Katie Bulmer-Cooke: Take a side order of realism

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The Easter holidays are well and truly over, so it’s time to wave the kids off into school and wave good bye to the Easter eggs.

Yes, that’s right…step away from the chocolate and say hello to getting back into the swing of more healthy habits.

Last week I gave you my top fitness favourites to follow on social media, as the internet is an awesome place to find fitness inspiration, but occasionally, sadly it can have the opposite effect.

There is an emerging culture of people wanting to look like the people they follow online and putting way too much pressure on themselves.

The reality is that this pressure is counterproductive to creating a happy and healthy lifestyle and rather than striving to be like someone else, you should be striving to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

The internet is a wonderful place, packed with tips, advice and inspiration but it needs to come with a side order of realism too.

It’s time to fully understand that the people we see on social media aren’t always real.

Many have been edited using apps. They’ve smoothed out their cellulite, they’ve shrunk down their waists and they’ve contorted their bodies into a pose that makes them look slimmer.

We have enough to juggle with working, running businesses, managing home life and family, without the added pressure of negative self talk about our bodies.

It’s time to simply start looking after ourselves better, which doesn’t mean overhauling your whole lifestyle on Monday.

What it really means is taking small steps to a healthier and happier you, because when you become healthier, you look healthier and you feel happier...simple.

So, here are my small steps to better health, bigger smiles and banishing the body image pressured (all of which are much needed after an overindulgent Easter)…

Swap fizzy drinks and excess coffee for water and herbal tea.

Eat in colour!

Instead of reaching for the beige, dead, processed foods such as crisps, bread, pasta and biscuits go for a variety of fresh colourful foods such as spinach, peppers, oranges, salmon, carrot, grapes, sweet potato and broccoli.

These foods are very nutrient dense, they help to banish the bloat and don’t leave you with that awful sluggish feeling.

Get some quality sleep. Everything feels better after a good night sleep and you feel much more like you could take on the world.

Take the compliments that are given to you.

When someone says ‘wow, you look great’, simply answer with ‘thank you’, instead of something like ‘oh it’s only because I’m wearing black’ or ‘no I don’t, I’ve got loads of weight to lose.’

Don’t deflect compliments from others, just soak them up and allow yourself to believe them.

Talk to yourself.

No, I’m not suggesting that you pace the streets having a full conversation with yourself.

But what I am saying that when you look in the mirror stop prodding and pulling at your ‘fat bits’ and reiterating how much you hate certain parts of your body or your look.

Instead, flip it, and in your head or out loud give yourself a compliment, even if it’s just a small one, such as ‘my hair looks good today’ or ‘I look much healthier.’

The more positive reinforcement you give yourself the more you will believe it.

So let’s stop focusing on chasing an ideal body and instead let’s focus on building health and confidence.