Tag: body acceptance

The selfie struggle.

Oh, yes. It’s a real first world problem, this one!

Lately, I’ve been scrolling through my Instagram posts and asking myself what I can do to make my account look a bit more appealing. Am I showing a great variety of moments from my every day life? Am I getting better at telling the stories behind the photos (and not just posting something with very little captioning that doesn’t make sense to anyone but me)? Does my profile look colourful and is it something that would make me want to delve further if I wasn’t me?

I think I’m doing OK-ish, by my small fish standards, considering I started off with sometimes only 2 likes on my very first photos and now I can get dozen/s (I told you – small fish haha). There is definitely room for improvement and I know I am my own worst critic too.

One thing I noticed that my profile is missing is more photos of me! I know that when I scroll through someone’s Instagram account, I like to see the person behind the profile – it helps me to connect with their content. Makes me feel like I know them (even though I don’t – they could be serial killers for all I know – hahaha). As I am no longer a semi-anonymous blogger, I know that I need to start showing more of myself. Let the people who find me, get to know me better.

I don’t take many photos of my son (I made a decision early on in the piece to not fully reveal his face or identity publicly online) and my dogs only know a couple of poses: “THROW MY DAMN TOY” or “BLURRY AS F*CK”. My husband is a bit social media shy. I feel awkward asking to take pics of/with my friends for public consumption unless they are bloggers too. So that leaves me most of the time. I’ve got nobody else to fall back on ?

I also need to point out that I am concerned that I have a misshapen head and I do not have a reliable Instagram spouse (and admittedly I’m picky and I feel bad bossing someone around), nor fancy equipment to help me take consistently good selfies/photos of myself.

And even if I did, I would curl up and die of embarrassment if people saw me trying to get it right in fantastic public spaces, like all the really cool bloggers do. Because we all know it can take like 50 shots to get one good one (or at least that’s true for me and my misshapen head/face)!

*awkward too loud laugh*

Also, I hate the stigma attached to the ‘selfie’ phenomena. Sure, if you’re doing a Kim K and ignoring all of your life to get constant good shotz (yes I used the ‘z’ ironically) then you may deserve a little bit of an eye roll from everyone around you, but what if you just want a couple of nice shots to prove to yourself that you were actually out on a nice day or to capture your life because nobody else will? I get frightened of people laughing at me trying to get the right angle and making that embarrassing selfie face which usually doesn’t look anything like the person’s actual candid face.

It’s always a bloody relief when I find myself out with fellow iPhone photo obsessed peeps who don’t mind taking lots of pics of everything and understand when I want to as well!

Also, I know I’m getting a bit deep here, but I think I lack confidence and do not accept my face/head etc as they are. I want to get more body (‘face’?) positive.

Some of my favourite pics of my friends are the real ones. Where they haven’t given a shit and they’ve just gone for it and had fun. I want to be more like that.

Anyway, here’s a selfie I took at a wedding recently. I liked my make up that night and felt pretty – I’d put in a lot of effort and it was a big deal because I hadn’t been out in the real world for a little while. The lighting is bad because it was night time and the quality is bad because I used Snapchat, but I’m glad I took it.

I’m going to try to take more selfies and care less what other people think while I’m looking like a dickhead pointing a camera at myself.

Anyone got any great tips on iPhone camera settings/angles/best sides/tricking people into helping you??

Kez Gets Physical: Swimsuit Edition.

I have a confession to make. While I’ve been working really hard on loving and accepting my body (especially after having the Little Mister in late 2011), the one area I have struggled with immensely has been how my body looks on the beach.

In bathers (otherwise known as togs or swimmers or whatever you like to call them).

While I would love to say with confidence that all I need to do to have a beach body for summer is to have a body and take it to the beach in summer, I know that I haven’t been able to get myself to truly believe it for myself or put it into practice.

The Little Mister was pretty much born a summer baby, so I felt a bit intimidated by the idea of wearing my bathers right away. In our climate, the need to cool down and wear light clothes and get in a pool or swim at the beach is quite a common thing to deal with! While I was far more concerned with getting the hang of having a tiny person to care for and love (priorities of course), the issue did kind of hang around in the background. I remember back to when we had friends over for Australia Day 2012 (the Little Mister was 3 months old). We had big paddle pools set up for everyone – it was a stinker. I eventually got in with my friends. I had a big, floaty t-shirt on and daggy board shorts, while my friends all sat around in their bikinis looking pretty happy and comfy (even the new mums and pregnant ones too). I saw photos later and felt embarrassed. I felt like everyone knew I was hiding. It kind of just doubles the embarrassment factor.

I had stretch marks, some lingering scars from my PUPPP rash (that from a short distance looked like angry chest acne). A paunchy belly. In hindsight, I looked pretty damn good for what I’d been through and the breastfeeding had done wonders for me losing ‘baby’ weight (until I put it back on and then some later on). I really should have thrown caution to the wind and felt comfortable in my bathers, in my own home, around friends who were the last people who would judge me.

But that insecurity is not always rational and we judge ourselves so harshly sometimes, no?

