneys' launch, and she didn't disappoint.

Photo credit: Primark

Prepare for your bank account to be drained as the presenter has incorporated everything we love about her into the clothing line.

It's designed to flatter all shapes and sizes, and encourages shoppers to embrace their au natural beauty – and you guessed it, her images for the line haven't been airbrushed.

Stacey actually had real women in mind when she picked pieces for her collection, from warm winter woollens to striking yellow jumpsuits.

Photo credit: Primark

Her bubbly and bold personality shines throughout the collection and hits all the right notes with vibrant colours dominating the range. 

The body positivity message is really reflected in the carefully crafted clothes, and it's affordable AF – so you can rock day or night time looks, feeling your best.

And if that wasn't enough, 20 percent of profits from full price sales of the Living My Best Life t-shirt will be donated to both the NSPCC and ISPCC.

Purses out ladies, have your cards ready to tap from October 11, when this fun, body-loving collection takes over your local Penneys.

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