Feel body confident this summer

Summer is here and whilst that means it is time for a well-deserved break for many of us, the nicer weather can sometimes come with the pressure to achieve a ‘summer body’. Here at M&Co, we’d like to celebrate our bodies and make the most of what we have got. We spoke to 5 experts for their top tips, advice and ultimate secrets of confidence, to help you smile that bit wider this sunshine season- whatever your body.

Spiritual Confidence

1Marla Martenson, a successful author, matchmaker and speaker reveals the importance of spiritual confidence and being at ease with yourself.

What makes you feel confident from within?

The best way that I have found to feel confident from within is to go within. A daily spiritual practice which may include yoga, prayer, meditation, affirmations, reading uplifting material, spending time in nature, all connect you to your higher self and with spirit, helping us to realize how magnificent and special we truly are.

How would you encourage others to feel this way?

Find a daily self-care/spiritual practice and stick with it. Feed yourself fresh, healthy foods, hydrate yourself with filtered water and fill your mind with positive thoughts. If you do this, you cannot help but to feel confident because you know the value of YOU!

Is there one tip you would give to help boost someone’s body confidence this summer?

The best tip I can give is to get moving and keep moving. A toned, healthy body is a body that you want to live in and one that you don’t mind being seen in on the beach! If you aren’t quite where you want to be, no worries, a journey begins with a single step. Self-esteem and confidence comes from knowing who you are and not giving a hoot what anyone else thinks about you.

Better With Age

2Jayne Cox, an eating disorder therapist and specialist women’s coach explains why quick fixes don’t hold the answers to confidence in the long run and why, for her, beauty and confidence only get better with age.

When do you feel most confident?

I’ve personally lacked body confidence so I do understand how it feels and how to overcome it, from this personal perspective as well as professionally. My past history of poor self-worth and eating disorders is what lead me to do the work I am so passionate about today. Helping women to make positive life changes and recover from emotional binge eating and eating disorders.

Confidence radiates from within and I think my confidence has grown with age. I love age and what it’s given me and I’m known to say: “I love my years” and I really do! Confidence also comes from being comfortable with myself and who I am. I know I get out of bed each day to do my best, I also know I’m not perfect and I get it wrong sometimes. I enjoy what my body allows me to do and I remind myself regularly of being grateful for a mobile body, a body that’s reasonably fit and strong. I accept myself warts and all but yes it did take time to feel this way.

What advice would you give to women who would like to boost their body confidence this summer?

Begin by thinking about making small lifelong changes rather than quick fixes. I see what the end result of endless quick fix diets and plans achieves and it’s pretty miserable. Year in, year out women take some kind of action to change their weight and their size for the summer. They get caught up in the ‘lose it fast and look good for the beach’ hype that the media loves to promote. Sadly this yo-yo behaviour leads to long-term body dissatisfaction and on off dieting for life. This isn’t truly living. The end result is an increase in their weight after each diet fails.

My advice is seek professional support and take small steady steps and work on positive lifelong changes that are realistic for you, as an individual.

What about confidence and how we dress?

I’m often asked about clothing for confidence and have just one thing I can share. Dress for your body right now! Be kind to your body and care for it rather than wait until you feel you are the right weight or shape. This way you’re not punishing yourself, you’re helping to give self-love. This is something that every woman deserves.

Quick Tricks

3Ceri Wheeldon, the editor of Fab after Fifty gives us some tips on how to boost confidence with a few quick tricks and vows to never underestimate the power of a smile. 

What advice would you give to mature women who would like to boost their body confidence this summer?

Walk tall! Posture makes a tremendous difference.  Exercise gently. Focus on enjoying yourself rather than dwelling on what your body looks like. Dress to flatter your strong points and play down those areas you’re less happy with. Scooped necklines elongate the neck and take the eye upwards. Wear colour to look happy and vibrant.  Fake tan when applied properly can create an instant slimming effect and create a great confidence boost. Don’t forget to smile!

Would you recommend any kind of plan to help diminish body image worries working up to the summer months?

I would eat healthily. Focus on lots of fresh nutritious foods rather than dieting to lose weight. Start exercising; whether it’s a daily walk or attending a class that you enjoy. If you’re anything like me, if you don’t enjoy it you won’t go! Use a body brush in the morning to help your skin glow. Moisturise daily – paying particular attention to elbows, knees and heels ready for the summer season.

Is there a particular piece of clothing or swimwear that you think helps women feel confident?

If you want to wear a bikini, there is absolutely no upper age limit as long as you feel confident. Look for bra sixed swimwear to get the fit and support you need. If you are worried about your middle, there are lots of swimwear options with control panels. Dramatic prints can help minimise a multitude of lumps and bumps! Look for a fabulous cover up or kaftan to take you to and from the poolside or water’s edge with confidence.

Swimwear
Slimming palm print swimsuit I Frill slimming swimsuit I High waist control bikini briefs I Embellished feather bikini I Beaded beach dress

If you feel confident, you’ll look confident. Happy summer!

Body Gossip

4

Natasha Devon, Director of Education Programme at Body Gossip and Cosmopolitan Columnist, tells us what confidence means to her and talks us through the Body Gossip initiative.

