Frances' story: how I think and feel about my body
Feeling comfortable in my own skin is something that I rarely feel but have learnt to allow myself to do.
How do you currently feel about your body image?
As I have got older I am very aware of the insecurities I used to hold when I was unwell and when they come into play now, meaning that I am able to not let them effect my day to day life or relationships. Instead I acknowledge them and remember that it’s just my mind playing tricks on me.
I think for me personally, I used to maybe struggle more than your average joe to feel comfortable in my own skin due to the anorexic part of my mind. An illness that thrives on playing on your insecurities means it can be in our second nature to think the worst of ourselves and see ourselves through anorexia’s rose tinted glasses.
Historically, how has your relationship been with your body image?
This feeling for me was fairly consistent when I was younger, only getting much much worse when I was in then full depths of my Anorexia. As I have gotten older, I am definitely more confident through training my body through my love of fitness. Fitness is a huge part of my life and is the key to allowing me to feel good about myself.
What factors have or do affect how you feel about your body image?
Time of the month! Haha. Social media is no good for anyone. But for me, I usually feel worse about my body image when I am going through a tough time e.g stress, relationship breaks downs, lack of exercise etc etc...
What pressures do you think there are to conform to a certain ‘look’ or body type?
I think there are huge pressures! Especially with the worlds obsession with instagram. Nothing we see on there is real, even the photos we take of ourselves we edit therefore we look at a version of ourselves that isn’t real. I think the pressures to conform to a certain look or body type are higher than ever before but there are positive people like myself and other influencers out there who are doing our best to guide people in the right direction and towards the truth.
What impact do you think that these pressures could have on people’s mental health?
I’m a prime example! It creates all sorts of pressures... anxiety, eating disorders, depression... the list goes on of how it can effect peoples mental health. People are being brainwashed in to feeling like their likes are invalid and they must want more...
Has the way you feel about your body image had any negative impact on your mood and way you feel?
It effected my life when I developed anorexia at the age of 15 which led me towards being two weeks away from dying.
What can we as individuals, and as a society, do to try and reduce these pressures?
Not conform! Remember that not everything you see on your phones is real. Everything is edited, cropped and airbrushed to perfection. Speaking up about how we feel and being honest about who we are helps others to not feel so alone. Jameela Jamil and her campaign @i_weigh is a fantastic example of what we should all be doing!
Practical tips to improve how you think and feel about your body
- If you see an advert in a magazine, on television, or online that you think presents an unhealthy body image as aspirational, you can complain to the Advertising Standards Authority.