Listening to your Body

Sometimes the internet can be incredibly overwhelming. There is an abundance of nutritional information out there, not to mention various health advice and sources telling us what we should and shouldn’t be doing. Every week it seems, there is some new fad diet or juice cleanse out to improve your ‘wellbeing”. While the internet does enable us to explore areas of health and access various sources of information rapidly, it also has its downfalls.

If you are like me, and  have an interest in healthy living – then the internet can be an incredibly complex minefield. One day we are reading that coconut oil is the superfood that all humans must consume regularly, and a week later, something else states that consuming coconut oil is actually not good for internal organs and systems. Sound complicated? That’s because it is. With the health industry growing rapidly every single day, there are multiple ‘influential’ people telling us which particular way of eating is best for our health. 

If I am honest, sometimes the more I read… the more confused I get about what information to trust. What techniques will work and what will cause my body more damage than good? Is consuming dairy bad for my insides? Will eating raw kale give me gas? Raw food in general? Is a vegan diet actually healthy? 

To be frank… this issue effects all of us. Whether or not you have an interest in healthy living, the constant talk of ‘how to eat’ and ‘how to live’ surrounds us. But the truth is, and what I have now learnt (and will continue to learn)… is that no one knows what will work for you. There are most definitely sources and facts out there that can give you guidance, however no one knows what will work for you – BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT YOU.

Lately, I have realised just how much I was relying on these online sources to tell me what to do and how to live. I think its become ingrained within girls of our age to think this way. If someone else lives a vegan diet and thrives, then maybe I will too. If someone who counts their macros and gyms 3 times a day is happy, then maybe I will be too. 

Speaking from experience, (in the past), I have suffered through uncomfortable symptoms and body changes – all to ensure I was following the advice of an expert. I developed orthorexia when my drive for healthy living, manifested into a rigid routine and deep-seated fear of food. Sure… everyone will experience these diet changes on different scales, but the point of this post is to realise how extreme this can be, and to raise awareness for how these processes work.

In order to try and figure out what works best for me, I have been working on self-development, and learning to listen to my body. Instead of consistently being frustrated by the challenges and changes that our bodies experience, I now attempt to identify what my body is trying to communicate to me.

These are the techniques I have been using to reconnect with my body and its messages, and I hope that they can help you to indeed – find what works for you.

Listening to your Body

 

Take time to slow down

When we let our minds race around at a million miles an hour EVERYDAY, we experience an inability to hear and recognise what is going on within our bodies. Same goes for consistently being on the move; an inability to realise if we are sore, tired, angry or frustrated. I’m sure you know the feeling – and then it’s too late, arriving home in a shitty mood but unsure why… all because we haven’t taken a moment to breath.

Becoming aware of your bodies messages and signals after eating food, is much easier when you take the time to stop. Pay attention to your signals before, during, and after you eat/exercise. This can often be done by avoiding social media or other activities at meal times, reading a book, and doing breathing exercises.

Keep a food diary

For someone who has had orthorexic tendencies, I was originally against the idea of keeping track of everything I eat/how much exercise I do. Sounds like calorie counting to me… and although its not, making numbers and calories the image of my food, was not something I wanted to delve back into the habit of.

However, when trying to determine what works best for our bodies, I have found it super helpful to keep a note of the food items consumed/exercise done etc. Sometimes it takes a while, even overnight, for our body’s signals and reactions to present themselves, so take the time and make a record – and by doing so, you will notice patterns. 

Be open to trying new things

Anyone who knows me well, will know that I struggle with breaking routines. However, as I said earlier – our body’s signals and changes take time to develop, and we need to give these opportunity in order to uncover what’s really going on. Take a trial and error approach to trying new things, and giving your body time to attempt something new, experience the changes, and make or realise changes – is part of being human.

Remember, our bodies are machines driven by our thoughts and feelings; when we approach new lifestyle plans with a negative mentality, our experiences are affected by our brain and thoughts. Give new things time to develop, give new options the opportunity to occur, and give something new a go!

