Hi everyone, it’s Lauren. Today I want to talk to you about something that I’ve wanted to make a video on for a really long time. I wanted to wait until I was in a place where I felt like I could actually give some really positive advice, and hopefully speak to some people, and help some people. That is on self-esteem and body image.
Worrying about your body and your appearance, I think, is something that everyone deals with from time to time. It ranges from just feeling a little bit rubbish one day, maybe feeling a little bit blue now and again, to full on body dysmorphia and eating disorders. It could be worrying about big things about your body. It could be worrying about the smallest thing, just thinking that perhaps you little toe is a little bit longer than it should be. If that is making you upset, if that is causing you distress, then it’s important, and you deserve to be happy about your body. You deserve to love yourself, so it doesn’t matter any problem big or small. You shouldn’t feel guilty about struggling with little voices in your head telling you that you are ugly or telling you that you are fat. We have no time for that. I will say, now, if you feel like you are struggling with disordered eating, if you feel like you have body dysmorphia, then please, please, do talk to someone. I will leave some links and some resources in the description box below if you feel that this is really taking over your life. What I wanted to do today is talk about a little bit about myself. Talk about my previous struggles with body image, and then also give some tips and advice for the things that I do, or things that I know make me feel better. Whenever I experience nasty voices in my head about my body, they have normally arrived from something to do with my boobs. My boobs are very, very big. I find it hard to find clothes that fit. Button down tops, just never ever happening. That can make me feel really bad. If I’m going shopping and I’m trying on different clothes and they just don’t fit, it makes you feel fat, it makes you feel ugly, it makes you feel like some kind of freak. I can walk passed Victoria’s Secret and know nothing in there is going to fit me. That can trigger some little bad thoughts in my head. It’s crazy, right? We all look at each other and you could think, “Oh that person is really beautiful. I really like that person’s legs. I really wish I had bigger boobs. I wish I had a smaller bum,” or whatever. I always think when people say that they wish they had big boobs, I think, “No you don’t, you really don’t,” because you don’t know what it’s like. You don’t know what it’s like to have to deal with it. Then not being able to cover them up properly, or if you do cover them up, you kind of feel like a big fat lump. If you don’t cover them up, then I feel so sexualised. I just feel ridiculous. I feel like I’m in some kind of burlesque show if I wear clothes that show any kind of cleavage.
This is the thing, you never know what aspect of someone’s body they might like or dislike. It’s ridiculous because there’s nothing wrong with my body. There’s nothing wrong with your body. If I am feeling down, if I’m feeling a bit fat, and I say something to my boyfriend, he can respond in one of two ways. He can either say, “Oh don’t be ridiculous. You’re not fat at all.” To which I think, “Well, of course you’re going to say that. You’re my boyfriend.” That doesn’t mean anything to me. If you feel like you’re ugly and someone says, “Oh you’re not ugly.” You think those kind of words don’t help you, because the problem’s there in your brain, and it’s with how you’re feeling. The other thing he could say is, “Okay, well, being practical about it, if you’re unhappy with your weight, then maybe you could go to the gym more.”, which is, you know, he’s trying to help. Then that makes me think, “Oh, so you do think I’m fat. I knew it. I knew I needed to lose weight,” which is really unfair on him because I’m going to react badly whatever he says. Like I said, the problem isn’t with my body. The problem is with the way I’m feeling about my body. It’s the same if you’re trying to change your body if you’re doing it from a bad place. If you give yourself a really strict diet, and a really strict workout regimen, then essentially your punishing your body for being fat. You’re saying, “You are not allowed to eat. You have to exercise because you’re disgusting and you need to lost that weight.” That’s a very, very, unhealthy attitude to take. Health, and fitness, and working out, are fantastic things, and everybody should do them. Trying to change your body isn’t going to help if you’ve got that in your mind. That’s the thing we need to focus on today, is to turn off that voice and love our bodies.
Here [are] some things that have genuinely helped me, and I really hope that they can help you. Like I said, if you feel like you are dealing with an eating disorder, or you feel like you might be suffering from depression, or really bad body dysmorphia, then that is a very serious problem. These tips might help you. These tips might not help you. You do deserve help, and you do deserve to feel better.
