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Dealing with low motivation and self esteem – an honest account

Hey guys,

It’s been a while since my last blog post but I have been so busy recently and haven’t had the time to properly sit down and dedicate the time that this blog deserves. I never want to write half hearted posts for the sake of writing them which sound like they have been written in about 10 minutes. I am such a perfectionist and that definitely wouldn’t sit well with me!

The topic of today’s blog I feel is really important and something which a lot of people don’t talk about enough. I have always felt like I am second best to everyone around me. Not in the sense of being ignored or not being put first, but in terms of how I look and feel. I am surrounded by beautiful friends and family and without them I truly would be nothing, but it’s sometimes hard too when being surrounded by such amazing people. I have always been on the larger side when it comes to my weight. It’s something I’ve always battled with and probably always will. It’s something which never used to bother me because half the time I would be too busy to even notice how much weight I was putting on. It’s only recently that I started to notice the effects that this was having on me. I could barely walk up the stairs without getting out of breath, I was tired ALL the time (although part of that is to do with suspected anaemia), and I just felt rubbish in general.

Being surrounded by people who have figures I would DIE for made me very insecure and I started to find myself becoming slowly more and more insecure to the point where I’d just break down and cry over it for no reason. This was no one’s fault, and by no means am I shaming anyone, it’s just my own insecurities that got in the way.

After many long chats with my mum and re-evaluating how I had been feeling, I decided enough was enough and I needed to do something about the way I felt. I decided to start going to the gym in January of this year and I was finding it so tough to begin with. I could barely lift any weights, I could run for about 10 seconds on the treadmill and I couldn’t even manage a couple of minutes on the cross-trainer. I started to feel my frustration coming back. I was annoyed I couldn’t complete anything to the level I wanted to and it was really getting me down. Many times over the first couple of weeks of going to the gym I wanted to give up. I told myself I was never going to improve and the whole idea of getting fit was hopeless.

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I realised after I had been to the gym some weeks later that I was gaining strength, slowly but surely I was managing to lift heavier weights and go for longer on the cardio type machines. I remember when I managed to get to half an hour on the cross-trainer I snapchatted a lot of my friends and messaged my mum like “I did it!!”, because I had promised myself and her that I was going to work up to half an hour, even if it took me a while. I left the gym that day feeling revitalised, I had restored faith in myself and my ability and decided I couldn’t give up. These changes meant that I was improving my fitness levels and it was giving me the motivation I needed at that time. I realised I couldn’t stop because I needed this for ME.

I’m such a worrier and over-thinker and everyone around me knows I care way too much about what other people think. I have, at times, thought way too much into situations that I have ended up crying or turning off my phone for the day just to avoid talking to anyone. I admit this isn’t the healthiest way of dealing with stuff like that but hey we all have our own ways of dealing with situations. I got too caught up in what I looked like and how much I hated it rather than thinking about how I could change my body. All I noticed were my stretch marks, my double chin, my big thighs and my big stomach. This really used to affect me to the point I didn’t want to do anything or go out because I was so ashamed of how I looked. But then I decided enough was enough and realised if I didn’t make changes soon it could potentially have a really detrimental impact on me.

Every time I used to walk into the gym (and still now) I used to think that everyone was staring at me, and when I was doing my workouts I used to look around to see how many people were looking at me. Of course, no one was really looking, they were all getting on with their own workouts. But for someone like me who is very insecure, the gym is a scary place. You see all the muscly men who have rippling abs and the women who are so toned it made me look like a ball of dough waddling through the gym. This made me really insecure once again and I found myself losing motivation slowly. I’d make excuses to myself as to why I couldn’t go and this was then getting me down because I felt rubbish when I didn’t go. It felt like a lose-lose battle and there was no way out. My own thoughts were once again getting in the way and I had no way of stopping it.

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I managed to pick up motivation again after that by telling myself I needed this, and told myself that no change comes without hard work. After all, if you want results, you need to go out and work for it. I was really doing well at maintaining my fitness. However, recently due to personal events I have lost all motivation and self esteem and feel like I’ve gone straight back to square one again. I was looking in the mirror hating the way I looked, I was pinching the fat and extra skin on my face and body and wishing it wasn’t there and I was losing track of my healthy eating. Everything felt rubbish and I had no motivation to continue going to the gym.

That all changed when I had my university end of term ‘summer ball’ recently. It was such a great time surrounded by my best friends. I hadn’t seen most of them for at least 4 months and so it was so lovely to be surrounded by them again. We danced, partied, drank, and took loads of photos. I was so happy to be around my friends that weekend that I had felt the best I had felt for a long time, and it was a welcome distraction from everything that’s been going on.