Get in touch with internal responses to what you’re consuming

How do you feel straight after you drink a coffee? How do you feel after consuming bread? Ask yourself whether after eating – you feel energised, perhaps angry, have an elevated heart rate, the jitters, or need to go to the toilet with an upset stomach. Pay attention to each food and how it makes you feel, both internally, and in our energy output. Obviously it goes without saying, but you should avoid foods, that you know affect your body in negative ways.

To be honest – this is something that I initially struggled with, and after keeping a food diary – I have realised that it does become easier the more often I do it. Sit for five after eating, and record things on your phone to keep an easy and quick record of whats going on.

Avoid the fads and the hype

I love instagram, and I love the internet. The idea that I can not only advance my knowledge about healthy lifestyles further, but also potentially advance my relationship with food… mean that both are great resources we should be utilising. However, there is always going to be some new nutritional information coming out, or some new diet fad that we all must try.

What we must remember however, is that these fads will fade away in time, and what works for someone one week, often won’t work in a months time. As I said earlier, our bodies take time to change and adapt – so when people who are experimenting with their diet publicly announce that something new is working for them, it may not last very long at all.

I guess my point is: to remember that your body is yours, and it is truly incredible. There is no need to try an live in a way that satisfies someones else needs, if it doesn’t satisfy yours. The same goes for your diet choices – and we cannot live in a way that someone else advocates, if its detrimental to our individual health.

If that means eating meat and a variety of foods, then good on you. If it means thriving off a plant based diet, then thats totally awesome too. It might be as simple as eating more protein in the morning rather than at night – because thats just how YOU work best. Whether its paleo, vegan, IIFYM, keto… whatever the fuck you want to call it, just remember that its about balance.

An individual balance. That is yours.

Advertisements

Instagram & Self Esteem are not Mutually Exclusive

It seems the word ‘social’ in social media, is perhaps not as sociable as it suggests. If you are anything like me, and/or are just someone who likes to engage with their social media frequently, you may (at times), feel even more isolated and lonely than before you popped onto the so called ‘sociable’ outlet.

I was recently talking with a few of my close girlfriends, some of whom are what those my age would consider to be ‘Insta famous’.

‘Whenever I go on my Instagram lately, I just start to feel super shitty and depressed. Like why can’t I be her?”

God she honestly lives the best life ever. Her car. Her boyfriend. Her multiple trips overseas.”

You get my drift.

What was my immediate reaction you may ask? Pretty much: yeah SAME. Instagram is an incredible tool, that allows us to connect with people, explore new and exciting sites and places, and can aid personal development on multiple levels. As we are all very aware as of late, A LOT of people also choose to make a living off of their heavily populated Instagram platform.

So where am I going with this? And doesn’t it seem a bit critical of me to accuse and bash the very social media platform that I love and use daily? Sure, it would be. If that was what I was looking to do. But that ain’t my goal… and the use of social media is an extremely tool in our world today. It is also however, an incredibly manipulative and complicated platform that should be used carefully. And lets be honest: the images that we see are often far from reality.

Speaking from personal experience, it is extremely easy to get sucked into a distorted version of reality when we base daily perceptions and judgements of people – on what we see online. I am sure you have all been there too. An hour and a half goes by, and suddenly you find yourself scrolling through your brothers, wife’s, sisters, boyfriend’s, best friends travel page. WOW!

Falling into this mindless trap, generally starts with a little harmless curiosity (or boredom… or a combination of the two). We scroll through an endless stream of beautiful images, we engage with other peoples versions of their beautiful life – all of which provides momentum for these elongated periods of what I like to call ‘The Insta Stalk’.

So where does the problem lie you may ask? Well, for me personally – the problem begins when this curiosity morphs into jealousy, comparisons and envy. I am only human, and sometimes a little too much time online looking at others lives most definitely makes me question the way I live mine. I want to live where she lives! I wish I could look like that in a crop top! How can I earn enough money to travel as much as she does? I want her bod!