What does body confidence mean to you? What do you think is the key to being confident?

I believe body confidence is reached in two stages. The first is making peace with your body shape and learning to accept or even love the parts of it which you might have traditionally seen as ‘flaws’. The second is finding a way to celebrate the body you’ve made peace with.

People find all kinds of different ways to accomplish part two. Some find their unique sense of style and express themselves with the clothes they wear; others go entirely the other way, shed their clothes and explore naturism!

Last summer, Body Gossip hosted a ‘Body Love Flash Mob’ on the Southbank in London. We invited the public along to hold up a heart in which they’d written something they loved about their body. That represented a way for them to celebrate their body.

As for what confidence is – I teach our award-winning Body Gossip self-esteem classes to 14-18 year olds in schools and colleges all over the UK every week. I tell my students that confidence is just practice, actually. If you do something often enough you become comfortable with it – You are then ‘confident’ at doing that thing. Gok Wan (who is a close friend of our campaign) would say “fake it ’til you make it!’

When do you feel most confident? Do you have a particular item of clothing or outfit that helps you feel your best?

I’m really lucky in that I don’t have to dress in a particular way to do my job, which means every day is another opportunity to explore my own unique style. I have really long legs (and hence absolutely no sense of balance whatsoever. It’s quite comical) so I like to show them off in patterned tights and leggings. I feel most confident when I’m in something stylish yet comfortable. I enjoy getting ready for a big event but quite often find I spend the whole night readjusting myself or sucking my stomach in. I prefer for example what I’m wearing today – A short plaid swing dress with metallic leggings and ankle boots. It’s ‘me’ but I can still relax and, crucially, breathe!

What advice would you give to women who would like to boost their body confidence this summer?

We assume other people look at us in the same way we do ourselves and because we tend to spend so much time scrutinising our ‘imperfections’ that can make us very self-conscious. Remember that when we look in the mirror we ‘compartmentalise’ our bodies and that makes our so-called ‘flaws’ seem exaggerated. Anything you think is ‘wrong’ with your body is much bigger in your head than it is in reality. Remember also that beauty is so much more than what can be seen in a photo. Your attractiveness has to do with how you speak, how you walk, how you smell and how much you smile!

Four Steps to Confidence

5Judi Craddock, founder of Peppermint Style, Body Confidence Coach and advocate for positive body image, shares four steps to get you closer to confidence.

When do you feel most confident?

I have my favourite items of clothing and accessories that I enjoy wearing, but I don’t rely solely on these to feel body confident.  The way I think about my body is more important to me than how I dress it.  I believe that feeling confident about your body comes from the mind, not from what you see in the mirror.  This can be a difficult concept for women to understand, because society programmes us to believe that changing the way we look with clothes, make-up or diets will help us to feel better about ourselves.  I’m at my most body confident when I am thinking positive and healthy thoughts about my body, such as appreciating what it allows me to do each day, rather than focussing on what it does or doesn’t look like.

In your opinion, what is the key to being body confident? Is there a golden rule you swear by?

Body confidence is about being comfortable in your own skin. The key to achieving this is accepting the body you’ve got, and not constantly wishing that it was different.  Research shows that when you love and accept your body, you are more likely to make healthier choices including eating well, exercising and resting.  When it comes to being body confident, make your body’s health, not weight or appearance your focus.

What advice would you give to women who would like to boost their body confidence this summer?

Many people equate body confidence and a positive body image with losing weight or being slim.  This is one of the greatest myths about body image.  Your physical body has nothing to do with your body image, because your mind can choose to love or hate your body whatever its size or shape.  If you want to improve your body confidence, you have to start by accepting your body as it is.  Here are a few ways you can do this:

1)      Focus on what you like about your body. Get into the daily habit of identifying what you do like about your appearance rather than obsessing about what you don’t.  Every day when you look in the mirror, find something that you like.

2)      Watch the language you use about your body when talking to yourself or others.  If you are constantly using negative and unkind words, you will feel bad about your body. Replace negative language with a kinder, healthier voice.  Imagine what your own best friend would say to you.

3)      Avoid comparisons, not only with other women but media images. Every woman is different and unique, so don’t compare.  Take an objective view of images that you see in the media, since most have been altered.  Making comparisons with unattainable images of beauty is damaging to your body image.

4)      Focus on how your body feels, not how it looks. Imagine all the great sensations that you can experience with your body – the warmth of the sun on your skin, the rush of endorphins after exercising, and the energy you get from nutritious food.  Remember that your body is far more than an object to be looked at, and can make you feel amazing.

What steps are you taking to be more body confident this summer? Do you have a special outfit that instantly makes you walk taller? Whatever your trick is, we want to know! Get in touch via our Facebook or Twitter page.

Plus, our summer sale is still on so before you hit the beach, don’t forget to grab yourself a style steal!

 

 

 

Jade Ruddy

Jade Ruddy

Content creative at M&Co adding the pretty pieces to html and keeping our social media fans in the loop. Lover of dresses, cats, rum and the Kardashians - but not always in that order.

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