De-stress

Charlotte Hawkins: Why I’m Body Confident Every Day

For our wellness columnist Charlotte, body confidence doesn’t always come easy – here she tells us why she’s learning to love the skin she’s in

In a world where we’re constantly bombarded by unrealistic images of perfection, whether it’s the latest Instagram post or magazine advert, it’s easy to feel we don’t match up. A key skill I’ve learnt is to be able to stand firm and confident whatever my shape or size. You can hone and tone your body all you like, but you’ll always look your best when you learn to feel happy in your own skin.

Doing the job I do, I am often ‘on show’; whether that’s wearing a gown to a red carpet event or gymwear to a fitness photoshoot. Whatever walk of life you’re in there are always events you want to feel your best for, be it a wedding, a big night out, or a holiday. There may be those lucky people who seem to have an automatic inbuilt confidence, but for most of us, it’s a work in progress. I’ve had to train myself to be more body confident to cope with all situations and use a few tricks to help me on the way.

For me, keeping active on a regular basis and eating well are important to help me feel energised. I try to eat lighter meals and often cut back on bread, potatoes and pasta to avoid feeling bloated. I wear clothes I feel good in, and ones that work with the parts of my body I feel more comfortable with. We are our own worst enemies sometimes when it comes to attitude, and a key thing to work on is shutting down that inner critical voice. You wouldn’t speak to a friend like that, so don’t speak to yourself like that either! And, once in a while try stretching yourself and taking a risk – it’s so liberating.

A particular test for me was BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, where a sparkly leotard is seen as appropriate outerwear… it took me out of my comfort zone, but I soon got to the stage where I didn’t even care!

Here are my top tips for feeling body confident:

1. Keep active and energised

I feel my best when I exercise on a regular basis – it helps with streamlining those wobbly bits, but also to clear your head.

2. Eat lighter meals

Doing this means you won’t get that bloated feeling. I eat lots of salads and vegetables with fish or grilled meat, and eat eggs, nuts, seeds and avocado to stave off any hunger pangs between meals.

3. Give yourself a boost

Ensure you wear clothes you love. Make the most of your appearance – then you’ll feel your best the whole time. Work with your body and accentuate and celebrate the good bits.

4. Tackle that inner critic

Try not to compare yourself to others. ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ to quote former US President Teddy Roosevelt.

5. Take a risk

Push yourself from time to time – wear something a bit daring and get out of that rut.

Health & Wellbeing