The journey to a positive body image

So, I'm 25 years old, a female, and apart from stating the obvious I'm heavily influenced on a daily basis by the media about how I should look physically. Makeup and fashion trends come and go, but what I'm talking about is weight, body shape and the constant pressure we face to look a certain way. This is a trend which never seems to stop circulating.

Magazines and advertising campaigns are plastered with bikini bodies, post baby weight loss and fad diets. Celebrities get slated for putting on too much weight, or loosing too much weight?! So basically, you can't be too fat but you can't be too skinny either. I've always been curvy but the 'real women have curves' photos that do the rounds of the internet really infuriate me. Just because someone is naturally slim or has an athletic figure doesn't make them a 'real' woman? Possibly one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard.

I wouldn't say my weight is something I have 'battled' with, as I have always had a healthy bmi and no need to loose weight for medical related reasons. It's all just aesthetic. But it is something that I think about almost every day of my life, probably since the age of about 18/19. Ironically, I remember being happy with my shape and size before then because I never actually thought about it much. As soon as I started analysing it, the weight piled on and that made me obsess even more.


Here's me from the ages of 18-23. The puppy fat evolved and was renamed 'womanly curves' as I liked to tell myself. Fad diets, calorie counting, then binge eating to make myself feel better and repeating that process over and over again. Plus a stupid amount of alcohol while I was at uni. My sleeping patterns were awful, so I was tired all the time and drinking too much red bull and eating absolute rubbish to fuel me throughout the day. Stressful days at work and break ups? That's okay to have a takeaway tonight then, because I've 'earned' it, and it will make me feel better.  I could never tell the difference between eating when I was actually hungry, or if it was just because I was bored or for comfort. Then when I did eat I was filling my body with empty calories that made me even more tired, even more hungry, and put even more weight on. Maybe that guy wouldn't have dumped me if my boobs were bigger, or my waist was smaller, or my bum was more like Kim Kardashian's. Or the thing in recent years of the 'thigh gap'. Did you know that thigh gaps are actually determined by your bone structure and how wide your hips are, rather than how big or small your thighs and bum might be? Ladies, we can do a lot of amazing things when we put our minds to it but changing your bone structure is not one of them.

At my heaviest I was just over 11 stone. I'd get the usual 'oh but you don't LOOK that heavy' or 'you carry your weight REALLY well'. All sort of round about reassurance but I know what they meant. Years of snowboarding, surfing and motocross meant I had built up a lot of muscle that you couldn't really see (but I promise, it's there!) and of course muscle weighs more than fat. I'm convinced it's in my thighs, those god damn things are solid and will never loose an inch no matter what I do.


Here is me from the ages of 23-25. In the past couple of years I have completely re-evaluated what I am doing with my body, trying to re-educate myself and break bad habits. Despite the pressure we face every day from the media, I wanted to do this for MYSELF and no one else. To actually feel healthier in general. I have been actively trying to make long lasting lifestyle changes, and it's been bloody hard, but in the past wee while it seems to be paying off. I embarked on a detox plan called Clean 9, with the help of a lovely makeup artist I work with called Alexis Miller. This kick started my recent weight loss by almost completely eliminating my addiction to sugar, caffine and junk food in general. Sounds faddy, but it isn't and it really worked. I'd be happy to do another post on that if anyone is interested in hearing about it.

I have been working on my focus area for quite a while now, the bit that bothers me the most - my tummy! It is so satisfying to look at both sets of pictures above and be able to show how my body shape has finally started to change. I lived with a personal trainer for a year, tried all the classes under the sun but was still finding that I couldn't define my shape the way I wanted to. This is when I stumbled across TechnoShape, which I have already mentioned in a previous post. Each session lasts 40 minutes and consists very simply of wearing an air pressured belt while you work on the treadmill.


The belt gently moves and almost massages your stomach, encouraging blood circulation to your mid drift. When I work out I always get a red face and arms but my stomach is cold to touch, so by encouraging the blood to circulate more in this area while you exercise boosts your body's ability to burn fat in this area. Hence the steady inch loss! I finished up on the course today and I am really chuffed with the results. After 6 sessions of Technoshape I lost 5cm from my waist, 7cm from my stomach and 4cm from my hips

From left to right, before, during and after

I would say the detox and healthy eating helped with my weight most, and the TechnoShape obliterated those inches, helping me to shift stubborn fat and define my shape. I seem to have hit a plateau with my weight loss recently, at the end of july I was 10 stone 3lbs and I'm now sitting at 9 stone 5lbs. I tell myself my goal weight is 9lbs, but realistically the weight doesn't matter when I can see my body shape changing and feel better about how I fit into my clothes.

