An empowering image featuring four diverse women in undergarments embracing each other against a purple background. The women vary in body type, skin colour, and hair style, reflecting a spectrum of beauty. The text above reads 'Finding Ways to Accept Your Body', suggesting a positive message about body positivity and self-acceptance

Unhappy with your body or appearance?

If you’re unhappy with the size or shape of your body, trying to accept it and be less subjective takes time.  The idea that you can somehow change your thinking and feel great isn’t realistic or helpful.

 

Society’s conditioning and reducing negative self-talk

As, I’m learning having gained weight again over the last 2 years and being very much a yo-yo person in terms of weight and diets over the years, by practising gratitude for what our bodies DO for us we can take the first steps to being less self-critical.  By becoming more aware of our negative self-talk, we can learn to embrace our imperfections.

We don’t have to ‘celebrate’ every aspect of our bodies to develop a healthier attitude towards them. I know that society including television and adverts has imprinted ‘ideals’ on our minds. When I was younger, I remember seeing films where there was always a ‘fat friend’ (and there probably still is) who was considered undesirable. At the same time, thinner people were looked upon as more attractive and desirable.

Fashion ideals

Some years ago, the fashion industry considered the shape of the ideal model as a lean column, basically in some cases a skinny beanpole! And, subsequently, clothes were mainly made for that fit. 

How unhealthy is that on so many levels?

The full hourglass body shape v the lean column

Fortunately, in general, now the body-shape ideal is the hourglass figure, like Marilyn Munroe’s shape. 

There are more variations and retail outlets that offer consideration for a mixture of body shapes, proportions, and scale.

An illustration depicting two stylised female figures to represent different body shapes, titled 'Body Shapes'. On the left is the 'Lean Column' figure, viewed from the side, drawn with a slim silhouette wearing a navy top and plaid trousers. On the right is the 'Full Hourglass' figure, viewed from the front, drawn with a curvaceous silhouette wearing a black and peach bodysuit. Both figures have similar hairstyles. The image is set against a white background with a bold pink header stating 'Lean Column v Full Hourglass'. Below the figures is the text 'Designs By The Image Experts'.

The average size of women in the UK

Considering the average woman’s size in the UK is a size 16, we can certainly ditch the ‘skinny’ model ideal.

Research taken in 2017 by bluebella.com showed the average woman in 1957 was 5ft 2ins tall, weighed 9st 10lbs, had size three feet and was a dress size 12.

Fast forward to 2017, British women were 5ft 5ins tall on average, weighed 11st, had size six feet and dress size 16.

 

How the average british woman’s size has changed between 1957 and 2017

A comparative image showcasing two women representing beauty standards from different eras, with a pink border and the title '1957 Woman v 2017 Woman'. On the left, a woman labelled '1957 Woman' in a purple strapless one-piece, with her hair styled in a vintage updo, embodies the beauty ideals of the 1950s with annotations indicating a bust size of 34 inches, waist 23 inches, weight 8 stone, dress size 12, and shoe size 3. On the right, labelled '2017 Woman', a woman in a black two-piece swimsuit, with tousled hair, reflects modern beauty standards with annotations for a bust size of 38D, waist 34 inches, weight 11 stone, dress size 16, and shoe size 6. The website 'Bluebella.com' is noted at the bottom.

Unrealistic body expectations

Furthermore, most of us don’t look like our ‘prepared for posts’ on social media most of the time, especially when we’re lounging around or slouching over desks.

So, what can we do to help ourselves, particularly against unfavourable social media comparisons?

 

What can i do to be realistic about my body and make the most of my body shape?

 

– Be wary whilst on SOCIAL MEDIA

Don’t follow and get absorbed in pages or groups on Facebook, Instagram or any of the others that cause you to feel stressed or even distressed about your appearance.  We need to nourish our minds as well as our bodies on the road to find peace and acceptance.

 – Separate your self-esteem/self-worth from your appearance.

Since childhood everywhere we look in addition to our lifetime of experiences affects our personal view of our perceived level of beauty and attractiveness.

We need to believe that we are worthy irrespective of how we look and in doing so, we’ll keep moving towards more body confidence. 

– Try focusing on what your body does to start with

Start by trying to frequently appreciate your body for what it can do. Making appreciative statements will also help, such as ‘I’m so thankful my body withstood the walking and climbing stairs I did today’. Or ‘Thank you body for coping with the amount of chocolate I needed today’, ‘I’m grateful that I am still able to exercise’

– Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts.

Whilst in front of the mirror instead of saying, “I hate my body” or “I look awful” replace it with “I am beautiful”.  Over time, we’ll start to believe the positive affirmations (as per the psychology of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

I am practising all the above too!!

– Understand your body shape in more detail!

It takes more than doing an online quiz or reading ‘WikiHow!   We don’t all fall into one body shape, and frequently we don’t want to accept just a name either. What does that name/label mean to us individually?  

 

Body shape names and labels

For example, I’d rather be called an ‘Apple’ shape rather than a ‘round’ or ‘oval’, but none of these accurately describe my specific proportions, and how best to wear clothes on the top half of my body, compared to the bottom half. 

I find this is the case for a lot of my clients with varied body shapes and proportions. What they’ve been told from an early age has also stopped them from being objective and appreciating their good points and beauty. 

Next steps

Taking a course held by a professional or having a consultation with a qualified Personal Stylist/Image Consultant will provide you with a detailed analysis so that you can gain an objective view. You’ll learn how to accentuate your best bits and camouflage areas you’re more conscious of.  Plus, where to shop for the best cuts and fabric that will be beneficial to you personally.  You’ll also learn how wearing colour can help in this respect too!

Ultimately, you deserve to feel comfortable and happy in all our clothes. 

For more reading, see my Full Image Consultation Service by clicking the button below