A Lesson in Body Positivity [Guest Post by Zara]

A Lesson in Body Positivity [Guest Post by Zara]

This is the first guest post on my blog, and I am absolutely delighted that it’s been written by Zara from ZaraLouU. When it comes to positivity, this lady is an example to us all, and the first person who came to mind when I thought of the concept of Feel Good Friday. She’s someone I am happy to call my friend. Today, she’s tackling the subject of body positivity and I don’t want to give anything away, so all I’ll say is: everyone needs to read this.

If you need more Zara in your life (and I think you all probably do), make sure you follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Enjoy!


 

Isn’t positivity a beautiful word?  I mean, think about it.  Close your eyes and say the word positivity to yourself (go on, I dare you).

I bet a smile crept onto that gorgeous face of yours, didn’t it?

Yet, if I coupled it with the word ‘body’ some of you will find the smile fading.  Right?

Just why is that?

It’s tough living in today’s world.  It’s even worse when you’re a 5’ 3’’ overweight size 16 woman such as myself.  Every day, I’m subjected to magazine covers as I shop in stores with ‘LOOK AT THIS JELLY BELLY’ or ‘Oh no! Someone’s hit the biscuit tin again!’

Yet when I look at these people… they seem to look like they’re living their best life? I’m not getting this.  In fact, I don’t get it at all.

I will gladly admit I fed into this sham of a culture time and time again, hook, line and STINKER (not sinker because most diets stink… No literally, I’m not kidding). I did the ‘fasting’, I did the ‘Weight Watchers’, I did the laxative like coffees (and even at one point was an ambassador… never again) and even took slimming pills, which after having insane heart palpitations whilst working a shift one day… found out they weren’t entirely safe.

Dieting has wrecked my body, and guess what? I’m still that somehow negative descriptor word, ‘FAT’

Then came the ‘Body positive movement’

This movement has educated me (and still is) enormously.  This whole overview, insight, crashing down upon the system and stigmas that ‘fat is bad’ and ‘thin is good’ has been life-changing.  It’s also allowed me to accept that bodies are bodies!

#Saggyboobsmatter #Tigerstripes #effyourbeautystandards #bodyacceptance – all these amazing movements compiled of women and men learning to respect one another for being them.

And in turn? My journey of body confidence began to emerge, like a phoenix from the ashes baby.

So what’s the difference between posi and confidence?

Body Positivity (to me) is the acceptance of others and an appreciation for differing body types.  Be they tall, short, petite, slim, bony, curvy, jiggly, hairy, scarred, abled or disabled – you accept them and appreciate them all. Any race, colour, sex, sexuality, identity, religion included.  It is an all-inclusive package (sounds like an amazing holiday to me, sign me up!)

Body confidence is for oneself.  For a belief, respect and love for your own body and its journey, and it’s here where I’ll explore a little more.

I grew up in inner-city Birmingham. Life was good, as an innocent child would only see it that way. I was your little chubby, confident, happy soul.  I loved food, I lived for it, and I asked my mom repeatedly for food.

I was part of the ‘MOOOOM I’M HUNGRY’ squad.

Don’t offer me a banana, mom, only Skips will do!

The thing is, I can’t quite pinpoint where my emotional attachment to food came from.  I do however remember eating a lot of it.  My sight was poor, and still is; with a barely functioning right eye, I sat most days with my left eye hidden beneath a patch.  Those tortoiseshell brown spectacles made me look like Ronnie Corbett’s secret love child and the tag along asthma inhalers polished off the perfect ‘dweeb’ look.

Yet, I still smiled.

Doctors have always had their fair say on my body.  They’ve ranged from ‘It’s just puppy fat, it’ll melt away in a few years’ in regards to my fupa, to the extreme ‘I’m disgusted that as a mother you’ve allowed yourself to become so big, I wish I had scales in the room so I could take your weight’

I wished I had reported this bigot.

And yet! I still smile.

I’m not going away, my laugh (as loud as it is) isn’t going away, my body and all 15 stone of it is. Not. Going. Away!

So, instead of fighting against myself, I work with myself.  Of course, I do have dreams to lose some weight, but it doesn’t define me and nor should it you too.  The thing is, it’s like a flower.  A flower ideally needs to bloom, attract bees, and of course continue its cycle of pollination with the bees, yadda yadda – It needs to be loud and proud!

To get there, it needs to do some things first.  It needs to feed itself, hydrate itself, get into those ‘sunshiney’ rays of goodness.  To help it more, it becomes louder with its choir, or should I say cheerleaders, snuggled in with some gorgeous bright friends, sharing this food, drink, sunshine… see where I’m going with this?

Loving yourself doesn’t come from a diet pill filled with crap that may end you up in A&E.  It doesn’t come from a magazine telling you how to be their drone, baby – it comes from you.  It comes from within you, and it grows, blossoming, blooming upward and outward for all to see, hear, feel and vibe…

If there’s something I am learning on this road, it’s that, when you begin to invest in yourself good things come your way.  This doesn’t necessarily mean like, ‘oh sheet if I say I love you to my stomach I’m going to win the lotto tomorrow bab!’