A final treat because you are all so awesome, TechnoShape are offering the chance for you to win 6 sessions at a studio near you - worth £275. Even if you're not far from your goal and need that final push, or are looking for an excuse to kick start those changes, I would recommend it to everyone after seeing how well it has worked for me. I know this price tag might be quite a lot for most people, but it does actually work and targets that stubborn area. Weigh that up against the amount of money people spend buying into fad diets or plans where the weight and inches go straight back on as soon as you start eating normally again. The inches I have lost with TechnoShape have came off, and stayed off! Enter below via Rafflecopter, and good luck! I'm so excited to be giving a set of these sessions away to one of you lucky readers :)

Despite the long hours I have been working for the past couple of months I actually feel more alert and full of energy than I have in such a long time. My skin is clearer, I'm less irritable and I feel like I have made a massive shift emotionally as well as physically. All these things are connected and a healthy mind makes for a healthy body too. Cutting out the addictions to caffine and sugar has made me realise how AWFUL I felt before, when I didn't realise how much I depended on them. But don't get me wrong, I still treat myself with a nice coffee during the week, pizza at the weekend, a glass of wine after a long day and a slice of cake when it takes my fancy. But now I find myself also craving the healthy options because I know how good they make me feel for a longer amount of time, with no crash afterwards. Everything is fine in moderation, and at the end of the day you need to be kind to yourself. Apart from thinking about weight loss and a smaller waist band, the most important thing is to feel comfortable in your own skin. This is my journey - it may be very different from yours or quite similar. We all have our own goals which will take varying amounts of time, steps and determination. Above all, ignore what the media tells you you should look like, strip it all back to basics and work out what you want to do for you.

 
‘Girls of all kinds can be beautiful – from the thin, plus-sized, short, very tall, ebony to porcelain-skinned; the quirky, clumsy, shy, outgoing and all in between. It's not easy though because many people still put beauty into a confining, narrow box... Think outside of the box... Pledge that you will look in the mirror and find the unique beauty in you.’ - Tyra Banks

12 comments:

  1. I have a constant struggle with my weight, and it is one of those subjects that we ALL want to avoid. Last year I joined Slimming World and I found it easy and exciting to loose weight and it worked for me. Then towards the last few months of Uni I had to stop attending the groups because I had to be in Uni late. Now I have gained all the weight I lost (+ a few extra pounds) because cake and pizza was the only thing that made me happy when I was stressed out to the max with Uni.

    Seeing all the blog posts about body image has made me realise that I need to get "back on it". Hopefully I all make it through.

    Georgie
    xoxo

    www.thelipstickdaily.com

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  2. I really really need help losing weight. I hate the way my body looks and feels and need to cut out my addiction to fatty bad foods.
    I excersise alot but dont shift weight :( xx

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  3. Oh Ayden you are bloody awesome! You're encouraging me to get off of my arse and work at it. I've been feeling really down about my body recently. I've always had something with my hips, they're the weirdest shape. I'm a size 10 and I have muffin tops! Everyone always tells me that "I can't possibly have muffin tops, I'm not big enough to have them!" But I do and I don't like them! Can you come and shout at me from the sidelines while I work on them? I think that's the only way I'll get anything done!

    Well done on working so hard! It's awesome! Xx

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  4. This is a really lovely post, good to hear that you've worked hard and it's paid off. Plus, I think you look bloody fabulous in all of the photos! I have a somewhat opposite problem, I've always had a really high metabolism and never seem to put on weight, but because of that I've become really lazy and can't remember the last time I exercised. So even though I appear fit and healthy, it only takes a slightly increased speed walk to try and catch the train and I turn into an out of breath bumbling mess, which I am very self-conscious about! You have inspired me to get my ass into gear and make myself feel better!

    Keep up the good work lovely, you look beaut! xx

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  5. I wish this stuff were accessible in the US, you look amazing!

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  6. Lovely stuff, you've done such an incredible job xx

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  7. I'd love to know more about Clean 9, I want to kick my sugar addiction too but I'm struggling so anything that might help I'm keen to hear about! :)

    Bryony
    bisforbryony.blogspot.co.uk

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  8. Personally I'd like to hear more about this Clean 9 that you've done. I guess that's my main issue, this slight addiction to sugar that I have. Generally I'm pretty good but there are certain periods where all I want is sugar and I find it hard to curb the addiction so instead of leaning towards fruit for example, I get a block of chocolate haha. Anything to help with that issue would be amaze ..

    You look fabulous though, congratulations on all your hard work as well Ayden. It's obviously paid off & at the end of the day, if you're feeling more comfortable in your skin then that's a total win right. Xx

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  9. Sugar is my downfall, I really need to start replacing it with fruit and things. I do love this post, and you kick ass for being healthier and happier!

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  10. You've always been a wee stunner and I'm proud (and jealous) of your determination and progress :)

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  11. You've always been a beaut, so my 'well done' and super impressed-ness isn't for the weight you've lost, but for the determination you've shown to do something you've wanted to do. I'm trying to transition my lifestyle choices at the moment (which sounds much nicer than 'lose my chubby belly'!!), and this is definitely something I'd love to give a go!

    Milly // Mini Adventures

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  12. I have just came across your blog as i was also looking for other bloggers in glasgow! and i love it, i think you look amazing I hate the scrutiny women and girls get about how they should look, I have started trying to cut down on sugar, fizzy juice etc and already i am feeling better but I am not going to drastically change my diet or anything i just want to feel healthier!!

    Lara // www.stylethetrend.blogspot.co.uk

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