There is something I want to talk about with you and it is so personal, nobody knows about it except Serj (my husband and partner in crime). While I base most of my media on my looks, I still remain extremely insecure about myself. Today I am trying to build a strong and loving relationship with my body and mind, so this feels like the right time to share some of my tips on how I fight my body confidence issues.
WHEN I WAS 16
I don't think I have ever been fully confident about my body throughout my life. I've had ups and downs with extreme weight loss, eating disorders and weight gains throughout the last 15 years.
I was extremely thin during the last few years of school because I started to really care about my weight and thought that being thin was the only way to become successful. I went on harsh diets by cutting my meals in half and trying to avoid lots of foods. I started running every evening, I prescribed myself with green tea pills and it resulted in rushing to toilets three times a day because of runny poop (oh, God, why is that so embarrassing still?!). Nobody knew I was doing that, but it worked and I seemed happy.
I lost my weight to 47 kilos, I fitted into the smallest sizes and all the dresses looked so flattering on me. Being slim was my hobby and nobody could stop me from doing that. Only after I finished school I realised there was something wrong with this kind of lifestyle and it didn't bring me happiness anymore.
GROWING UP AND DAMAGING MY HEALTH PERMANENTLY
I've spent the next six years in a search of myself and dealing with obsessive drinking, partying and smoking. From being obsessed with how I looked I turned into a complete stranger to my body and started destroying my health so intensively I ended up in a wrong company and that resulted in a permanent health damage I am still recovering from (I will talk about this in a different article one day).
So there was this destructive time of endless concerts, too much beer, and too many cigarettes, and it never did any good to my body. I gained back my 10 kilos and even more, but funny enough, I didn't feel bad about how I looked! I didn't care and I was happy! I spent my life hanging around people and making out with some of them, so that boosted my self-esteem a lot and kept me pretty occupied.
GETTING BACK TO NORMAL AND BECOMING A MOM
At the age of about 23, I got back to my normal weight and shape, got into a bad relationship, but quit smoking very soon (can you imagine I was still smoking!) and started to do something more or less thoughtful with my life. Then I met Serj (life finally blessed me with a decent man) and we got married, moved out living abroad and I got pregnant.
My pregnancy was pretty normal and I was feeling very well most of the time. Worked hard on projects, doing photography, and traveled a lot up to the last month. Then I got really swollen and heavy, developed an enormous appetite and felt like I was carrying two sacks of potatoes on me all the time. I never felt ugly and unwanted during my pregnancy though. I clearly understood I wasn't in my best shape, but it didn't bother me to the point when I would feel depressed. With all that excitement for the upcoming baby, I didn't want to focus on how I looked, but more on how I felt. It was one of the hardest projects of my life and I am really proud my girl will be three next spring!
When I gave birth to Mira, a few weeks passed and it clicked again. I wasn't happy with how I looked. Still swollen with "baby-fat", dealing with hormone bursts, I had a lack of sleep, a lack of power, and a huge lack of self-confidence. If not for Serj, I wouldn't know how I would deal with it all. But those times have also passed and I've lost my weight to the comfortable 52-kilo mark.
Of course, the skin on my stomach will never be as tight as it used to be before, my boobs will never look as good as they did before. And I am a bit sad about it, but it was really worth it. I see my child jumping around, talking, and annoying me (oh, she has a tuff character!) every day and I love her with all my heart, more than myself and my life. So if the saggy skin is the price I have to pay for being a happy mother, then it is.
WHAT IS GOING ON NOW
Now I'm at the point when I'm still struggling with the remains of those health issues I countered with ten years ago. It is stressful and annoying, yet there is another very stressful thing now and it is my body.
I gained a few more kilos recently and it stresses me out a lot, though this is the consequence of me just eating more and moving less (which will be fixed very soon as I will have a lot of travels and work coming in the next few months)
The only reason for describing my whole life experience and relationship with my body is to show you that there is actually no ideal shape and size of the body that can make you happy. And there is no perfect formula to look good as well. There is a lot behind a fit and neat look and that is a strict diet, daily workout and much more buzz behind the scenes that you might never know about (something like those green tea pills, for e.g.).
HOW TO DEAL WITH THE LACK OF BODY CONFIDENCE
Before you start punishing yourself by cutting on meals and exhausting yourself in a gym, you will need to develop a good relationship with your body. Here are some of my tips on how to build up your self-confidence in a right way:
- Stop comparing yourself with anyone on social media/magazines. They are different people, they have a different life, conditions and digestive system. You will be amazed by knowing how many people are simply blessed with a perfect body and can eat all they want without exercising while staying slim.
- Find your style and choose the right cuts for your body shape. Look, it's not 1920s and there are millions of trends nowadays, so it's fairly easy to find your style in such a variety of different brands. Don't fall for everything you are offered through, choose wisely considering your body shape, skin tone (warm/cold) and the colours that compliment you the best.
- Don't try fitting into standards. Everybody is different, so love yourself just the way you are. And remember that being successful doesn't mean looking anything like others. Instead become an individual and people will fall for that immediately.
- Fall in love with yourself. This way you won't punish yourself with exercises, but instead, treat your body the way it deserves. You have enough stress in life to make it even worse inside of your mind.
- Build up your charisma. People usually fall for confident people because they don't want to deal with problems of others, but instead, prefer to get inspired and involved in a strong aura and charisma of another person. Fit doesn't mean confident and if you have some issues with yourself, many will see that clearly. And there is a psychological thing that if you will be happy and sure about anything in your life, others will be less likely to doubt it.
- Don't do fillers, botox or plastic surgeries. Body modifications won't make you happy, it all comes from inside, remember? Be like French women, age with dignity, because you are beautiful no matter of age, race, and shape. All of those cosmetic interventions bring you closer to a common standard and will never help you to fight your insecurities.
- Be you. Show people what your talent is, show them your style, read books, hold interesting conversations. Being successful is not about looks at all. Don't copy anyone and don't try to act like someone else. Bring something useful to others, share your experiences and knowledge.
- Embrace your good qualities and work on your flaws (or learn to accept them). I will not explain more. This sentence should be your mantra every time you wake up. Life is fun, adventurous and very short. Don't spend it on hating yourself.
Confidence is obviously not about weight and size, it comes straight from your head, creating what is called a charisma.