Katie Bulmer-Cooke: Time to pay yourself a compliment

I can't believe that January is almost over! For many it will mark the end of a successful attempt at Dry January, which is an excellent achievement with a significantly positive impact on your health, but what's next?

Monday, 29th January 2018, 9:10 am
Jogging is a good way to help stay fit and healthy.

So many people simply go back to old habits, because they don’t spend even just a small amount of time planning a new goal for the weeks and months ahead, which is a real shame given the dedication that goes into January.

So let’s keep up the momentum as we move into February, and use this month to focus on an often neglected area of health …body confidence. In a world of Instagram, airbrushing and unrealistic body goals, it’s all too easy to be unnecessarily hard on ourselves about how we look and our size and shape, and while it’s very important to exercise and eat healthily, it’s vital that we learn to love our bodies rather than loathe them.

This is a subject I feel very passionate about, as so many people feel under pressure to look a certain way and increasingly use exercise as a punishment rather than a means to stay fit and healthy.

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We live in a time when everyone wants more, and many people aspire to be like others rather than opting to be the best version of themselves and taking the time to step back, look in the mirror and say, ‘you know what, I’m alright’

So let’s use this month to work on creating a healthy mindset as well as a healthy body, and my number one tip to get started is to unfollow anyone on your social media feed that makes you feel negative about your own body.

It’s time to say goodbye to the over-edited gym selfies, the poses and those who only post photographs of their healthy highlights and never the odd Dairy Milk they had while they were watching Emmerdale.

Then it’s time to stop speaking about yourself negatively because you will begin to believe the words you say and they will stick in your head like glue. I was brought up to believe that if you don’t have anything nice to say to other people, then say nothing at all.

The same is true about how we speak about ourselves. If you continually tell yourself you’re fat or your bum is too big, this will become your truth.

We frequently give other people compliments, but now it’s time to start paying yourself some compliments too.

Rather than always focusing on the things you want to change or dislike about your body, look at the things you do like. Take a few minutes every week to stand in front of the mirror, pick out something you like about yourself and either out-loud or in your own head, pay yourself a compliment and repeat it several times.

Finally, while the current fitness industry trends and language may make you feel that you should be ‘smashing’ and ‘beasting’ your body in the gym, the truth is that exercise should never be a punishment. It should be a positive experience and you should choose the form of exercise that you enjoy and suits your own personal goals.

Here’s to a month of healthy minds as well as healthy bodies.