I would be lying is I said that this process didn’t effect me. I would be lying if I was to say that I NEVER compare myself to others online. So yes… here I am, just like a lot of you I’m sure, and I too – sometimes fall into the trap of making Instagram and my self-esteem mutually exclusive. What I have realised however, is that its human nature to produce a cognitive flow of thoughts in our brains, based on things around us. This flow leads to a comparative process, where by our lives become negative, and others becomes seemingly more positive. Ultimately – you end up feeling shit.

Sound like you? You been here too? Well ya know what – thats ok. Because you ain’t alone. And the first step to combat this, is becoming aware of our actions.

Fighting the negative side effects of social media can be achieved when we understand and acknowledge the pattern of how it works. The way I choose to do this, is to begin on a personal level. Step one: understanding and realising how social media works. Realise its strengths and weaknesses. In order to do this… think about the last time that you posted a bad picture of yourself? When was the last time you posted something and thought… shit, I look bad in this one – but oh well! I’m going to take a wild guess and say NEVER.

Instagram is indeed, a highlight reel of our lives. It highlights how happy we are, how many holidays we take a year, who we are currently dating, where we are in the world…. how much fun we are having. The way we carefully construct our image, is based upon the images and themes that we WANT people to see! Therefore, what we must all realise evidently, is that Instagram is not in fact – reality, and can therefore not be used as a source of comparrison.

What you also must know is: Multiple studies have suggested a direct link between Instagram and Mental Illness problems. It has also been suggested, that due to these unregistered comparisons of lifestyle that individuals make online – Instagram has been rated the number one most-problematic application on your smart device in causing depression and anxiety.

But hold up, hold up… its not all negative vibes. I am by no means suggesting that you leave Instagram and segregate yourself from the things you love to see online. I am simply suggesting however, my step two: questioning why you feel the way you do, after seeing a certain image online.

The perspective and approach that we take to viewing images online – heavily impacts our mood before and after viewing the content. Hence, when images are viewed with the relevant understanding that these images represent a visual fantasy of what people ‘want’ us to see, they have much less negative effects on ones mood.

After realising these things, I have also discovered my new found ability to pose personal questions to myself. What is it about this particular image that made me jealous in the first place? Was I jealous of what they have accomplished, what they are being praised for? In realising the root of my comparisons and my jealousy – I have also uncovered my own values and goals (sometimes coming to terms with the things that I REALLY do or don’t want to do).

Try converting your comparrison from anger and self-hate, into a positive self motivator. I like to think of it like this – another persons success can provide clarity for what you want. Personally for me, I see people being super successful in their own self-developed enterprise, and take inspiration from this to better myself. 

If its someone else’s body goals or fitness lifestyle that you choose to compare too – realise that what you are seeing is only a snippet of their reality. You are also, incredibly unique – and you will never be like them or have their lifestyle/fitness regime/body characteristics. This is most definitely something I learnt the hard way. If they have a great body or great abs – thats super awesome. If you want to use this as motivation to get in shape – thats awesome too. All I am suggesting is that you ensure you are true to you – and are not endeavouring to transform into someone else idea of perfection. You won’t be like them, and you most certainly won’t be as perfect as they ‘appear’ to be.

From a personal level, I want you to know that this process isn’t easy. It is however, something that those of our generation have to deal with, and I by no means have completely nailed the whole ‘no comparisons’ way of life. Currently, I am beginning to realise just how manipulative and contrived Instagram can be – and as a result, will always endeavour to be the most honest version of myself online. Times of late, have also shown me just how controlled and contrived images online can be – and have seen that those who seem the most ‘happy’ and ‘carefree’… are often the ones struggling most.

Instagram is not complete reality, no matter how hard you try to believe it is. Sure people can be authentic, and believe me when I say that I try my very best to be real online. In fact, its something I pride my account on. However, the nature of social media outlets mean that what you see will never be completely real, and someone else’s idea of their ‘perfect’ body, fitness regime, lifestyle, career, family dynamic, etc… may very well be the complete opposite of yours. And thats ok. It’s ok to be different and its ok to be you.

