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Body Confidence & My Mind

Photograph of a statue - a naked full-figured female on the beach. from: PWCD - body confident

LETTERS

Written by: Charmaine Simmons

Body Confidence

Body confidence affects all of us. You only need to trawl the Internet to find multiple images of people displaying beautiful interpretations of body confidence. I’m all for positive body images, but shall I tell you a secret? It’s not that these people are body confident – they are mind confident. They are so happy with themselves that they love their body and celebrate it regardless of what society says it should look like. (Thank you, Internet!) Now sit back further. I am about to tell you a little story about my body confidence.

Size 8

Over the years, I had been size 12 at my biggest, (which isn’t big!), before my current size, which is 8/10. Genetics were good to me; I had strength and could eat practically anything without gaining weight. For years people would say and still occasionally do, ‘Oh, you are lucky you’re slim.’ Long-time friends made comments like, ‘you have always been a skinny girl.’ I once had a friend comment on my small chest size ‘you don’t need to wear a bra!’ Every time someone commented, they didn’t realize that it still wasn’t ok just because I was slim! In modern-day terms, it is simply “Body-Shaming.” However, back then, I used to laugh it off, not because I was embarrassed, more because it could’ve led to an argument.





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At my leanest and most “ripped,” I was in pre-bodybuilding competition form – so very lean with less than 7% body fat. I was entering this more adept category of fitness, and I had no experience! I then threw myself into the goal of getting into the best shape of my life within 12 weeks. This meant completing workouts that pushed my limit, and lifting ever heavier weights.

Prepping For Show

While in the gym, I was surrounded by lovely compliments about my body daily, and I appreciated the comments and smiled gracefully. The months of hard work I had put in, paying particular attention to nutrition and exercise, had paid off. However, my confidence wasn’t as high as it should have been. Inside, I was still saying to myself that ‘it wasn’t good enough.’ And what people didn’t know is during that time, I was going through some personal issues, which were clouding my mind and affecting sleep patterns, amongst other things. It was far from this perfect ‘prep for show’ mindset I should have had.

Jag tänker på mig själv – Växjö ( ‘I am thinking of myself – Växjö’) by Marianne Lindberg De Geer, 2005 – “Body Positivity” – Wikipedia
TASCHEN

The knock-on effect was a body chiseled and strong, despite the mind, which was distracted. It was a state that held me hostage, precluding me from the body confidence I should’ve had. Because of this, I hadn’t been practicing my turns, poses, and T-walk as I was sleep-deprived, and my mind was like fireworks on bonfire night. My coach was patient during this preparation period, and there were times when I really questioned if this was the best time to do a show. He continued to support me, and two weeks before the exposition, he told me to stop exercising. Losing muscle mass while he adjusted my macros was clearly the stress “behind closed doors.” My reason for performing was beyond the aesthetic. It had become a personal challenge to me.

When show day arrived, there I was, sitting in this changing room with all of these beautiful ladies going through their routines, applying make-up, eating sweets, and drinking red wine – each of them exuding confidence that could rival a Kardashian. Earlier in Round One, I had messed up my poses on stage, and so I wasn’t very excited about Round Two. There I was – bright lights, face full of make-up, looking flawless in a beautiful costume, and no smile. The judges had been making some general comments, but I knew it was aimed at me. I had decided that I could handle constructive criticism, and so I’d listened. TURN PAGE

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