The next day I was looking through the photos to upload to social media and I found one I wanted to upload. I was stood in the middle of two of my friends and we were all smiling at the camera. The funny thing is we took an identical photo the year before at the last summer ball we went to, so I decided to put them both side to side to show my friends how we hadn’t changed one bit. It was only when I found the one from the previous year that I noticed I had changed. Not looks wise, but I could see that I had lost weight in my face. I zoomed in on the photos of me and placed them side by side. I was so shocked because I can never tell I have lost weight/gained muscle etc because I am always around myself – that sounds stupid but I am always looking in the mirror when I brush my hair or whatever so I don’t really notice the changes. It was only when I compared these two photos that I realised that my efforts had paid off. It’s not a massive change and people probably think I’m crazy, but to me that meant the world. After all, I had lost weight and managed to keep it off. In total, I’ve lost about 10lbs since I started this fitness journey and I aim to continue it. I have been lazy recently and haven’t been to the gym in ages, but I’m slowly managing to get my motivation back.

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I know this post is so long and there may not seem like there’s a point to it, but I wanted to write it to be honest about my journey. It’s not easy and 99% of the time I feel rubbish about myself. I get frustrated very easily when I don’t make progress/lose more weight because I am so set on being the best version of me that it just annoys me when I don’t reach it sooner. Sometimes it takes something like this to give us all the motivation we need to continue fighting/aiming for our goals/dreams. My message to anyone kind enough to have read all the way to the bottom of my post is THANK YOU. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read what I have to say. I really hope it has inspired you/motivated you to do something you want to do. Just know that if you’re going through a hard time, it will always get better. There is no rain without sunshine, and the dark days don’t last forever.

If you’re like me and simply lacking motivation then I say go out there and kick ass, only you can be the best version of yourself and only you can make the changes you want to see. It’s bloody hard and it sucks when you feel like you’re not good enough but I believe in you. You’ve got this. If I can do it, so can you.

Lastly, I know so many people out there suffer from low self esteem but many don’t like to talk about it, and that’s fine. It’s a very personal and sensitive issue and it’s fine to not want to talk about it. Many of us feel like we have to maintain a brave face or a façade and not show how we’re really feeling. Just know, it’s okay to have days where you don’t feel 100% happy with yourself, or with your life. You are only human and the constant bombardment of beautiful and toned fitness models on social media or celebrities who seem to be living their ‘best lives’ can really affect us without us realising. We end up comparing ourselves to them, whether we want to be as toned, as rich or as happy as they do, we all do it and we don’t always realise the impact it’s having on us. I just want you to know that not everyone’s lives are as great as they seem, remember, social media will only portray a small part of someone’s life, and 99% of the time it’s only the happy/positive things. No one wants to bombard their followers with negativity, there’s enough of that in the world at the moment anyway! But remember that low self esteem is something we all suffer with, whether that’s daily or just every so often. Either way, you are still loved, still so beautiful and still such a wonderful person, and it will get better. Think about making changes if you’re not happy with yourself/your body/your life, and see how they make you feel. I for one know that if I hadn’t started going to the gym, I’d still be looking at myself everyday hating my body. It was only when I started making changes that it improved my mental state dramatically. I believe that everyone is beautiful no matter what size/shape/ethnicity/sexuality etc, we are all beautiful in our own way. It would be a boring world if we all looked the same!

I know people, especially young people/girls are made to feel like they have to look a certain way in order to be desired/liked. We hear so much about how unless you’re a size 0 you won’t be let into love island or how unless you have fake everything then you won’t be put in music videos or be successful etc. Songs even promote a certain image. But there are songs out there like Jessie J’s song “Queen” who tell women to stop hating themselves and start loving themselves more. Tells them to stop listening to the bullshit that media feeds us and start to embrace your body. Media is definitely great for so many reasons but is also so toxic too. Just know that just because you don’t look a certain way it doesn’t make you any less beautiful. Everyone is unique and special in their own way. You just have to realise what makes you special. I’ve always found that sometimes just listing 3 things I like about myself or 3 things I’ve done one day which made me feel good really help improve my mental state. It’s amazing what a kind word can do. Sometimes people say something to me and it’ll stick with me for days, months, even years. The smallest compliment can mean so much to someone. That’s why I always try and build others up because I know exactly how it feels when you get a kind message from someone. It gives you that extra kick up the bum you didn’t know you needed.

I am so grateful to be surrounded by such amazing friends and family and I will never take any of them for granted. If any of them are reading this I just want to say I love you. You are truly my favourite people in the world and I don’t know what I’d do without you.