I believe that we should all attempt to lead by example, and representing yourself on Instagram should be about being exactly who you are. Its contagious… the more you do it, the more real people you will attract.

Just something to think about… Lotsa Love x

26 Ways To Look After Yourself

For most of us, there is often a point in life when everything feels a little too much. Times when even the smallest of tasks, like making a bowl of cereal, or getting off the couch to get a pen, can seem monstrous. There may be some days, or weeks, even months… and for whatever reason, just getting through the day can feel really really hard.

It may be because you are enduring a long term battle with depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, or some other mental illness. It may be because you have recently been through an emotional or physical trauma. You might have recently lost someone close to you. Maybe you have just had your heart broken. It might be the stress of university weighing you down. Or maybe, for some unknown reason… you just feel a little off.

Believe me, I have these moments and so does almost everyone I know. Would we be human beings if we didn’t? I don’t think so. So whatever the case, I need reading this to help you know that everything will eventually be OK. Whatever is looming ahead is something that you can overcome and achieve, and remember that going through a rough patch never makes you a failure. It does not make you any less loveable or capable. It simply means that you are a human being… and how can we possibly validate making ourselves feel bad for being human right?

At this point in the year, for university students in particular, stress management and practices of self love often fly out the window. Exams are on and you are prioritising your study, you have what seems like five thousand end of trimester assignments due, you may have money, flat, or family troubles… the list goes on. If I am honest, I recently fell victim to being overcome with multiple stresses, and found myself in a tired, overworked and fragile state. I stopped my regular practice of self care and love, I prioritised the wrong things, and I focused my energy in areas by no means more important than prioritising my health.

But I do get it… time management and organisation can be much harder than a regular routine in stressful times. I often feel less inclined to spend time doing the things (I know) will make me happy, because I ‘need’ to put other things in advance. For some reading this, that might be slacking off your regular exercise routine because you just don’t have the time. It might be putting off catching up with a friend or going for a walk… or depriving yourself from your favourite foods or listening to your favourite music. For others, it might even be the seemingly simple task of getting out of bed.

All of these actions are things that we love… yet for some unknown reason, they no longer seem priority right? Our health and wellbeing, our mental state and happiness, our friends and our family, me time… none of which seem to matter anymore.

But I’m going to stop you right there. Because quite frankly, I learnt the hard way that having this approach to stressful times in life does not work. Practices of self love and managing your stress, is crucial to our health and wellbeing.

Because I am personally a huge victim when it comes to letting myself get overtaken by stress, this is most definitely something I am working hard to improve looking ahead. Although I am by no means perfect, I have certainly learnt some helpful things along the way about how to get through these times.

So… if this is you right now, feeling alone, overwhelmed or stressed all ends… please keep reading. Whether it be you, or someone that you love who is going through a bit of a rough patch, here are some simple suggestions for self-care and management to help you through.

 

Self Care 101

 

1. Call a friend or family member and talk everything out. This can be super helpful, especially for people living away from home or travelling for university/work. Sometimes you can feel isolated and alone during stressful times – even when there are so many others around you. Its always nice to know someone cares, even from afar, so give them a call and enable an ability to vent everything out to someone that you trust.

2. Get good quality rest and tuck yourself into bed early. Sleep is vital, and essential. Yes there are times where you need to be pulling an all nighter, but in all honesty – you are generally always better off getting a good nights sleep, and being brighter in the morning to perform at your best.

3. While you are at it on the resting front… change your sheets and pillow cases, get a new duvet too. There is no better feeling than hoping into bed with crisp clean sheets, and a little revamp on your bed always helps you climb into bed after a long day.

4. Take some time to focus on your breath. It sounds silly I know, to just sit there and breathe. But seriously… focus on going in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly and deeply (from your stomach not your throat). When breathing in, you need to be pushing your stomach out (this seems opposite to normal at first). Do this consistently for 2 minutes and I guarantee feel a difference in your state of mind and peace.

