Is Body Positivity Making Me Feel Worse?

Now I know this might sound like a ridiculous title but please hear me out. I can categorically say that I am so in love with the body positive movement. It’s 2017 and we’re starting to see a diverse amount of models and bloggers of all shapes and sizes slowly but surely come to the forefront in the media. I love that we’re beginning to realise and teach one another that the beauty standards forced upon us by society is one big, fat (pun intended) joke and that we should be giving a middle finger to anything or anyone that makes us feel less worthy just because we don’t look a certain way.

But what happens when even though you’re constantly being told to love your body just the way it is, you feel guilty for not feeling that way?

Top | Zara

Trousers | Zara

Shoes | Zara (old)

Bag | Mango 

Sunglasses | Ray Ban 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALISE JANE |

body

I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been really struggling with my weight. I don’t feel comfortable, confident or happy in myself and it’s felt like an ongoing battle for a while now.

Clothes that once fit no longer do. I feel genuine hatred for anyone who catches me off-guard with candid pictures showing my relaxed, soft and bloated stomach or three chins on a night out. Going into stores leaves me feeling deflated because clothes that used to make me feel sassy don’t anymore. And in general I hop out of the bed with absolutely zero swag on. I always end up putting the same stretchy, sweat-pant like trousers on for work everyday – because sweatpants is all the that fits me right now and I hide behind my baggy clothes. 

Even when planning this shoot with Alise, I really wanted to pre-warn her how apprehensive I was and that I didn’t feel particularly confident in my appearance right now. But truth of the matter is, I was too ashamed to mention anything. Because I’d only sound pathetic, moany and dramatic.

Turns out the truth shall set you free. And I mean that figuratively and literally. Because during the second to last outfit, I bent down to adjust my shoe and as soon as I did, my trousers viciously ripped at the seam exposing the side of my leg and thong.

Oh God why today!  Pretty sure Alise thinks I’ve just shat myself. FFS these trousers used to fit! This is a new low. I’m having to beg a complete stranger in the dry cleaners across the street from our shoot to quickly help pin me back in so we can finish. It was like stuffing a king-size duvet into a tiny drawer. After a lot of sucking in, and actual sweat I managed to get back into my trousers. But my skin was red raw and hot by the end of it all. 

It all confirmed what I already knew. Yep, I’ve put on weight. And I can’t help but feel like I’ve let myself go.

As I scrolled through countless pictures of my once upon a time abs from the Jamaica 2016 album and my 2015 perkier ass on my phone, I instantly felt bad for feeling bad. Does me wanting to go back to how I used to look and lose weight mean that I’m just conforming to beauty standards? If I want to lose weight that must mean that I hate my body right?

When I see so many beautiful women championing the positivity movement to love your body no matter what and on a mission to empower, I immediately feel guilty for not oozing that same self-love.

I feel ashamed for telling myself that I don’t like what I see in the mirror and that I want to change because I’m fed up of being sad.

But once I came across a post written by Callie Thorpe about how it’s OK to not feel 100% all the time and Chloe Plumstead’s post on not always feeling body positive it suddenly felt a lot easier to manage my feelings.

Body positivity is an amazing thing. But it’s also really important that we practice self-acceptance as well as self-love.

I’m only human and it’s impossible to feel like my best-self every minute of every day. This doesn’t mean that I’m anti-body positivity. It means that deep down really this isn’t anything to do with my body. It’s about my self-worth and how I value myself.

We need to stop defining our self-worth on what our body looks like. 

It’s about saying right, I don’t love my body right now and that’s okay. I’m still good enough.

And whether it be mentally or physically, it’s OK to want to self-improve in order to reach your full potential. We’re all just trying to feel our best – so why feel guilty about that?

I’ve accepted my body for how it is at the moment. But if I want to make self-improvements that’s my choice. Because guess what? I’m in control.

Instead of looking back and getting bogged down remembering what I used to look like, I want to start looking back at the real memories. The memories where I LIVED and had the best times of my life with absolutely no regrets.

I ate AMAZING food on some AMAZING holidays.

Getting engaged was the highlight of my LIFE and damn did I celebrate. One thing I’ll never forget is giving up the sad step and not weighing myself religiously everyday. To not hold myself prisoner to a number on the scale anymore felt liberating and gave me the most peaceful state of mind.

Then I also realised, you know what? I need to give myself a break and stop being so hard on myself. Nothing is permanent. And just because I feel this way now, doesn’t mean I’ll feel this way forever.

There’s a lot of pressure on us twenty-somethings. To look a certain way, to be a certain way and to act a certain way. Hell, the pressure of how I should look in a wedding dress is enough to give me grey hairs just thinking about it.

But it’s really important that we don’t apply any additional pressure to ourselves in the name of body positivity.

There’s no such thing as a perfect body and whether I gain or lose weight – I am more than my appearance.

Thank you to Alise for capturing my true sassy self in this images despite my inner struggles. You’re a  BO$$ BABE and you made me feel a $100,000,000!

 

S H O P    T H E    P O S T 

  • I threw our scales away ages ago too – the worst thing is focusing so intently on weight and weighing yourself all the time! Lovely post x

    Jenny | LuxeStyle

    • I absolutely hated when I used to do that! So happy I no longer use or need them xx

  • I think it is a difficult one – because it can be so difficult to love your body the way it is and to have everyone constantly talking about body confidence can be tricky to handle if you don’t feel that way.

    http://ohduckydarling.com

    • So difficult…I think it ultimately comes down to comparison. Comparison to the older me and/or other people! I think it’s OK if you don’t always love your body, we’re human – the difference is not to dwell & berate yourself over it because it only leads to toxic, negative thoughts. We need to be a lot kinder to ourselves because we’re more than our appearance after all. Thanks so much for commenting xxx

  • lucy

    I know exactly what you mean, it’s so difficult and body positive doesn’t make me my ideal goal weight but still you have to feel good about yourself first to get anywhere with it!

    Lucy xo
    http://www.Lucindaanderson.com

    • This is it! There’s always that notion that “i’ve let myself go” when you put on weight, but truth is I just lived my best life lol and although I don’t feel comfortable in my body right now, doesn’t mean that I’ll feel this way forever xx

  • I’m 5kg more than my standard weight now and cellulite is a real thing. I don’t feel great but I’ve been trying to embrace a kind of body acceptance for all this summer time: I didn’t have time to work out this Spring and this is what I’ve got to deal with now. I threw away ALL my jeans, because they didn’t fit anymore and bought new ones.. but I hope I’ll be less stressed and more motivated to get back on track soon x
    You’re not alone 🙂

    Caterina | caterinasosso.com

    • You are so beautiful inside and out ? I was exactly the same! But the thought of making and reaching new goals has kind of got me excited and given me the motivation I need! Our bodies will always be changing and no matter what size I am as long as I feel my best I’ll be one happy gal xx

  • Sade

    Ahhh Karina! I resonate with this post so much! I’ve put on about 2 stone in the last three years and have gone from a size 6 to almost a 12 and I struggle with this on a daily basis. I feel like a fraud because I encourage body positivity but feel pretty awful in my own at the moment. We definitely need to remember what is the now, instead of what was! Our bodies will constantly change but what’s on the inside will not <3 You look beautiful Karina, and you are fab inside and out!

    Sade
    @inmysundaybest

    xo