Mental Health Awareness and Body Image

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme for this year is Body Image asking us how we think and feel about our bodies using the hashtag #bebodykind.

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The Mental Health Foundation have many resources on their website and for the theme this year they quote:

‘Having body image concerns is a relatively common experience and is not a mental health problem in and of itself; however, it can be a risk factor for mental health problems.’

They have included some statistics around the topic also that note:

  • 1 in 5 adults have felt shame because of their body image in the last year
  • Over a third of adults in the UK have felt anxious or depressed because of concerns over their body image
  • 1 in 5 UK adults have said images on social media have caused them to worry about their body image

First of all I want to say I love any initiative to increase awareness around mental health but lets remember that for those that suffer from any form of mental illness this is life for them that they live with that struggle every day.  So lets open the door for discussion but ensure we continue the momentum after this week.

I would also like to note that I do not personally suffer from mental health issues and so will not claim to be an expert in any way, however, some of the closest people to me in my life do and I can see first hand on a daily basis how different areas of mental health affect people.  I wrote a blog last year on this very subject that you can read here.

So my blog is called Fat Girl Fit and it is not intended as an offensive name but yes I am aware I am not the same size as the models in the magazine and yes I have cried about my body and the parts I hate but that no that does not stop me from doing my thing with a smile on my face.

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My blog started when I was on a fitness and weight loss journey and I will admit I was in a routine where I would post on a weekly basis as an update with what weight I had lost on my ‘weigh in Monday’.  This soon turned into something that was quite toxic and left me feeling terrible about myself.  I also soon realised that was not what my blog was about and instead I turned my focus to being a healthier and happier me.  I wrote a blog post on that change that you can read here.

I can’t claim that I don’t still get people look me up and down when I say what crazy event I have planned next but you know what that says more about them than it does about me.  It has taken me a long time not to let those glances upset me.

And also lets be real here I do still want to lose more weight and that doesn’t make me a terrible person either.  There is so much ‘be body positive’ talk and I am completely on board with that but there is also nothing wrong if you want to lose some weight either.  There is nothing wrong with having a moan about that god awful event photo, because lets face it they are mostly unflattering, but then take a step back and think wow my body helped me achieve that goal.

Yes you have a bikini body now – you have a body put it in a bikini and voila!  But you want to be fitter and healthier then so be it – don’t apologise for that either but just do it because you want it and not because of what you believe you should do because you are told so from society.

My new strapline to my blog at the end of last year changed to read ‘be fearlously unapologetically you’ and I have learned that my body is fierce and strong.  So a shout out to all those who have been on the same journey and are learning that after a lifetime of believing that losing weight was all they had to offer the world that they were so wrong and they are worth more than that number on the scales, because your weight is not your worth!

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F*ck perfection!  Embrace the body you have and all its imperfections and remember that fit isn’t a size, its a feeling so continue to do you and smile whilst you do it, giving a big cheery middle finger to all those that think you don’t fit the mould, the stereotype, the people we see in the glossy magazines.  Because I am sure they are air brushed to hell!  I am also sure they have their own insecurities too that they are also dealing with.  That old saying about being kind because you don’t know what battles others are fighting.

Think about what impression you are leaving on future generations as they grow up influenced by those around them.  They should grow up with a healthy relationship to food and their bodies.

There was actually a song last year by Little Mix and I love the lyrics:

Take off all my make-up ’cause I love what’s under it
Rub off all your words, don’t give a, “uh”, I’m over it
Jiggle all this weight, yeah, you know I love all of this
Finally love me naked, sexiest when I’m confident
You say I ain’t pretty
Well, I say, “I’m beautiful”, it’s my committee
If you got little boobs, love it
If you got a big ass, grab it
If you got nothing big, rock it
It’s your life, go get it, if you want it

So repeat after me – I am an absolute f*cking babe and projections from others will not define me!

And if you want the cake then bloody well eat it – life is too short!

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#bebodykind

 

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