Everybody talks about the pre-body confidence before the lifestyle changes, the one that is in your ownership, attached to your self image, and ultimately is the catalyst to the drive that throws you into a brand new routine.
And everybody talks about the after-body confidence, the one you pin your goals on, the healthier, flourishing, refined result of interrupting your sitting down time with a heavy gym session and continuing until you’re feeling happier and more positive with the reflection staring back at you.
But nobody ever talks about the in-between body confidence. The during body confidence.
Nobody ever talks about the trivial obstacles. The squeezing into your gym kit that just about fits, the over observant flaw picking that can set you back miles, the wobbly bits jiggling as you’re exerting yourself, the exhaustion, the aftermath of soreness, the long process in which you begin to notice a shift in appearance, and the glossy media that can instantly knock you right back as the ideal gets shoved down your throat at a speedy pace.
I’m starting to think both an extreme lack of self confidence and the inability to develop and stick to a fitness approach despite knowing full well I’ll feel better, fresher and more replenished if I just release those endorphins, is in my blood. I’ve been attempting to get back on track now for months and yet here I still am, sat in the same position, getting lost in anything but working out, and telling myself I’ll start tomorrow every day since June.
Now, I don’t think it’s necessary to achieve that great, prosperous feeling body confidence gives you by simply exercising, nor do I think you should force and push yourself if your head is elsewhere and your limbs just don’t seem to be moving. There’s more to life than relying on training yourself to the ground to gain that assertiveness but I think when you hit that balance between having faith in yourself that you can do this and actually being able to adapt that into your everyday schedule without thinking twice or being negatively influenced by those who deem perfect, you can adapt a whole new lease of life.
For me, it’s the getting started that’s the problem.
There’s many of times I’ve had a sudden burst of energy, told myself I’m ready to put this mojo to the test, and then I’ve spent an hour or so finding faults with myself, reducing myself to tears to the point I’m so uncomfortable with my body I can’t even view myself in this perspective, the perspective of working hard to get what you want.
I’m not skinny enough to be going out in public in this crop top and leggings.
My half bloated, half jelly belly is repulsive.
My stretch marks are on show.
My legs are too stumpy.
Why can’t I just have a fast metabolism.
I wish I looked like her.
It’s not even worth it.
I’ll never be able to reach a point where I’m trimmed and polished.
I’ll always be a fault finder.
It’s making no difference.
Exercise can be a motivator but it can also be a barrier. It can affect your self-esteem and body confidence before you even get started and it’s tough to find a harmonising place where you’re at ease with the choices you make and the anatomy you’re made up of.
It’s all well having those flat abs and toned thighs in mind, it’s easy to say you’ll never regret a workout and that exercise is definitely the way forward but to reach a point in acceptance before finding that inner enthusiasm is a challenge in itself. Saying something and taking that on board when you’re struggling are two completely different things!
Some factors do help, taking small steps into a steady routine, cooking up healthy recipes to go alongside your workouts, and finding that one piece of active-wear that you feel snug, slender, and most importantly foxy and powerful in (I find high street to be the best opposed to the sport brands tbh, the Jack Wills athleisure range mixing fashion and fitness being a perfect example of this) but ultimately it’s all about how we perceive the journey, how we propose exercise and how we embrace ourselves, our size, our shape, and our individual quirks.
You only have one body and no matter how much your self-awareness may stop you from welcoming that, I think the best conclusion is always that it’s best to live in a happy body.
So pose in the mirror, flex, and smile, find what you enjoy, approach exercise as a gift, not a chore. Think of it as nourishing movement that revives us, makes us feel better about who we are, brings pleasure and puts us in touch with our personal strengths and abilities.
These photos captured on a run in the middle of the woodlands on a busy campsite was a kick-start for me. I bit the bullet and I went for it, even with people around. It was chilly and I felt conscious but then I looked back afterwards and thought “actually, I really aren’t as bad as I like to make myself believe”.
No airbrushing. No retouching. No editing. No making my wide hips smaller or my waist more defined. Just me.
And it’s developing that agenda that naturally leads on to a healthier, kinder attitude towards our bodies and our minds. That’s where the confidence originates from.
*this post is in collaboration with Jack Wills but all words and self loving encouraging are my own.