I guess what I want people to take away from this is that things do get better, negative thoughts don’t last forever, and sometimes things like the photo comparison which happened to me can really be the kickstarter you need to carry on achieving your goals. We are all human, and we are all entitled to feel like we’re not good enough. It’s how we deal with it that makes us amazing. Make changes for YOU. Do what makes YOU happy. And don’t let anyone else tell you that your feelings are invalid. Emotions and negative thoughts are shit sometimes, but we can all overcome them with the right changes, and it will get better. I PROMISE. Go out there and do something wonderful, I promise you’ll feel much better for it.

Thanks so much for sticking with this blog post, and I really hope you enjoyed reading.

I’ll be back soon, sending all my love to anyone who may need it right now.

Katie x

P.s: “It’s okay not to be okay” – Jessie J

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Why embarking on my fitness journey has left me feeling better than ever

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Hey guys,

So I decided to blog about something which has been of importance for me over the last couple of months in particular. I mentioned in one of my previous posts how I was embarking on a journey to become the best version of me possible. I can happily say that since early January I have managed to stick to my fitness and healthy eating and am feeling better than ever!

I decided that enough was enough when it came to shaming myself over how I look and I hated feeling so gross about myself. I felt lethargic, lacked motivation to do anything and was finding myself becoming increasingly more depressed. I got stuck in a cycle and realised I had to do something about it.

So in early January I decided to start going to the gym and eating healthier than I had ever eaten. With help from my best friend who is a personal trainer, I managed to get to grips with the gym quite quickly and now when she’s not around to train me, I can go by myself feeling more confident now than ever.

I am only really still just about two months into my journey, and a couple of weeks I had to take off because I wasn’t feeling great so decided I needed to rest up and recover, to come back to it when I felt physically ready again!

I haven’t lost much weight, but I’ve gained muscle and can see the small changes now which mean the most to me. When I first started going to the gym I could barely manage the lightest weight, now I am managing to do the maximum on some machines! I never realised how strong I could be until I started going to the gym. I underestimated the strength of myself and when I was able to reach goals I never thought I’d reach it spurred me on to continue.

My dad always says to me I am on a ‘diet’ but I hate that word, it implies something is short term and for me I want this to be a long term thing. That’s why I see it as more of a lifestyle change, substituting crisps and chocolate for more fruit and veg. So far I am pleased to say I cant remember the last time I ate a bag of crisps on indulged in some chocolate, and I am feeling better than ever. Changing my eating habits has left me feeling energised, motivated and healthier in general. My friends have commented on how well I look now, how I look like I’ve lost weight (even though I can’t see it myself because I’m always around myself!) and how I seem more energetic than before.

I don’t think they realise that their comments spur me on and keep me motivated to carry on. I started going to the gym with no real goal in mind but to just feel better about myself, and I have started to feel exactly that. I can see the small changes like my arms toning up and gaining muscle and being able to go for longer on the cardio machines! My biggest achievement to date was managing 35 minutes on the cross trainer, when back in January I couldn’t even manage 3 minutes without feeling like I was going to collapse. They say that good things come to those who wait, but personally I like to believe that good things come to those who go out and work for it. I wouldn’t have gotten the results I have done by just sitting around hoping somehow I will gain muscle or lose weight. I have worked hard for these small changes and I’m so proud. If I can achieve this in just under two months, who knows what I can achieve by the end of the year?

Personally, summer has always been such a hard time of year for me. I hate going outside and showing my skin so I cover up in jeans and baggy t shirts. I want this year to be the year I feel like I can go outside and wear shorts if I want to. I want to go out and feel proud of my body, rather than wanting to stay inside and hide it all the time. Hopefully this year will be the year. Thinking about summer keeps me motivated to hit the gym and eat well.

Of course I have those days where I might eat something “bad” or not go to the gym, and that is completely normal. I like to think that if I have eaten well for the week then I am allowed to treat myself occasionally – everything in moderation I believe is best. I am by no means trying to preach to you like I am some sort of dietician or personal trainer because believe me I am far from it. I just wanted to share my experiences based on what I have been through and how I have kept motivated, even at times when it was very hard.

I am finally starting to look at myself more in the mirror and admire the good things about my body, rather than focusing on the bad bits. Even when I don’t go to the gym I don’t feel guilty, I just spur myself on to go to the gym the next day and do a longer, more intense session to make up for the missed day. I don’t want gym to become my life, I want it to change my life and I think there’s a difference. Personally, I don’t want to be spending 24/7 in the gym and nothing else, I want to go to the gym for an hour every couple of days and watch the change in my body. I don’t think it would be beneficial for me to let it take over my life because I have other commitments and it would ultimately make me stressed and unhappy. So, when I have time, I go. If I don’t have time, I don’t go. Simple. It is all about balance and finding what works for you.