5. Hydrate yourself. Ask yourself… have you had enough water today? Stress and worry can often leave us prone to more frequent breakouts or hormonal outbursts, and drinking water most definitely helps prevent this process. In order to combat this, have a big bottle of water alongside you consistently, or if you aren’t into drinking plain water… try infusing it with fruits or teas.

6. Eat something. Another question you need to ask yourself is… have you eaten something healthy and nourishing today? Have you fuelled your body with what it needs to get through? Most likely… the answer will be no. I know for me, if I don’t take the time to sit, take time aside from my work, and eat my meals… my whole days schedule is thrown off. Inevitably, my final work results are always much poorer than anticipated. Fuel your body at consistent times, have a break when eating, and be mindful of the way your body is feeling and reacting to what you are putting in. If it needs more nourishment, then don’t be afraid to give it that. 

7. Have a nice hot shower. Clean your body and get a good scrub on. Take time to wash your face gently and condition your hair, shave the areas that need it too, if you want too. Once done, dry your hair properly, moisturise areas of your skin that are dry, get into comfortable clothing (these need to be warm if in Wellington), and relax.

8. Get some vitamin D and get outside in the sun. During the winter months in particular, getting sunshine can seem a bit of a mission. Even worse, is when you are sitting inside smashing out an assignment while the sun streams in on you. If this is the case, take a 30 minute break from whatever it is you are doing and go outside. Feel the warmth on your skin, feel it warm your body and your soul.

9. While on the topic of getting outside, go ahead and make sure you move that gorgeous body of yours. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise, just move it gently in ways that feel good. Aim for 30 minutes everyday. It could be a walk, some yoga, a kick ass bootcamp style workout… whatever it is that makes you feel good. I also guarantee you, that even if you are feeling a bit sluggish at the time, gentle exercise and movement will almost always make you feel more energised.

10. Grab a journal and write it out. Get everything on your mind out and vent to yourself, feelings, emotions, worries or future plans.

11. Write a list and create a plan. This always helps me when I am feeling overwhelmed. List everything that you need to do to address whatever you’re facing, and make this a daily ritual that you can tick off each time. Remember to make it realistic, don’t go setting yourself one million things to do in one day. Seperate your things to do into manageable tasks, and tick them off as you go. Start small, even if your first thing listed is to get up and out of bed.

12. Light a candle or incense and sniff familiar scents and smells that bring you joy. My favourites are my vanilla and caramel candle, or lighting the lime and coconut candle that mum gave me.

13. Clean up your environment, and stay organised. As human beings, we naturally like things to remain in order. Sometimes tidying things up can help calm our minds, so start with your desk, or organising your notes into sections that are going to help you stay on top of things.

14. Change your environment if one isn’t working for you. If you are not happy or being productive where you are, take a break and move somewhere else. I love working in cafes or the public library, and sometimes find staying in one space extremely isolating and unproductive. Move and change, and over time you will find what works for you.

15. Create a playlist of top notch songs that make you feel great and remind you of happier times. If its study that you are needing to prioritise, chuck on a playlist of some chill beats that make the atmosphere a little less boring.

16. Create a list of things you are grateful for in life. I find this helps me a lot when I am stressed, and draws attention to the things I have almost always forgotten when overwhelmed. While you are at it, make a list of things to look forward too, such as plans after exams or the things upcoming that make you excited to be alive!! If you don’t have any… make some!

17. Remember to stay in touch with the present, and remember that your only job right now is to put one foot in front of the other, and keep moving forward. Don’t think about facing entire weeks ahead if that seems too scary, take each moment one step at a time.

18. Put in your earphones or crank the speakers nice and loud, and DANCE. Dance for five or ten minutes like an absolute idiot, get a friend, and sing out the lyrics at the top of your lungs.

19. Seek expert help with whatever you need; if you are struggling mentally – remember you do not have to do it alone. This could be through seeking therapy, psychiatry, seeing a doctor… but remember to let those trained to support you through this. If its health related, work with your doctor, naturopath or nutritionist in order to develop a regime that will support whatever you’re facing right now.

