Strathclyde Telegraph

As I Was Saying: We Need To Talk About The Body Image Battle

Winter can bring body image more to the front than summer does. You’re shaking your head, because yeah, the magazines make a big deal about ‘summer bodies’. Just hear me out.

Body image can hit this level of suck because everywhere you look; social media, magazines, your friends are all banging on about how they don’t want to get fat. How they are getting fat. How they’re going to be ‘eating my way through December’ but will bemoan gym memberships and New Year’s resolutions like nobody’s business. This season of winter cheer and holiday feels suddenly turns into an almighty guilt trip.

We have deadlines on top of that; stress over essays and exams, cold days and cold nights, dark evenings that bring us to a slow and sluggish stop. We may also have a devious redbull/caffeine habit we need to kick before heading home for Christmas.

Suddenly we’re finished with exams, essays and reports. It’s the time where we no longer need to feel guilty about drinking Christmas coffee or playing Mariah Carey at full blast, because it’s Christmas and we get to see our friends. Old and new. Don our Christmas jumpers, wear fancier clothes for parties and catch-up drinks. Happiness is as infectious as singing Christmas songs.

But then there’s a sudden drop.

We look ourselves in the mirror and pick apart each limb, critical of skin texture and size. Lecturing ourselves over study snacks or missing a gym workout. We hit our low level of confidence in the months draped in dark evenings. Why? What makes us so critical of ourselves when we’re meeting the ones we love?

Let’s talk about winter body image, ladies and lads. It’s time for some truth-talkin’.

Winter can make us blue. It’s okay to admit that. More people get blue around winter time than you may think. Add the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on top and we make comparison our critical new friend. She gets spiteful, our Instagram timelines filling up with said models, remarking how ‘goals’ their bodies are.

We might reply with Honey Boo Boo gifs, but we don’t need to compare ourselves to underwear models. We don’t. It isn’t our job to be VS models. If you really want to be the next Candice Swanepoel do it! Aim for the goal and succeed. But don’t feel you have to, just because someone captioned an Insta with ‘goals’. Push away the pressure to be identical to someone’s body.

Let’s be honest. Why do we focus so much on another woman’s body? Right now, our body is functioning even when we overload it with coffee, deprive it of sleep and push our brains to the limits. Don’t you know the truth? Your body is your own! Your vessel to carry you through the rest of your life. Your first home before home was home. The thing that may birth your children, finish a marathon, climb a mountain. And all the while dancing in clubs, singing loudly and laughing, laughing, laughing. The one thing that’s like nobody else’s, the same way a snowflake is never the same. Your body is a snowflake. Not the way Tomi Lahren might tweet about, no way. A real life snowflake. A freaking wonderful one like that.

No one will love, care and look after your body like you can. Not even cute humans with nice smiles. Just you. I mean it. Like the way your body looks after you, you have to look after it. Don’t be mad at it because it doesn’t wear underwear the same way a VS model does. Don’t tell it off. Don’t punish your body. But do love it. Love its bumps and wobbles, even when comparison wishes to whisper in your ear, filling it with critical thoughts.

Negative body days suck, especially when the Scottish sun is in short supply. They do. But what multi-million dollar fashion shows won’t let on? Is the fact you look damn good girls, just as you are. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Own it. Be bold, brave and let the winter blues be a battle you know you’ll win.

By Lou Ramsay