This is a sponsored post, however, all thoughts are my own. You can read more in my disclaimer, here.
For a long time, I was scared to admit that I was on my self-love journey as I felt like it meant that I had to constantly be positive about how I feel about my body. I knew that the way in which I felt about myself was definitely changing in a positive way, but I didn’t want to open up and say that I was on this journey because I was so scared that I couldn’t be the positive role-model that people needed.
It took some time, but I finally realised that self-love means something completely different to each and every person that has started the incredible journey of learning to love their body more. For some, self-love is wearing a bikini in public for the first time ever. For others, it’s saying no to something you really don’t want to do and taking time to focus on YOU instead.
To believe that self-love was a linear concept held me back from so much so when welovedates.com asked me to share what it means to me, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to show you that there’s so much more to self-love than building your confidence in yourself. Not only are they a free dating site, but they’re also encouraging people to feel comfortable in their own skin.
Having the confidence to travel the world (AND SOLO, AT THAT!) - before I started my self-love journey I told myself that I didn’t have the right ‘body’ for travel. I didn’t see anyone that looked like me travelling and with the rise of Instagram, I honestly didn’t believe that I could do it too. I said no to trips, cancelled plans I had in place for years and spent a good portion of my twenties refusing to travel further than my local town centre. When I finally started to get my passion for travel back, I realised that it really is for everybody. I was letting how I felt about my body get in the way of me doing something I am really passionate about and as a result, I have built an entire business that focuses on travelling while plus size. If I hadn’t started my self-love journey, I would have missed out on incredible experiences, such as road-trippin’ across America.
Being able to wear what I want with confidence - for as long as I can remember, I lived in leggings and long-sleeved dresses. I’d save hundreds and hundreds of outfits that I wanted to wear on Pinterest but when it came to buying my own outfits, I was too scared to buy anything that was considered remotely fashionable for myself. I had no personal style and honestly, I had absolutely no interest in shopping for clothes. Over the last few years, however, that has changed dramatically. Although I’m still finding my personal style, I’m not afraid to try certain style and trends, even if people believe they’re not for plus size bodies. From cute crop tops to strapless bikinis, if I want to wear something I put on my big girl pants and give it a go. While not everything works out, I have come to discover that there’s more to life than leggings and long-sleeved dresses.
Finding my voice - I mentioned plus size travel above, however, I didn’t mention how much of a passion it has now become for me. After years of not travelling because I hated my body, I realised that I didn’t want anyone else to feel the way that I have in the past and as a result, I became an advocate for plus size people across the world who want to travel. I launched my own website, started speaking on INTERNATIONAL(!!) stages and created a whole movement dedicated to increasing the number of plus size bodies represented in travel marketing. I found my confidence and with that, an incredible and passionate voice came too.
Taking a selfie without a filter - this was definitely a hard thing to do at first and although I still love a good filter on Instagram stories, I have started to be wary of how much they can change our faces and our bodies without realising. From changing the shape of your nose to smoothing out the redness on your skin, I was started to become obsessed with beauty filters and how they made me look and as a result, I was constantly living through a filtered lens. The more I looked at myself without a filter, the more I hated that I didn’t look as nice as I felt when I shared a post to Instagram. Now, I’m able to take a selfie without using a filter AND I have deleted all of the filters that distort your face from my favourites. For someone who couldn’t post a bare-faced selfie for years, I feel like I’ve come such a long way to now be able to post bare-faced and filter-free.
I left diet culture behind - although I have some incredibly hard days and I can revert back to my old ways quite easily, I have finally decided to make diet culture a thing of the past and as a result, my life has changed so so so so much. I no longer feel guilty when I eat certain foods and I exercise because I enjoy it and not because I see it as a punishment. When I’m out with friends, I don’t feel like I have to order the healthiest meal and when it comes to calories, they’re the last thing on my mind when I eat a meal.
Honestly, I could go on for hours when it comes to the ways in which my life has changed since I started my self-love journey but even with the few examples above, I think it’s easy to say that it’s been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Of course, I have had lots of setbacks on the way, but I’m still so proud of how far I have come in such a short space of time.