Love the Skin You’re In – My Top Tip

Most women don’t appreciate how amazing their bodies are and they spend years dreaming of dropping dress sizes and toning up. “I’ll book a shoot when I reach my goal weight” is a frequent excuse that we hear and the pressure at this time of year to be bikini-ready can be overwhelming.

And I feel your pain…I also succumb to that internal self-critical voice that tells me I look fat / old / frumpy / ugly depending on my mood. I don’t have a magic wand – I’m still working on overcoming my own insecurities – but I am getting better at being kinder to myself. And some days it works!! Sometimes it actually lasts for a few weeks and I look in the mirror and I love what I see. Sometimes I even agree to be in front of the camera! I think self-acceptance and self-love is something that we all have to practice…and practice and practice again. It is a long process – but we have the rest of our lives to work on it 🙂

So here is my Top Tip to help you to start to love the skin you’re in and be kinder to yourself. This technique is what works for me. Start by being kinder to other people. I’m not talking about giving anyone your last Rolo (god forbid!). It’s more the internal dialogue you have with yourself when you are around other people or even watching TV. Catch yourself being judgemental or unkind. We all do it – when we see someone wearing something that we think doesn’t suit them or acting in a way that doesn’t conform to what we expect. But if you catch yourself judging other people and you challenge your negative thoughts it can have a positive effect. Try to be open-minded and see things from the other person’s point of view. Be compassionate and understanding and question why you are being antagonistic and turn those thoughts to kindness.

Here’s an example from my recent holiday. At the beach club one day two women were getting into the sea close to where we were sitting. One of them was a healthy size 20 but was wearing what I estimated was a size 14 bikini. It was very tight and was digging in and causing unflattering bulges. I judged her for not looking in the mirror and realising that she needed to buy a bigger bikini. But then I caught myself – what gives me the right to be critical of someone’s outfit choice? I then looked at the woman again and noticed the massive smile on her face and the way she launched herself into the sea with abandon and obvious joy. She was so un-self-conscious about her bikini-body – she laughed loudly and encouraged her friend to get into the sea.

I found myself smiling too and my judgemental brain clicked over into acceptance and then to admiration. This woman was so focussed on enjoying the moment of her first dip in the ocean that she really didn’t care about how tight her bikini was – she looked radiant and happy. Wasn’t that something to applaud rather than criticise? My critical brain wanted her to feel bad about her bikini being too small because it is one of MY biggest hang ups when planning my holiday wardrobe. I projected my own insecurities onto her.

Zena Bikini

I NEVER usually have pictures taken while wearing a bikini but the photographer on our boat trip took this without me knowing. I love it because I was obviously having such a lovely time I forgot to worry about my back fat rolls and cellulite ?

I forced myself to accept that wearing a too-tight bikini is not as bad as spoiling the enjoyment of a day at the beach by worrying about what other people think. I strived to be more like her for the rest of my holiday – I put my own enjoyment and comfort first – not caring that others may judge me for not being a size 10 or for having frizzy holiday hair and cellulite. I hope that if others saw me having fun with my frizzy hair, wobbly tummy and dimply thighs it helped them to be more self-accepting too!

Me in a moment of abandon at the beauty of the ocean – for once not caring whether my bum looks big in this.

It seems that freeing yourself from judging others can also lead to freedom from judging yourself. If you are stuck in a cycle of self-criticism, learning to how be compassionate to others is easier than learning how to silence your inner saboteur. I believe that being kind to other people is the first step to learning how to be kinder to YOU.

Do you have any techniques or advice on what works for you? I’d love to hear them – leave a comment.