The first thing is looking at what you are consuming in your body. Back in January I decided to do a detox thing and I gave up alcohol. I gave up caffeine. I gave up sugar, and chocolate, and that sort of thing just for the month of January. It was amazing how much better I felt in myself. Not just healthier in terms of I felt fitter because I was eating better, but I was so much calmer. I think the real thing for me was coffee. I was drinking coffee every single morning. To me, it didn’t seem that much, but when I didn’t have it I would get a headache. Giving it up was difficult the first week. I was very tired all the time, and I was very ratty. Once I’d kind of got that caffeine out of my system, I found that I had more energy. I was just a little bit less anxious, and a little bit less on edge. I had no idea how much caffeinated drinks were affecting me until I stopped drinking them. It was the same with alcohol. Alcohol is a depressive drug. If you think you might be having issues with your mental health, drinking a depressive drug is not going to be the way forward. I’m not saying that everyone should give up drinking tea, coffee, and alcohol, but it was really interesting for me and enlightening for myself to realise the change in my mental state between drinking those substances and not.
Something that I cannot recommend enough, if you do want to become more active, but you sort of don’t really know where to start, is trying out yoga. I did the 30 Days of Yoga Challenge with Yoga with Adriene which I will link in the bottom. It’s a free YouTube channel and she is fantastic. Her voice is so relaxing. What I really loved about doing a little bit of yoga everyday is that it made me have some time for myself, shut my brain off. The real thing was because you’re breathing, and you’re thinking about where body is, you’re thinking about the muscles, stretching them, making sure your body’s in alignment, it just really gave me appreciation for my body. It’s something that you’re doing that’s physical. It’s good for you. It’s something that, in theory, you could lose weight from. It’s something that would make you strong. It’s also something that’s very much about yourself, and about loving your body, and just doing what you can do, and building on it each day. That’s such a positive message. Something which is normally the last thing I feel like doing if I’m feeling really down is getting up and actually doing some more intense exercise. Honestly, doing some cardio really does help me feel better about myself even if I don’t lose weight. Over the last six months, I’ve really come to work out the kind of cardio that works for me and does well for me. For me, that is running. I’m not very good at cycling. I’m not very good at swimming, so I don’t do those. It’s dancing. So I go to cardio workout dance classes. For you, it might be team sports because you got the added social aspect to that, or it could be something so simple as just going for a walk. Actually, going for a walk or taking a run outside has an added bonus for self care, because being outside, being in nature, that can really help you sometimes if you’re feeling a little bit anxious. Rather than making me fitter, and making me think, “Yes. Great. Look at me running. I’m losing weight,” it actually does the opposite effect. If I do a little bit of cardio, it just lifts my mood and makes me feel okay. Then it makes me think, “What was I worrying about? I don’t have to lose weight.” That’s the kind of effect that we’re going for here. That’s the effect that you wanted to bring.
Something else that I found when I gave up the coffee and the alcohol, I was surprised how much of my daily liquid intake was coming from coffee or milk, I suppose. Actually, making sure that you’re drinking a lot of water, pure water not fizzy drinks, and orange juice, and that kind of thing, might be something that is affecting you mentally. If you are dehydrated, that’s not going to be good for your body. I do find that I lack so much energy and I get headaches. I do feel like everything for me, like the body image, self esteem, anxiety-ness, is kind of all linked. It’s not just linked to what my body looks like, it’s also how I’m feeling and how I’m interacting with others. If I’m in a bad mood, if I’ve got a headache, if I’m tired, if my nerves are a little bit high, then I’m not going to want to socialise with people. Then that makes me think, “Oh, no one wants to socialise with me.” It kind of gets worse, and worse, and worse. All of these tips, cutting out the factors that might be causing you anxiety, making sure that you’re hydrated, making sure that you love your body, and your body is healthy, I think can affect your mind, and it makes you realise the state that your mind was in before. I hope that this was somewhat interesting. I certainly hope that it was helpful. I’m obviously not an expert in any of these fields. I would love to hear from you, any stories, if any of this resonated with you. If you think I’ve missed anything out, I don’t think there’s anything that I’ve said that’s particularly groundbreaking, but until you try things out yourself, you don’t really realise the effect that they’re going to have on you. Let me know our thoughts in the comments. Give this video a thumbs up if you liked it. If you’re new, you can subscribe for more videos by clicking the red subscription button just underneath the left hand corner of this video. I will talk to you in the comments and see you next time. Bye.