There’s more than one way to love the skin you’re in


Scrolling through your social media feeds, it’s likely that you’ll see your favourite celeb or influencer showing off their lean figure, often in a bikini or skimpy clothes. While most of us know the truth of Instagram versus reality, studies show that up to

91 per cent of women are unhappy with their bodies. Although this figure is startling, it hardly feels surprising.

“Every day, through marketing and social media, we are bombarded with images of one particular body type,” says Kate Kraschnefs­ki, head of training at the Australian Institute of Fitness. “Unfortunat­ely, this can make us feel like that particular body is the one of most worth and what we should all aspire to attain.”

Not only is there a focus on how bodies should look, there’s often a lack of diversity that can lead to us feeling like we fall short.

“This lack of diversity means a lot of women can’t help but feel less of themselves when compared against the perceived expectatio­n society has on beauty, and how they should look and even act,” explains Kraschnefs­ki.


In response to this beauty ideal, the body positivity movement was born. It aimed to promote acceptance of all bodies, regardless of size or shape. However, of late, the movement has received some criticism for placing too much emphasis on physical attractive­ness in general.

“While the aim of the body positive (BoPo) movement is great, its message can sometimes be overly simplified. A lot of people think it’s just about loving how you look, regardless of how you look,” says Kraschnefs­ki.

“While that’s a part of it, its essence is about trying to get us to know that our worth is so much more than our external appearance, to go deeper and love, respect and nourish our bodies on every level.”

This has given way to a new movement known as body neutrality, which aims to view yourself without any connotatio­ns to beauty or attractive­ness. The focus instead is appreciati­ng your body for what it can do.

“Imagine just not thinking about your body. You’re not hating it. You’re not loving it. You’re just a floating head,” self-love advocate Jameela Jamil explains.


It can also be unrealisti­c to believe that you are going to love the way you look day in, day out. And it might leave you feeling dishearten­ed if you’re having an off day.

“It’s probably a reach for people to wake up one day and look in the mirror and tell themselves how fabulous they are. And that’s OK,” explains Kraschnefs­ki.

You don’t have to love the way your thighs look every day. Instead, aim to love what your legs do for you, regardless of their appearance.

“Start finding a few moments each day to take in some deep breaths, centre and connect in your body. After that, try simple

expression­s of gratitude, such as, ‘Thank you legs for moving me around each day! Thank you lungs for breathing in sweet oxygen!’ This practice should kick off a positive momentum towards enhanced self-love,” says Kraschnefs­ki.


Accepting your body for the way it is might not happen overnight. Instead, understand that this is a task that requires patience and compassion.

Kraschnefs­ki recommends beginning your journey by turning attention inwards.

“Start increasing your awareness of your self-talk and observatio­ns around your body,” she says.“Many of us, almost unconsciou­sly, can say some pretty awful things about ourselves without realising.”

Once you begin to notice the way you speak to yourself, create alternativ­e, empowering mantras to use when your self-talk isn’t compassion­ate.

“For example, you may look in the mirror and make a negative comment about your weight. Rather than that, simply state,

‘I am grateful for my body today,’” Kraschnefs­ki says.

A social media audit can also help. “Next time you are scrolling, really feel the reactions you have to the images you see,” she adds. “If you are feeling anything less than awesome about yourself, respectful­ly unfollow or set some healthy boundaries around your time on social media.”


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