Fast forward to 4 years later, and my scars have faded. My stretch marks are still there, but they have faded a lot too (you’d probably only see them if you were perving reeeeeally hard or you’re in my family/close friends circle). I still have a paunch that wobbles (the Little Mister likes to ever so tactfully jiggle it and laugh). I am a size 12 short arse. I’m not skinny, slim or perfectly toned. If I eat anything at all (which I do because starvation or crash dieting is not an option), I can look like I’m housing a 4-5 month food baby.

But it has been at least 4 long years since I wore nothing but my bathers on the beach or in the pool.

At the start of summer 2015/16, I realised I want to change that. I’ve been working so hard on my Kez Gets Physical self improvement project, that this has felt like a really important hurdle to conquer. I’ve become more comfortable in my skin. More comfortable in my active wear. More comfortable in my every day clothes. But I haven’t yet beaten my fear of being seen on the beach without a thousand cover up items on my body!

Obviously, I believe so much in being sun safe, but I have also been a bit ridiculous because of my worry about my body’s appearance. I want to feel comfortable and I don’t want to freak out about what it will mean if I choose to get in the water (like what do I do with all my clothes and my cover ups and what do I look like and am I being totally awkward right now?). It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but I’m keeping it as real as I can!

I don’t want to swan around like I think I’m Kate Upton or anything. I don’t want to punish myself with ridiculous fad diets and extreme work outs, so I can achieve some kind of ‘ideal’ bikini body. I just want to feel comfortable in myself and be able to do the things I enjoy (especially with the Little Mister) without hinderance from too much extra fabric or crippling self consciousness, thank you!

For Christmas, Mr Unprepared gave me (among other nice things) a voucher for a beautiful local swimwear store. I was so happy that I would have an excuse to remember how to feel good in my bathers again. I hadn’t shopped – joyfully – for swimwear in SO long. It had always been a rushed purchase – “This will do – it will all be covered up by my extra tops and shorts anyway”.

I did a little online browsing for ideas and decided that I should look for a tankini that is quite fitted around the torso (the looser ones look like they’ll be flattering but tend to float up around your chest when you enter the water – learnt that the hard way a while back). I wanted padding in the cups, not so much because I want to look like I have big breastesses (ha!), but because I am weird about flaunting my nips (what a prude – don’t get me started on my fear of camel toe haha). I wanted it to have some built in flattering features, like a little ruching (gathering) in the right spots and wide straps (probably a halter) and a pattern that didn’t make me look like a house. Because I’m not picky or anything!!!

I headed into town (on a really rainy morning strangely enough) and did my best to find that perfect tankini. I told the lady I had forgotten what looks good on me, so I was trying lots of things. I really had forgotten. I feel like swimwear design has come a long way since I last made an effort. Either that or I wasn’t paying attention. Could totally be the latter reason.

I picked out four contenders (pictured above) and got to work in the change room. I took photos of each top as I tried it on. I do this a lot as it helps me to quickly reference something and compare items. It also doesn’t hurt to know how this stuff photographs (let’s be honest).

I found a winner right away. The first top I tried on. It had the perfect small print (in gorgeous colours) to distract from too many lumps or bumps, a halter neck, padded cups and ruching. I didn’t hate myself in it. I actually felt a rush of excitement. Like if I wore this on the beach, I’d feel like a NORMAL PERSON wearing NORMAL bathers. I’d also feel good about the fact that I was wearing something I bought with actual intention and pride in myself. Not just something to hide in or to hide underneath other stuff.

In the name of ‘keeping it real’, here is what it looks like on (with the skirt I wore into the store).

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The side view impressed me too! Everything looked smoother and was tucked in nice and tight. Yay! I mean, I may be mistaken for a pregnant person if I’ve eaten too much on any given day, but I am quickly entering a new level of not-giving-a-fuckness about what nosy people might think/say. Yes. Kez is making progress!

I’ve got a way to go in toning and weight loss, of course, but I think that I should love my body for what it is (and what it can do) now too. Life’s too short to hide or sit on the sidelines!

Do you have any body/fitness fears to conquer in 2016? 

 

If you like my bathers, you can visit the Sunseeker website where they have some similar stuff (mine is the Verona singlet) and you can find a list of their stockists.
Note: this isn’t a sponsored post (unless you count it as being sponsored by Mr Unprepared who got me a voucher)!

Kez Gets Physical: Loving your body (and yourself) NOW.

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image source

When I say ‘love’, I don’t mean that you have to be head over heels, loving yourself sick and thinking you’re the sexiest beast to walk the planet every time you look in the mirror – no improvements needed (although you are totally a sexy beast – just saying). I mean the act of love. The ‘being kind to yourself’ kind of love. The kind of acceptance for yourself and your body that you would give anybody else that you care about, but somehow forget to give yourself. The remembering that you are more than what you look like. That kind of love.