20. Aim to establish a manageable routine and stick to it. Routines bring me a lot of comfort, and in times when I am stressed out, often help me to feel grounded.

21. Recognise your hard work and treat yourself on your achievements. Don’t save special things for special occasions, make the occasion special! Brighten your mood by attempting to make a moment more positive. Go for lunch with a friend, when you finish an assignment go ahead and treat yourself to your favourite chocolate bar, whatever it is that will make you happy.

22. Reach out to family and friends and talk. I said it earlier, but I can almost guarantee you that your friends might be going through a similar phase in life. Even if it isn’t the same reasons you are stressed out or worried, sometimes talking to others helps. Listening to others problems also helps to remind you that you are not alone, so enable yourself the opportunity to interact with others and have human connection. Isolation never helps.

23. Stay centred, and try not to not compare your daily experiences to another’s. Nothing will steal your joy as fast as comparing your journey to someone else’s. Social media can be a terrible influence for this, and can be a terrible way to judge how you are doing (especially when it comes to mental illnesses). Be you, and trust your instincts.

24. Get up early and watch the sunset. Take a friend or go alone, and watch the beautiful earth change in front of you. If mornings are not your thing, try this in the afternoon and watch the sunset. 

25. My favourite… get in the kitchen and experiment with something new. Make yourself a nourishing breakfast/lunch/dinner, or bake up a sweet treat that you have never tried before. There is nothing more satisfying than creating good food, and don’t worry if you fail, at least you will have something to laugh about!!

26. Remember to trust the process, and that what you’re going through right now is only going to be temporary. It may not feel like that right now, but this period shall pass and you will be feeling much better about things if you choose to take things at your own pace, one step at a time. Have faith in yourself and your own abilities.

Much Love, A x

Self Love 101

“Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”

 

The concept of ‘self love’ is one that is not only important for those in recovery, but for everyone in our society.

 

A very important part of my Anorexia recovery, was learning to love myself. I know it sounds cliche and predictable, but learning to love yourself after years of hating yourself is by no means an easy task. And there is no way that I am 100% there (yet). In fact, I am very far from complete ‘self love’.

 

But the thing with self love is, it’s not going to come overnight. No one loves EVERYTHING about their body or personality. Self-love is not easy, and you should never ever feel bad for not loving yourself ‘completely’. I don’t think anyone does. The process of self love is constantly learning and experiencing new things, and despite most definitely making improvements since being sick… I am still enduring the ups and downs of this process.

Throughout writing this post… I realised just how complex the journey to self love can be. The direction you take is never going to be crystal clear, and you will most definitely have to endure your ‘down’ days just like everybody else. But in saying that, there are some steps you can take to begin on the right path. Some are bigger than others, and some will take time to develop and well… work. But I gave them a go, and throughout the process found what works best for me.

 

Try them out below, and slowly but surely…. you might find yourself feeling a little more empowered and body positive.

 

 

SELF LOVE 101

 

 

Empowering music.
Music that just makes you feel damn good. Put it on nice and loud, and dance around the room like no one is watching. Depending on your mood, it might be a singing every single lyric to your favourite song from high school, or a collation of sad ballads that makes you feel like you can take on the world. It’s okay to feel like an idiot while doing so, as long as you can laugh at yourself and smile.

 

Focus on positivity 
There is good in every day, but sometimes the challenge comes in finding it. If you take on this challenge, even on your bad days, I promise you that you will feel like an all round more positive person. Speaking poorly about others is just as bad as talking poorly about yourself, and never makes anyone feel good. If you catch yourself in a negative mind space, or just generally feeling down about your body or lifestyle,  find two or three things about your day that have been good. They can be as small as getting a yum coffee at your favourite cafe, or simply the fact that you didn’t trip on the way to work. Focus on these, and stray away from creating more negativity. In terms of fixing a negative focus on your body, try to remember that your body functions each day and allows you to breathe. For that, we are all so very lucky, and sometimes I struggle to remember this concept myself. If it’s your thighs or your hips that you hate, try to remember that if you didn’t have these parts – you simply could not exist as freely as you do right now. Be thankful, be accepting, and distract your mind away from negativity as often as you can.

