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Body Image: The mirror, the photographs and your head

big vurvy butt

Yep, that’s right.  I’m going to try and tackle the monumental topic that is “Body Image”.  Call me crazy, but here goes nothing.

One of the main reasons for trying to discuss this topic is because a few weeks ago, I had a few strange experiences with photographs.  Let me explain…

At the beginning of September, I dragged myself out of a Winter slump and embarked on a 3 day juice cleanse.  Since the cleanse I have been following (albeit not strictly) Nutritional Guides designed for my clients by Kelly Scholtz.  I’ve even upped my water intake which is a constant challenge for me.  In a nutshell, I’ve been feeling frikken amazing physically, getting compliments left right and centre on how “well” I look and generally walking around with a really positive outlook and “feeling good” vibe.

So what was the issue you ask?  Well, sweet sweet human, the issue was that every time I saw a photograph of myself that showed more than my face, I wanted to melt into a puddle of nothingness and just disappear.  Why?  Because for some stuffed up reason, my brain was processing “you’re so fat!” as the feedback!

Back in reality…

I am a 28 year old woman, 163cm in height, 62kg’s in weight and a perfectly normal body fat percentage of 23%.

Taking a full-length photo of myself like a weirdo! #selfie

It was driving me insane!  How could I be feeling SO good, but then when I saw an image of myself, want to shrivel up into a corner, hang up my Dance, Personal Trainer and Pilates qualifications and call it a day?

What I’ve subsequently realised is that I WAS THE ONLY ONE who felt this way about the images.  Just me.  No one else.

In all honesty, I think what was going on was that I’d been doing all this great nourishing of my body by fuelling it with nutritious food, hydrating it well and moving it intelligently so I was physically feeling great but what I had forgotten to do was nourish my brain by eliminating old thought patterns and ignoring conventional beauty standards… which let’s be honest, are unrealistic.

*Light-bulb-moment*

This is a case in point of how responsible the whole psychological aspect of Body Image in fact is!  You can’t just fix one thing and expect to find balance.  You need to have a few support systems in place in order to find acceptance and your happy medium.

If you have found yourself looking at images of yourself (or in the mirror) and associating what you think you look like with negative thoughts or you suffer from an eating disorder (click here for more info on eating disorders) here are some helpful tips I’ve found for beginning to improve your body image (I suggest you print this out and read it daily, almost like you would an affirmation):

10 steps to positive body image

I’d prefer not to waffle on at this point, because this is such a monstrous topic and I acknowledge that I haven’t touched on a fraction of what could be discussed.  I always try to aim for a positive outlook and outcome so I won’t go into the deep dark depths of this monster.

Just be Yourself

I think it is important to remain grateful for the things that you have when it comes to moments like I’ve experienced recently… when your self-esteem plummets… driven purely from negative perceptions of oneself.  I had to pick myself up from the melted puddle of nothingness and remind myself of how stupidly lucky I am in this life to have an able and healthy body and mind!

I’ve also realised through all this (and I believe this is hugely important) that we have to ask ourselves for more.

We have to ask ourselves to love ourselves more.  

We have to ask ourselves to be kinder to ourselves.  

We have to ask ourselves to be a little more greedy for success (and success means something different for each of us).  

We have to ask ourselves for more…  I hope that makes sense?

So, in the weeks that have followed, if I’ve seen a photograph of myself I’ve armed myself with these two tools before I’ve let self-judgement cloud my brain:

  1. Remain grateful
  2. Ask myself for more love / kindness / success

I challenge you to use these tools the next time you find your self-love slipping, self-criticism building and a puddle of nothingness forming.

be your own def

With Love

L

8 Responses to "Body Image: The mirror, the photographs and your head"

  • Natalie Leicher
    October 22, 2014 - 11:36 am Reply

    Thank you Leilah really needed to read this. Have been struggling and your post really makes a lot of things and I am going to make an effort to look at myself in a more kinder way!

    • Leilah Kirsten
      October 22, 2014 - 11:47 am Reply

      It’s such a pleasure Natalie. I’m glad you found it useful. Keep the tools in mind, they’ve worked for me so far. xxx #wearehumanafterall

  • Kelly
    October 22, 2014 - 11:39 am Reply

    I especially loved this blog post! Thank you Leilah. x

    • Leilah Kirsten
      October 22, 2014 - 11:43 am Reply

      Absolute pleasure Kel! xxx

  • Claire
    October 22, 2014 - 1:09 pm Reply

    A tricky topic to tackle indeed! Thanks for treating it so humbly and so delicately. Great post X

  • Shannon
    October 22, 2014 - 1:30 pm Reply

    Wow I needed to read this today Leilah! Everyone has been telling me how they “can’t believe how quickly I’ve got my body back” after my pregnancy and everytime I hear it I want to puke as I’m so upset as to what my tummy actually looks like! “Appreciate all that your body can do” was a great reminder that I need to be more grateful for what I have instead of being so nitty gritty about a stretch mark or fat roll here and there! Thank you!

  • Hannah Deall
    October 24, 2014 - 7:25 am Reply

    I have always thought of you as an incredibly beautiful girl. Now, even more so xx

  • Kelly Scholtz
    October 24, 2014 - 4:23 pm Reply

    Thank you for your honesty Leilah – it’s incredibly helpful for people to hear this stuff. For the record though, one of the (many) reasons why I love training with you is your beautiful body…not because it’s skinny and “perfect”, but because it’s strong and flexible and feminine, and it’s inspiring!! If it stays exactly the same and you take good care of it, that is kinda perfect actually 🙂 and you’re setting a wonderful example. xxx

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