To end this post I want to leave a message for everyone who may be reading this and struggling with motivation, body confidence or anything along those lines: it’s completely normal to have days where you feel like you don’t want to do anything or you want to hibernate and not see anyone. But I would also say that if you want change, only YOU can go and get it. You are the only one who can make those changes and feel better about yourself. It is hard to know where to start sometimes, but if I can do it, so can you!

The most important thing to remember is it’s all about keeping it real with yourself. If you can’t go to the gym everyday, then don’t go. If you can’t even get to a gym, invest in a fitness DVD or even download a free workout app which you can do from home! I find these sometimes are better than going to the gym because you can do whatever without the fear of someone watching you. I definitely found during the first few weeks of my journey that I hated going to the gym because I felt like everyone was staring at me. But in all honestly the more I have gone the more I have noticed that everyone is too busy focusing on their own workout to even have time to worry about staring at other people! Keeping it real with yourself and true to your own abilities/lives will yield the best results. When you start seeing the results, it becomes a way of life and not a chore!

Sending lots of motivational and positive vibes your way today.

Best wishes,

Katie

x

Why gratitude is so important, and why the little things in life mean so much to me…

Image result for gratitudeGratitude. Such a small word but such a big concept. It is defined as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness” – in other words, being kind and thankful. If there’s one thing I have learnt over the last couple of years it’s that gratitude is something not many people are willing to show.

I am always being told I need to stop saying thank you and a couple of people have told me I am the kindest person they have met. Obviously this is so flattering and it means so much to me, but at the same time, if I stop being grateful then I stop being me and I don’t want that to happen. This is such a big part of my personality that it’s never going to be in my blood to be ungrateful or unkind.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I am the nicest person in the world, I just love to make others feel good and I love being grateful too. Sometimes it annoys me when people are never thankful and they take people for granted who do so much for them. I see it all the time and it angers me knowing people can take advantage of people who are so genuinely kind and caring but they get nothing back in return. Quite often it isn’t a conscious decision and people don’t even realise when they’re being ungrateful, or maybe they don’t even think they need to say thank you in certain situations. Even so, gratitude definitely goes a long way.

I have always said that the smallest things in life mean so much to me. If someone so much as smiled at me in the street or sent me a nice text, I would not stop thinking about it all day and it would make me genuinely happy. I always try and compliment people, send them nice messages and make them happy when I can. After all, I have always believed in the saying “treat others how you want to be treated”. I admit at times I may not be as grateful as I should be for things, but I kick myself when I realise and I’ll make sure I have a word with myself if I have to. I am definitely not trying to preach anything either about how people should behave, I’m just merely stating my opinion based on my experiences.

Gratitude for something can really make all the difference to someone. I for one know that when I get thanked for something it makes me feel really good about things. This is especially true if I have gone out of my way to do something and the person is genuinely so happy and thankful for it. There’s nothing better for me than seeing the people I care about happy. I never ask to be thanked and I don’t ask anyone to be a certain way with me, which is why when someone is grateful it means the world to me.

I once got a text off one of my friends saying “I just want you to know I’m so grateful to have you and for everything you do” and honestly I have never stopped thinking about it since. It was something so small but so meaningful and to know that I make a difference to someone’s life in that way just by being there for them means everything to me.

I have never and will never take anything for granted, whether it be my friends, family or pets. Everyone I am surrounded by make me a better person and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

The small things mean so much to me because of everything I have been through in life. The experiences I have faced have made me who I am and therefore going out of my way for people is just in my nature. Yes it hurts when I do things for people and they overlook it, but I get on with life, no point getting hung up on things like that because deep down I know they don’t meant to do it. Like I said earlier, I’m definitely not always as grateful as I should be.

I think the milestone moment for me which changed my outlook on life was when one of my nans died at the age of 65 and when my granddad had a heart attack in his early 70’s. My dad was only 40 when he lost his mum and that for me changed everything. I can’t even imagine losing my parents, let alone be still so young when it happens.

Luckily my granddad pulled through and got better, but he suffered another heart attack a couple of years later when I was just 16. Due to family circumstances I ended up having to care for him and my other nan around the clock that summer and it made me appreciate everything I had so much more than before.

I wasn’t able to go out much and as a result I became very reclusive, but I wouldn’t change it for the world because my grandparents mean the world to me so I would do it all again in a heartbeat. It was simply a fact of life that at that time I had to get used to and accept. Watching my granddad suffer was when it changed how I thought about things and I told myself from that moment onwards I would never be ungrateful again. I was so thankful I was alive and well and I felt so sad for him that he was suffering. From that moment on, the smallest things meant so much to me and it’s definitely something I will always carry with me.