I used to be of the mentality that I would have to work hard to get the body that I want and THEN I could love myself – you know, when I got really hot. And you know what? I was MISERABLE. I was all about the destination and not about the journey. Holding off my happiness and acceptance of myself was not the best idea I’ve ever had. In fact, it turned out to be really counterproductive.

Also, WTF. How shallow is that?? I would never treat somebody else like that. Why do it to myself?

The funny thing is, it took me being the heaviest and most unfit I’ve ever been in my life to actually start loving myself (this was only a few months and a couple of kilograms ago). I think it’s because I had to accept that if I got myself moving and really made an effort to improve my health, it would take a lot longer than it ever has before. It wouldn’t be a quick fix (and nor did I want it to be). That’d be a really long time to wait to be happy.

For me, the happiness I feel when I’m saying nice things to myself, is what actually motivates me. I’ve made so much more progress in my journey to better health since I decided to be happy with myself NOW than I was ever making when I made the choice to loathe who I saw in the mirror each day.

How do I love myself and my body NOW

I used to think that there was no point buying nice new clothes because I’d be heaps smaller and slimmer one day, so what’s the point? May as well make do with what I had until I was ‘hot again’ and then I could spoil myself. That was a HUGE mistake. Each day I faced a wardrobe filled with things that didn’t fit anymore. Stuff I was waiting to fit back into. See, I never got rid of that stuff because I thought that if I did, it was like telling myself I’d never wear that size/style again. I thought it would be like admitting I was giving up. Thing is, I was also subconsciously telling myself that I didn’t deserve nice new clothes that fit and flattered, because I didn’t think I was good enough how I was.

Each day I would have to wade through the stuff that I couldn’t wear anymore. I would feel sad and annoyed (it also was a big waste of time). Every day. I would put on some drab piece of clothing – probably something super floaty I could do nothing but hide in and hope I blended in with. It was often a few seasons old or it looked overly worn out. I never felt good.

I also never worked out. I told myself that until I was ‘hot’ enough to wear gym clothes, I shouldn’t buy any, like I didn’t have the right to buy it because I wasn’t ‘the real deal’ or experienced enough. But then I would never be able to exercise the way I wanted, because I didn’t have the right clothes or I felt frumpy and out of place when I improvised! Funny that.

So one day something snapped in me and I went into a little bit of a frenzy. I packed all the stuff that didn’t fit me into bags. One for charity and one to put aside somewhere just in case (in a container to be stored away so I didn’t have to see it every day). My wardrobe looked quite bare, but suddenly there was room for new stuff. Stuff I deserved to buy myself. Best decision I ever made.

Now I go clothes shopping when I can (which is not often but I make it count) and I put some effort in. I deserve it. I deserve to look and feel nice no matter what weight I am or where I am in my progress as I strive to be healthier and stronger. I have a couple of aspirational clothing items but I keep them to a minimum and they are realistic aspirations – not crazy dreams of a size 6 mini dress – the kind worn only by Hollywood socialites on the red carpet (socialite in mini dress I am not)! If I ever get small enough for that kind of thing (and someone invites me to a red carpet event haha), I’ll go buy it when I need it. For now, I’m happy to dress for where I’m at. Yes. Happy. I’m gonna be sexy NOW damn it!

The more I exercise and eat better, the less I care what people might think of my appearance. Because there’s something magical about knowing your truth. If I’m doing all I can, people can think whatever the fuck they like. When I was miserable and secretly eating my feelings every day and hiding in grey muu muu dresses, I thought that any negative thoughts people had of my appearance would be all I deserved. It wasn’t and to be honest, I don’t think other people thought much of anything. I was just projecting my own feelings about myself onto them. Deep, huh?

Another thing to do is to find inspiration (and perspective) in people who are more like you, physically. I know heaps of beautiful girls of all sizes and shapes who look AMAZING to me all the time and not once have I ever looked at them and thought bad things about them just because of how they carry their weight (or any other physical trait). In fact, I see who they are shining through more than anything. If I don’t judge them, should I be judging myself? Hell to the no! That’s also a good indicator that other people probably aren’t judging me either!

Now when I look in the mirror, I look for the good things. Sure, I might do a quick ‘does my back fat look too obvious in this’ check (old habits die hard), but I look for the little differences in my muscle tone since I started exercising more. I look at the things I like about my outfit or my body. Because I put love into my body and my wardrobe NOW, it is much easier. I’m proud of a ‘look’ I’ve achieved, rather than relieved I can blend in for another day (or horribly anxious that someone will ‘out’ me as not being good enough).

Even if my clothes aren’t fitting great (and the stuff in the shops is not helping either), I find ways to pamper myself. Cute accessories (they’ll always fit), colourful shoes, getting my nails done (or taking the time to do them myself). It doesn’t matter what size I am. I know I’m working hard and things will improve. I am kind to myself because I deserve my own kindness NOW (or at least I am working really hard on it).

Because what’s more motivating? Someone bullying us and saying we’re not good enough or someone telling us they care and that they’ve got our back and they know we can do this because we’re worth it?

Don’t be your own bully!

You are beautiful in so many ways RIGHT NOW!

The big question: Do you believe me?