But,

When you execute a positive mantra to yourself, projecting more on the positives rather than the negatives – and trust me, I’ll admit it isn’t easy – you find that you attract good souls too.  Negativity can be a poison that runs coarse through the veins, if that gets into your flower, it’s going to wilt… You are deserved of love, you are allowed to appreciate and love yourself despite what the media conforms insist is ‘right’.

A bikini body doesn’t always have to consist of a thigh gap that can feel the breeze tickle it, it can be met with mermaid thighs too! A bikini doesn’t have to have bazooka sized, gravity-defying boobies thrown into it, hey, smaller beautiful boobies, GET IN THAT BIKINI TOO!

And guess what? Each one of those bodies described in the above paragraph, They’re all acceptable! They are all beautiful, enhanced or not.

You have waited long enough for the moment where you can look at yourself and say ‘I am beautiful’, you can promise yourself that ‘when you get to that ideal weight it will come’ – and hey, that’s perfectly fine.  However, understand that your body got you to where you are today.  It got you through childhood, those rough and tough teen years, it may have gotten you through college, University, renting your first place, buying your first home, your first job (oh those feet, how they ached!) babies and much more.  Appreciate this vessel you reside in, love and appreciate the warrior-like things it has done, for it has walked a path like no other.  And, it’s always worthy of the love it requires to carry on.

Whilst this whole vibe of self-love is much more than a bath bomb and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, feel free tonight to give yourself some damned good loving and respect.  There’s only 1 of you on this planet, bloom beautiful, let your petals tell your story and your scent linger on forever, in this now newly, positive, radiant world that you can explore.

You are amazing.

A lesson in body positivity


Interested in guest posting? Find all of the details here.

30 Comments

  1. 3rd August 2018 / 11:11 am

    This post is fabulous and just what I needed to read today! You are an absolute ray of sunshine and a wonderful writer! Excellent piece, Zara; and thank you so much for sharing this, Ruth! x

    • 3rd August 2018 / 1:36 pm

      Aw Jessica thank you so so much! We all deserve a ray of light in our day! X

  2. 3rd August 2018 / 11:33 am

    I loved every second of writing this! Thank you so much Ruth!
    Happy POSITIVE FRIDAY ALL!

  3. 3rd August 2018 / 11:48 am

    This is an absolutely perfect post for Feel Good Friday! Thank you so much Zara for your wise words and thank you to Ruth for sharing them. This is such a positive and uplifting message that everyone should read. Like you say, there is only one of us on this planet, we should love & appreciate ourselves, whatever our size and shape. Beautifully written and thank you for spreading the positivity 💖 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    • 5th August 2018 / 9:47 pm

      Whatever size in whatever weather we deserve love! Thank you for reading Bexa and I’m so glad you enjoyed it! X

    • 5th August 2018 / 9:48 pm

      Thank you so so much babe!!!

  4. 3rd August 2018 / 3:10 pm

    Such a positive post! Wish there were more people in the world like you Zara x

    • 5th August 2018 / 9:48 pm

      Awww darlin thank you!! We’re all magical in our own special way 😉💖

  5. 3rd August 2018 / 6:26 pm

    This is a brilliantly written post with a message of positivity for us all, thanks Zara and thanks Ruth for sharing 🙂

    • 5th August 2018 / 9:50 pm

      Thank you Fiona! Posivibes for us all! 🌈

    • 5th August 2018 / 9:51 pm

      AND SO ARE YOU! Thank you! X

  6. 3rd August 2018 / 11:48 pm

    I cried after reading this amazing post. Thank you Zara for writing and Ruth for sharing. It’s absolutely beautiful! Zara, it’s like you could see how I have feeling and wrote it especially for me! You are a woman living her real, authentic life but sharing it for us all and it’s truly inspirational. Both of you remind me of this quote from Bob Marley: “The greatness of a man is not how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”
    Thank you so much for sharing ♥️

    • 5th August 2018 / 9:53 pm

      That quote is gorgeous, I’m glad it resonated deeply (even if tears were shed!) but it’s nice to know that you acknowledge that you are deserved of knowing the true beauty you hold. Whilst it’s so so easy to lash out with hatred towards ourselves, showing that tiny bit of love creates ripples that turn into waves. So you, my gorgeous lil’ Thang, make sure you send love to yourself. Even if it starts with just your thumb, send love and acknowledgement that you indeed hold beauty in your body. Because, you do 💖

  7. 5th August 2018 / 3:04 pm

    This is an amazing post! As someone who has struggled with confidence, in particular with my body and my appearance, this post really spoke to me. I needed to hear this. Thank you both for sharing this! 💜

    • 5th August 2018 / 10:00 pm

      Firstly thank you so so much for taking time to read! Secondly I’m glad it helped somewhat! Make sure you take some time to try ignore the negative nancy trying to pick on you inside your mind. Take a moment to breathe and list 3 things you love or are grateful that your body can do. So mine would be,
      I love my eyes.
      My stomach bares the marks of strength and love from carrying my babies.
      My tiny hands allow me to touch the ones I love daily.