My message for people really is that being grateful is so important, even if we feel like we want more or we wish we could change parts of our lives, we need to be grateful for what we do have. Focusing on what we don’t have will ultimately just make us unhappy and that’s why it’s so important not to dwell on it. Remember to tell those you love how much they mean to you and don’t be scared to be grateful – you never know how much it might mean to someone. We definitely need more kindness in the world.

Here are just a few things I am grateful for:

  • MY PARENTS – WHERE WOULD I BE WITHOUT YOU BOTH?
  • MY AMAZING FRIENDS – BOTH AT UNI AND AT HOME
  • MY PETS
  • MY BROTHER
  • MY HOUSE
  • MY HEALTH
  • MY UNI GRADES
  • MY FAMILY
  • MUSIC

What are you guys grateful for?

Katie

x

New year, same me…just a modified version

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Hey guys,

I’ve been really bad at blogging recently and I apologise. Life seems to take over at times and there’s no real way of stopping it. I missed blogging though so I’ll do my best to keep at it this time.

As it’s now 2018 (Happy New Year!), I wanted to focus my January blog post around the whole “new year, new me” theme, but with a difference. Yes okay we are well into the first month of 2018 already, and it is a new year, but I am still the same person. The only thing “new” about me is my thought processes. Let’s say, “new year, modified me” sums up how I am right now. I am the same person but with some changes, not a brand new model of myself!!

I will be the first to admit I’ve never been good at looking after myself, I always found myself stuck in a rut of self-loathing and body shaming myself which meant I never really looked after myself because I never felt worthy or anywhere near as beautiful as the people I was seeing on social media. I was never really good at sports at school (apart from hockey) and a condition I’ve had since birth means it’s hard for me to do copious amounts of exercise without nearly dying!! So I had to take it easy and never really did much. I was always labelled as “lazy” and “unfit” amongst others, and it happened so much that I started to believe it. I found myself feeding into the negativity and neglecting myself so much to a point where I became so unhappy.

As 2017 ended and 2018 approached, I was stuck eating truck loads of food over the Christmas break, I decided something had to change. My relationship with food has always been a love-hate type. I go to eat something and as soon as I’ve eaten it I instantly regret it, but can’t help but eat it at the time. I used to find myself eating so much to the point I used to feel sick and I always find the worst foods to eat. Anything with lots of sugar in, I’ll eat it! Luckily I’ve managed to get a little better now and my thoughts towards food are changing.

I’ve decided that something has to change in order for me to feel better about myself. I have forever moaned about how I look and feel and have come to realise now that the only person who can change this is ME. No one else can do it for me.

Therefore I’ve decided to take 2018 by the balls and change my relationship with food and fitness. I’m taking everyday as it comes at the moment and I can say so far that I’ve been managing to go to the gym or do workouts at home pretty much everyday, apart from the odd day I feel just “urgh”. It’s already majorly improved how I feel about myself and I’m excited to see where this journey takes me. It’s going to be a long journey but I’m ready to see the results at the end. I’m not looking to lose crazy amounts of weight, I just want to feel comfortable in my own body.

I’m learning to be more careful about what I eat too, I’m going to start a book called “30 day blitz” written by the lovely Charlotte Crosby which is filled with healthy recipes and exercises to help change the way you eat and feel. I can’t wait to see how this goes and hopefully it’ll make all the difference.

It’s not going to be easy, but it sure as hell will be worth it.

Take care

Katie

x

 

 

New academic year… same sh*t

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As the start of term begins, I’m left with only one thought in my mind. What sh*t will I come up against this year? In all honestly, probably the same as I did last year, with only one real difference. First year was, looking back, a ‘find your feet’ year. It’s a chance for students to get to grips with uni life, settle in and have fun. Second year is a whole different ball game. From the moment I stepped foot in my first lecture this week I knew something was different. I was taken aback by how quickly we jumped into course content, there were barely any introductory slides in the PowerPoint and we were immersed straight away in all things English Language. Dreaded words like ‘parsing’, ‘adjectives’, ‘noun phrases’ and ‘class tests’ jumped out at me and hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t help but think back to last year when things were easier – we were having introductory lectures for a few weeks before any ‘heavy’ content was thrown our way. This year, we were thrown straight in at the deep end. I swear I heard everyone gulp when the words ‘class test in December’ came hurtling out of the lecturer’s mouth. And I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself. Yep, I was right. New year, same sh*t.

Almost everyone I’ve spoken to who has graduated uni has told me that second year was their worst year and I’m starting to see why. Lectures are now two hours instead of one, we have no seminars and I was set 8 chapters to read for the next lecture which was only a few days after the first. The sheer amount of time we have for independent study daunts me, and I’m hoping I can stay focused and motivated. Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself when a sh*t ton of work is thrown at you. But I know it’s not a question of should I do it, but I HAVE to do it. I have ambitions and I have a career plan in mind for after I graduate and I have to stick with it to be able to achieve them.

