We all indulge at Christmastime. With boxes of chocolates and mince pies in constant circulation at the office, drinks parties every night and lavish lunches par for the course, it’s arguably the most delicious time of the year.
But it’s also the busiest period for social engagements, with many of us dusting off our party gladrags after months hiding away at the back of our wardrobes.
Unfortunately, this often leads to feeling, well, a bit rubbish about your body when the dress you used to fit into is a bit too tight to do up.
Amongst all the enjoyment of delicious food, we often beat ourselves up about having that extra roast potato, thinking we look and feel “fat”, and that our bodies getting bigger is a bad thing.
But these negative thoughts don’t do us any good and can significantly tarnish the festive season for many people.
So what can we do? In a world where social media, magazines and films are full of images of “perfect” bodies, learning to love your body as it is can be hard. But there are ways to make progress.
Health and eating psychology coach Mel Wells shares her top tips for feeling good about your body at Christmastime.
How to love your body:
1. Wear clothes that actually fit you
“Throw out all the items you have held onto that are smaller sizes for ‘one day’,” Wells advises. “When you hold onto these items in your wardrobe or try to squeeze your body into them, you will always feel uncomfortable.”
Stop trying to change your body to fit the dress - change the dress to fit your body. When you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing, you’ll feel more relaxed and naturally feel more confident.
2. Forgive yourself
“You are not a problem, you are not broken, you do not need fixing,” says Wells. “If you do desire to change your body, you must love and accept your body as it is right now first.”
So instead of trying to change your body from a place of hate and punishment, speak to your body in a positive way and make loving choices for your body.
“Instead of hating yourself thin, choose to love yourself healthy,” Wells advises. “When you are empowered by the choices you are making for your body, confidence will ooze out of you.”
3. Be naked by yourself more often
“Spend time naked by yourself, walking round the house naked, cooking naked, doing the dishes naked, ironing naked, watching TV naked,” Wells says. The more time you spend naked and intimate with yourself, the more your confidence will grow.
4. Realise that you are not your body, you are your soul
True body confidence comes from inner confidence in oneself.
“Instead of focusing all your attention on the mirror, realise all your qualities as a human being,” says Wells. “Celebrate who you are as a person, rather than putting all the emphasis on your reflection in the mirror or a dress size.”
5. Unfollow accounts on social media that make you feel like you’re not enough
There are a lot of influencers on social media with seemingly perfect bodies and lives to match, but you don’t need to follow them if they make you feel bad about your body.
“Treat your newsfeed like your friends’ circle - only invite people in that lift you up and bring positivity, joy and empowerment to your life,” Wells advises.
“Instead of shaming yourself by following fitness models, follow people who are body positive and practice self-love.”
6. Throw out your scale
“This is absolutely key if you want to be confident in your body,” Wells says. “For every time you use the scale to judge yourself, you are validating yourself with a piece of metal on the floor. You are so much more than a number.”
She says we should celebrate our accomplishments and positive qualities like kindness and we shouldn’t let a number dictate our happiness or define us. Being healthy is important of course, but a scale is not the best way to measure health.
7. Realise for yourself that happiness doesn’t come with a number or a dress size.
Losing two stone may make you more ‘socially acceptable’ on the surface level for a short while, but it won’t necessarily make you love yourself any more.
“When you stop chasing numbers and start practicing self-love at any size, you will find true happiness and fulfilment for life,” explains Wells. Self-love is not a destination, but a journey and a practice.
“Commit to being kinder to your body. Ask yourself with every decision: ‘What would someone who loves themselves do?’” They’d enjoy the mince pie and not feel bad about it afterwards.
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