What ditching the scales taught me about body image


“SEEING THAT PICTURE OF KENDALL JENNER MAKES ME WANNA K-WORD MYSELF”


On 12th February, Kendall Jenner sent social media wild with selfies at a Skims photoshoot looking undeniably PHENOM.


What was an incredible reception for Kendall and her super-model bod, was a moment of self-loathing and anxiety for millions of other women. My Instagram feed was filled with reposts of the picture alongside crying emojis with an outpouring of admiration for Kendall in one breath, and an admission of self-hatred in the next. It made me sad.


Beautiful women, whose pictures I see on Instagram and think are full of confidence and feel content with their appearance, were suddenly feeling so vulnerable and insecure at the sight of another beautiful woman.


I then went on Twitter and the first tweet I saw, was the opening quote to this post. I think we can assume (or at the very least, hope) that the author was exaggerating. But exaggerating or not, the tweet brings to life the very real problem that us women have of feeling constantly inferior to other women when it comes to how we look.


Body image and self-love has always been a touchy subject for me. Like any woman, I’ve grown up in a world where you’re constantly reminded what beautiful looks like, and that you don’t quite fit the mould. You’re either too skinny, or not skinny enough. ‘Too short to ever be a model’ or too tall and manly. Too black, too hairy, too athletic, too old. We are all just too…. Used to accepting the characteristics that make us who we are and different to everybody else, as flaws.


Last year, I made the decision to stop weighing myself. I was sick and tired of the weekly cycle of stepping onto the scales and letting my self-worth be determined by the number that came up. I didn’t realise how unhealthy my relationship with my body was until I ditched the scales. And at the time, I didn’t realise how much this decision was going to change my entire mindset.


But here we are, over a year later and I’ve learnt a lot…


Once I dropped one insecurity (my weight), I found it easier to drop all of the others too. It was a chain reaction where I’d given myself a taste of contentment, and it wasn’t enough. I wanted to immerse myself in it.


My years of cruelty towards myself transformed into kindness and I suddenly felt at peace with my body for the very first time. Something I never thought possible.


It wasn’t easy to go from always knowing how much I weighed to having no clue whatsoever. But I’m so glad I stuck with it and I feel mentally stronger for it. For the first time ever, I feel confident and self-assured, and proud that I’ve managed to detach myself from a mindset that I let consume me for so long.


Comparison is a bitch! And I’ve always been a sucker for comparing myself to the next woman and feeling like rubbish because I let it magnify my insecurities. I’ve always been the tall friend surrounded by women who have been a lot shorter and a lot more petite than me. And while, I’ve never felt insecure about my height, I’ve always felt that bit ‘bigger’ because of it.


But now I can’t hold my weight against myself because I have no clue what it is, I care less about how I look in general and spend less time worrying about how other people perceive me. I care more about how I feel, and I have the confidence to remove myself from any situation where I don’t feel my best.


Wanna know the truth about my epiphany?


Loving your body in its entirety is a myth. A myth orchestrated to sell the idea of ‘empowerment’ to women, as another unattainable state of being gift-wrapped in false-positivity, to again make us feel like we’ve failed at something.


Let’s face it, we all have things that we don’t like about ourselves. My always-bloated belly, the cellulite on the back of my legs, the pigmentation scars on my back, my wonky teeth, my chubby knees (yes, I have a complex about my knees, and yes, I do know how daft that sounds).


And I’ve realised that the key to my newfound self-confidence is simply accepting the fact that I don’t have to LOVE every inch of my body to feel content with how I look. I just have to be okay with the bits that I don’t love.


Accepting my imperfections as things that yes, if I could click my fingers and change I would, but I know I don’t have to change. I am completely fine with who I am right now. Warts and all.


It’s refreshing to finally feel okay. Last summer was the first time in eight years that I didn’t diet before going on holiday. And when I got there, I was unashamedly me. I wasn’t trying to suck my belly in and fake a thigh gap in every photo, I just enjoyed my holiday. I enjoyed the food and booze and time spent with my family.


It’s wild to think back to 14-year-old me, genuinely trying to lose weight before having to put a bikini on for two weeks. I wish I could go back and give her a shake. Let her know that there’s more to life than stones and pounds. That being a good, kind person really is the most important thing (not just something your parents tell you to make you feel better). And that she will get to a stage where she feels confident in her own skin – it’ll be a process, but she’ll get there.


On this International Women’s Day, I encourage you to #ChooseToChallenge the ideals of beauty that are so often forced down our necks. Challenge the way you treat yourself. Be kinder, stop picking yourself apart and accept the bits of you that you don’t like.


As a collective sisterhood, we also need to learn to accept that the appreciation of the presence of beauty in someone else, doesn’t reflect the absence of our own. You don’t have to look a certain way to feel comfortable in your own skin. As if the last year hasn’t been hard enough, with what’s a times felt like a competition of ‘who has their shit together the most’, we are now spending our time comparing ourselves to and evaluating our self-worth on the Instagram pictures of the celebrity elite.


Let’s stop, shall we? Yes, Kendall Jenner is stunning as fuck, but so are you.


Happy International Women’s Day xxx

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