Now I assure you it’s not all doom and gloom. I love being reunited with the same faces as last year, and also miss those who decided uni wasn’t for them after all and decided to pursue full time work. I also love having as much free time as we do this year, but I know it’s not really ‘free’ at all. It’s so easy to get distracted when I’m studying. I usually try my hardest to avoid all distractions, but when I have my laptop staring me in the face I can’t help but wonder what shows I can watch on Netflix or what stupid clips I can find on YouTube. However, I know I simply HAVE to focus. The thought of failure terrifies me in a way I can’t even express and that’s why I’m determined to do as best as I can.

So, even though it may be a new year with the same sh*t, I’m determined to wipe that sh*t away and make the most of the year ahead. It’s going to be tough, but it WILL be worth it. To anyone in the same position as me and fighting through those tough days of education, trust me, it WILL be worth it. Hard work and dedication gets you EVERYWHERE these days.

As much as the saying “good things come to those who wait” gets thrown around and may be true in some respects, I prefer to rephrase it as “good things come to those who go out and bloody work for it!” (apologies for sounding so awfully British!).

My tips for the week and for the academic year are:

  • Focus on your goals and you will be more motivated to achieve them
  • Take everything one step at a time, focus on the work that’s most important for that week, and keep a record of the work you’ve done so you can keep track of what you still have left to do
  • Work your butt off!!
  • Remember, work hard and play hard – have fun too, but remember, those few months of your life you dedicate to work will pay off in the long run. You have so much time to have fun after your studies.

Best wishes,

Katie x

 

Self esteem… and why mine has been lower than ever just recently

Hi guys,

So I wanted to write this post because I feel it’s so important to say. Writing these posts not only helps me express my feelings but I also hope it will help other people if they came to read this post and were feeling exactly the same as me. I usually don’t like to dwell on negative topics, but I feel this one is very important to me.

Self esteem is defined as “a person’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth”. At the moment, my ’emotional evaluation’ of myself has been very negative. I’ve found myself putting myself down recently a lot more than usual and it’s started to affect the way I see myself on a day to day basis.

With summer well and truly upon us, it’s usually the worst time of year for me and I want to explain why. I have never been one of those ‘skinny’ girls or ones with flat stomachs that every guy wants to date, and I don’t feel I’m very pretty either. Well not compared to most of my friends anyway. I’ve never felt comfortable in my own skin and that’s just something about me which I will have to learn to deal with and change for the better.

Therefore, when summer approaches I never feel comfortable. As the temperature increases, people tend to wear less and less clothing and it almost makes me feel like I should be doing the same. But I just cant bring myself to do it, at least not in public anyway. I have tried putting bikinis on but I end up almost crying at myself over my body image. I am quite comfortable wearing shorts, but its only up until recently that I realised I was happy to go out in public wearing them. However… they still have to be fairly long so that no-one can see my top half of my legs. I hate my legs… they wobble when I walk and my thighs rub together. They are probably my ugliest feature.

I went to an outdoor swimming pool the other day with my friend and as soon as we walked in and I saw the crowds of people, I panicked. I saw girls walking round with slim bodies, toned stomachs and nothing but bikinis on. Of course, I am by no means body shaming – being slim isn’t something to be ashamed of, in reality, its something I aspire to be.

I told my friend I felt really uncomfortable and she asked me why. When I explained to her how I was feeling she told me I shouldn’t worry because I’m beautiful and that she’s gonna punch me if I say one more bad thing about myself.

Knowing my friend, I know she’s not comfortable with her body either, but this doesn’t stop her from being confident and posting pictures of herself on social media wearing dresses, bikinis etc. I know she hates it when I put myself down, and I hate it when she does the same to herself. She’s absolutely beautiful, long dark hair, toned stomach and massive boobs! She gets a lot of attention from guys and this is something she absolutely deserves. I know it sounds awful but I really envy her sometimes. The attention she gets is something I could only dream of, and her confidence is something I wish I had. I know she has her own insecurities but she really doesn’t need to worry. She’s even managed to pick up promotion deals for clothing brands and bagged herself a manager through her posts on Instagram – and she still doesn’t think she’s worth anything!

It’s frustrating seeing someone like her have little confidence in herself, and I do what I can to change that. Daily compliments and kind remarks go a long way these days and I know she appreciates it. I’m so proud of her and all she’s achieved and will go on to achieve. If you’re reading this Paula – I love you.

I digressed a little there but my main point was going to be that we got into the changing rooms and she had changed into this amazing bikini that hugged her in all the right places. Me on the other hand had changed into a swimsuit that definitely doesn’t hug me in all the right places. I felt so insecure in myself that I refused to walk out like that, so I walked back into the changing rooms and shoved my clothes back on over my swimsuit. The only thing I changed was my shoes and slipped on some flip flops so I could walk around comfortably.