 

Realise that you cannot control everything
Shit happens. The most important thing is to avoid letting the things that you cannot control stress you out. Instead, form new appreciations for the things you have at present, and remember that you are so very capable of conquering anything that life throws at you (regardless of whether you want too). I am very prone to letting myself get stressed out over small things I cannot control, and often, reminding myself that I needn’t worry about things I can’t control helps a lot. Realising that our day to day stresses a usually just minor issues blown out of proportion is really helpful, and particularly for me, help form a more positive approach for things to come. It’s a hard habit to conquer, but the more you do it the more it works.

IMG_1899

Put yourself first
Saying ‘no’ can be a magical thing. It is something I struggle with a lot, and I still find it incredibly hard to say ‘no’ when I feel obliged to something or someone else.  It can be scary at first, but its important to remember that you are by no means being selfish if you choose to put yourself first once in a while. If you don’t you will burn out, and this is somewhere that I have been far too often. ‘Burning out’ is not fun, and will leave you feeling even worse (and under even more obligation) than before. Try to remember that it is okay to put yourself first when you need too, take some time out, and pay attention to your bodies needs. If you are feeling particularly yucky, taking the time to listen to your needs is so important. Sometimes having a nice relaxing bath or treating yourself to a massage can help make you feel better, and/or for some, simply taking time to be alone with your thoughts and doing the things you love helps as well. Whatever the case, take the time for yourself.

 

Rid negative energy and people
This seems silly, but over the last few years I have seriously learnt the importance of doing this step, in creating a more positive and healthy lifestyle. You NEED to rid absolutely anyone who makes you feel shit about yourself, and in doing so, you will draw the right people in. Some people take pleasure in seeing you fail or endure loss, and similarly, will enjoy seeing you fail along your health journey too (what losers I know). These people automatically make us feel shit…. so GET RID OF THEM. Find people who lift you up. There is not enough time in life to be spent enduring those with a negative energy, so instead; find people who are genuinely happy to share your successes and your journey with you. Love and respect goes a long way in forming relations with other people, and throughout this very process, you will automatically find yourself feeling more positive about yourself.

 

Self-Love Jar
This one is by far the most ‘cliche’ action you could do, but I found this particularly helpful when first starting out to love myself post-illness. I began by writing out 3 things I loved about myself; when I was down, when I was feeling good, or just somewhere in between. ANYONE CAN DO THIS, even if you don’t feel like you can. It can be either physical or mental attributes, and its okay to begin with small things. Add your thoughts to a jar or box every few days, and then on your lowest days, take a couple out and remind yourself of how special you really are.

 

IMG_1898

Comparrison is the thief of joy
My cousin consistently reminds me of this idea. Comparing yourself to others will always always ALWAYS steal your joy. Every single person on this planet is different – and even my twin brothers couldn’t be further apart in personality and attributes. Everyone therefore, has different talents and achievements, some we deem to be more ‘lucky’ than others. Whatever the case, you should never EVER focus on others while forming an individual idea of happiness, especially when it comes to body shapes and sizes. Believe me, I tried, and it does not work. You will never be anyone else, and heck… why would you want to be? Focus on yourself, your body, on your favourite bits and also everything in between.

 

Accept your slip ups. 
Most important of all the steps moreover, is the ability to accept your flaws for what they are. Life will throw you curve balls, and some days will feel much better than others. That’s how our world works. Remember that one slip up is not the end of the world, and one bad day of eating does not take away all your progress. Think about it… one healthy meal does not make you a healthy person, just as one unhealthy meal doesn’t make you fat. One intense training will not make you ready to take on the Olympics, and one day off the gym won’t lead to 10kg weight gain. You will fail, and you will fall. Accept these moments, and move forward. No one is perfect beautiful.