      Start off slow and soon you’ll notice that you can increase on the love you send to your body. You deserve to love and be loved. You deserve to smile, feel happiness and a calming sensation of feeling ‘at peace’

      You are beautiful in every which way gorgeous. You are ❤️🌈

  8. 6th August 2018 / 1:47 pm

    Hi, I’d like to make an appointment with the doctor who made that horrible comment so I can go punch her/him/it in the face.

    A wonderful piece of writing.

    Jigglies unite!

    • 8th August 2018 / 3:19 pm

      This made me giggle AND jiggle!
      Oddly enough I’ve not seen him since that appointment 🤔
      Can I get a hashtag karma up in here please?

    • 8th August 2018 / 3:19 pm

      This made me giggle AND jiggle!
      Oddly enough I’ve not seen him since that appointment 🤔
      Can I get a hashtag karma up in here please?

  9. 8th August 2018 / 6:46 am

    This is a wonderful piece of writing. A must read for everyone struggling with self confidence issues. X

    • 8th August 2018 / 3:20 pm

      Oh thank you so so much jo 😭❤️

  10. 9th August 2018 / 10:37 am

    I’m 5ft 7 and size 22/24 and becoming comfortable with my body has taken me my whole life and I’m still learning. Mum had me on fad diets and slim fast from the age of 9 and so my relationship with food was skewed from this but 8/9months ago I thought to myself “dude I’ve been an adult for 10 years now and havent lived with my mum for half this time so if I haven’t taken steps to love myself, my diet and body by mow I cant reallt blame her anymore.”
    It sounds like we’re on a similar journey when you said “Of course, I do have dreams to lose some weight, but it doesn’t define me and nor should it you too.” it really spoke to me, 2 people at work are on diets (on slimming world one weight watchers) and they are always trying to get me to go but I tell them I am happy, I may have only only 13 pounds in 8months compared to their 2 & 3 stones but I am happy with my body and proud of my body I am not chasing numbers I am working on my relationship with food rather than a hate of my body. I always end by saying “I spent 27 years hating my body I’m going to give loving it a go now.” and this has been the only constant I have had in my mental health journey this year when my mind feels like its failing me I am still so proud of my body.
    You are so inspiring I feel like you could just say one sentence and I’d straight away feel like I could do whatever you asked me to without doubting myself

  11. 12th August 2018 / 10:59 am

    Amazing post Zara – so well said! Thanks for sharing Ruth! x

  12. 13th August 2018 / 9:05 pm

    This is such a refreshing perspective and one that we don’t hear often enough. I’m from a slightly different perspective in that for most of my adult life I have been drastically underweight, but body confidence and positivity still applies.

    Thank you for sharing this, Ruth and Zara!

    https://whatabigailsays.co.uk/

  13. 17th September 2018 / 3:38 am

    This was absolutely a great read! Im overweight because of an invisible disease Congestive Heart Failure. Unfortunately weight loss , diet, and watching the scale are a regular regime for my life because of it! The weight is just putting too much pressure on my heart already supported by a pacemaker. Any suggestions on dealing with this and maintaining that Body Positivity Personally?

    • 23rd September 2018 / 10:58 am

      Hey Valerie doll!
      Firstly, gosh I’m sorry you’re in such a tough predicament!
      I think, it’s more about listening to you, and by you – I mean your body signals and stories it’s trying to tell you. It’s been through a ride and I’ll quote a little Paul McKenna here “when you try to ignore your body, your body attacks back by telling you it doesn’t like being ignored.”
      With that in mind, definitely look into mindful eating as opposed to straining yourself or using tougher diets that are out there. Eating when you’re genuinely hungry, drinking plenty of fluids, moving as much as allowed and how much your heart can take (so no over exertion!) and of course stopping when you feel full (not when the plate is cleared) may be first steps in helping the physical side in coping with the weight loss you need and desire.
      For you mentally, you need to acknowledge and understand that your body travelled an arduous journey – but you’re still here. You have battled and won already, waking up daily and inhaling fresh and beautiful air. Every little thing you do is an accomplishment, and know this! Combing your hair? Goal done. Brushing your teeth? WERK that self care darlin! Your body has trundled through things that are tough! Give it thanks for being the strong asf vessel that it is! And maybe concentrate on focussing thanks on a differing area daily! Even if it’s your natural nail shape!
      “Thanks nails, for looking so pretty with and without polish on”
      It all counts 😉

  14. 28th September 2018 / 4:51 pm

    I’m so glad to have stumbled across this old post – on a day when I needed it most! It is such a shame that we allow ourselves to be so critical of ourselves, instead of accepting we are all beautiful in our own ways. Thanks for this – especially welcome on this #feelgoodfriday at the end of #selfcareseptember!
    Joan
    My Best Friend Adeline
    http://kindness-compassion-and-coaching.com

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