As I walked out of the changing rooms I knew my friend wasn’t judging me, after all, she knows I have insecurities and she lets me be me, and I love her for it. She didn’t say anything apart from how nice the weather was and how she couldn’t wait to spend time with me in the sun. I appreciated this more than she knew. The last thing you want is someone pointing out all your insecurities.

As it got later and later, I said to her that we should get in the pool as all we’d done is sunbathe and put our feet in the water. I saw many people having so much fun that I wanted to experience their joy too. I had also been watching the people frolicking around and realised something. There were SO many people just like me, who didn’t have ‘perfect’ figures, slim stomachs and the like, and were walking around unapologetically. They didn’t seem to care what people thought or if anyone was staring – the simple fact was it was hot and they wanted to wear a bikini and they didn’t care who saw.

I for one was definitely staring, but not because I was judging them (after all who am I to judge), but I was staring because I was admiring them and their confidence. I needed some of that. So I turned to my friend and said “I wish I had that confidence” and she said “you can”. She was so right. I can. And I did. I decided to ‘take the plunge’ so to speak and said to her I’m gonna go get changed. So I did. I took my clothes off and wrapped my towel around me. I walked out of the changing rooms and waited for my friend. I weirdly still felt so exposed and naked, even though I was fully clothed and had a towel round me. I think its because all these girls were walking around me and I envied their figures and tans. I’m whiter than white and fake tan does not suit me. So I have to spend hours in the sun to get a tan, and when I try, I just end up burning anyway so half the time I don’t go outside.

I saw my friend and we walked out to the main pool area. It was a bit quieter as it was getting near 5pm and it was a weekday. We threw our towels onto a nearby bench and walked to the stairs of the pool. Now the thing I want to highlight here is it was only about 4 paces away from us, but that was the worst part for me. Walking around ‘exposed’ with no protection apart from my swimsuit and knowing people were looking at me, or at least it felt that way anyway. I wasted no time to jump into the pool and even though it was freezing cold, I just wanted to be hidden again. When you’re in water no one can see what you look like unless they’re below surface and it made me feel more comfortable. I also started to realise the longer we were in there that no-one was looking at me, It had just felt like they were because I was so convinced I looked so awful and that definitely reassured me.

I came to a few realisations that day:

  1. I’m not as awful looking as I think I am
  2. I DO have confidence – I just need to show it more
  3. You can learn so much off other people’s confidence and it really is truly inspiring

I know they’ll never read this but I want to thank those girls who were walking around unapologetically owning their bodies and wearing their confidence. If it wasn’t for you I probably wouldn’t have got in that pool.

I know people always tell me to ‘stop being silly’ or ‘shut up’ when I mention how I feel about myself but to me it isn’t that simple. I cant just shut off my feelings when it comes to my body and I sure as hell wont be shutting up anytime soon either. But what I can do is make a change to improve my confidence. I can start looking after myself better and doing things which will help my body. Instead of that chocolate bar I will eat some fruit. Instead of a fizzy drink I will make a smoothie. Instead of no exercise, I will make sure I do some. I’m not sure whether I will have stuck to this when I come back to read this, but I know that for at least one day of my life I had confidence in myself and was not afraid of what people thought because I realised there is more to life than worrying about what other people think of me.

It definitely doesn’t help me when I’m surrounded my people who all have the body types I aspire to. It makes me feel so rubbish when I see them eat so much junk food and do no exercise and not put on any weight at all. I so much as look at junk food and I will have put on about 10 stone. Okay so I’m exaggerating of course but you see my point. On the other hand, it gives me motivation. I aspire to be as slim as them and be confident in myself. I want to be able to wear bikinis without feeling I shouldn’t and I want to look at my legs and not feel ashamed. This is why I’m determined to do something about it.

Maybe my next post will be on the start of my journey, but who knows, I don’t really stick to much these days.

I’m so sorry this has been a long and probably whiny post, but I wanted to write it and I hope it might help someone out there someday.

My message to anyone who feels the same as me and has constant days of feeling ashamed about their body is:

You are beautiful, you are worth it and you can be confident. Don’t let anyone else tell you how you should look or what you should do. It’s your body and only you can change it, if you really want to. If you want to make a change, do it, you never know how it could change your life. If you don’t want to make changes, that is perfectly fine too. No matter what body shape or size you are, you ARE beautiful. I’ve come to realise now that self love is the most important thing in the world. It affects your mental state, actions and more. So gaining self love is the first step to great things.

Thank you for sticking with me on this one. I promise my next post wont be as long.

Stay amazing guys and remember – only YOU can be the change you look for.

Katie

x

 

 

End of first year… and exciting opportunities!

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So I haven’t posted in a while. I apologise! Uni has been crazy busy and as you can probably appreciate, exam time was upon us last month and the build-up has been crazy! The amount of paper I have used over these last few months has been mad!

I wanted to take this opportunity to write about what’s been going on since I’ve been away. Well, first year of uni has ended. I have mixed emotions about it all really. Whilst I hated uni to begin with, I really managed to find my feet towards the end of it and I will definitely miss it over summer. Living in halls has been such a great experience and I wish I could do it all over again. Sadly I’m all moved out now for summer and I wont be living in halls again. My flat and I never got on as well as most others, but that’s part of life – you will meet people you get on with and some people who you don’t. It’s about how you deal with it that matters. Being civil was the key, whilst I may not have got on with my flat (apart from one amazing girl called Amy), I was civil and spoke to them when I saw them and made sure I wasn’t making any enemies!

Before I moved out of halls though I was busy conducting my first year exams. I was lucky this year that they were multiple choice – not lucky because they were ‘easy’ but because it was much less stress. I knew the answer was going to be there somewhere – I just had to work out where. There is no such thing as a trick question with multiple choice, the answer must be somewhere!

During my exam period I was very lucky to have been able to be selected to be a part of two amazing opportunities for which I’m very grateful. The first is something called a STaR mentor partnership at Reading University which basically involves me helping new students to transition to university life. Whilst I am by no means an expert on university life, I like to think I have enough knowledge to help these students transition well to uni. After all, I was in their position this time last year – so many questions in my head about what uni will involve, whether i’ll make friends and what living in halls is like. I am really excited to get started in August and continue it into the Autumn term.

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STaR Mentor Ad

Another exciting opportunity is something which I feel was luck and nothing else. I have never been one to brag about anything, whether it be any of my achievements, my life or just general things. I will always downplay my ability because I always think there’s someone far better than me. Anyway I digress… it all started when I was scrolling through my emails during a day where I was meant to be doing revision. I came across an email from an online panel that I’m part of advertising a competition they were running. I usually dismiss all competition emails because I never win and I don’t consider myself to be very lucky! (I think I may have won a Hannah Montana CD back in 2006 but that was about it!). However, there was something different about this that struck me. It was titled something along the lines of “Exciting opportunity to write for Which? magazine!”. Now I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the magazine because I wasn’t really aware of it either, but I knew I liked writing and it was something I may be interested in entering. So I opened the email and read down to the bottom where the entry link was staring me right in the face.

I clicked on the link and it took me to this page explaining the rules of the competition and what was expected. Long story short, they wanted someone to write an article about what people don’t tell you about living in university halls. If you were selected, they would publish your work on their website for university freshers and students alike. I thought this was right up my street, especially considering I had been living in halls for the past 8 months or so! So I decided to take my chance and enter, why not, I had nothing to lose.

Within about half hour I wrote this article and formatted it loosely based on what I thought was an acceptable standard of writing. I usually take so much pride in all work I do, but I didn’t in a million years think I was going to win, hence my loose formatting. A few bold subheadings here and there, short paragraphs and some pictures later, the article was done! I was fairly proud of it and decided to take a shot. I submitted the article and thought nothing more of it.

A few weeks later I was back in my home town just scrolling through my emails again(exciting life I lead right?). I usually just spend most of my time clicking delete because most emails are junk or ones which I don’t care to read. Apart from one which was staring me in the face…

“Congratulations! Your article has been chosen… it was exactly what we were looking for…. Which? would love to publish you!”

O.M.G.

I couldn’t believe it! Me? Little old me from a tiny town no-one has ever heard of being selected to be published on a website!! I think I must’ve read the email 100 times over just to make sure it sank in. I even proceeded to check that the email address was real and not one of these “jimmy@jimbo47583.cog.lol” type ones which are clearly fake!

Yes it’s true… I won! I am now going to be published online for loads of people to see. To tell you the truth it still hasn’t sunk in but I’m so unbelievably grateful for this opportunity. I have always loved writing and to be selected really made my day. I think this could be the start of something great! So thank you to Which? and also the online Opinion Panel Community – I am so very grateful.

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To most people this isn’t really exciting. But to me this is everything I could’ve ever hoped for. For my writing to be recognised by people and chosen to be on a website. That to me is the best thing.

So it just shows that the old saying “you never know unless you try” really is true in this case. So in light of this… even if you think you won’t win or succeed or whatever it may be you want to do but don’t think you stand a chance at. DO IT. Look what happened to me!

I apologise for this post being so long, but I had lots to catch up on and as most of my friends and family know, I can talk for England…

Be back soon, take care,

Katie x