Katie Bulmer-Cooke: Stop chasing the ideal 

Health and fitness expert Katie Bulmer-Cooke is on a mission to get women to start being ‘filter-free’ when it comes to their health

Today we seem to be bombarded with and dominated by perfect air-brushed images of girls in bikinis on social media platforms.

So is it any wonder that us girls have hang ups about our bodies? 

It’s high time women stop putting themselves down and focusing on the things they don’t like about their bodies.

We must understand that often all is not what is seems on social media. These ‘perfect’ images of women aren’t a true representation at all. Often they’ve contorted their bodies into a pose that makes them look slimmer and smoothed out their cellulite by using a filter. There are even apps that enable women to shrink down their waists!

We need to get real with each other, and instead of focusing on trying to be like those we see on social media, we should focus on looking after ourselves and stop being so harsh on ourselves.

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

It is 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. It’s that simple.

So, here are my small steps to better health, bigger smiles and banishing the body image pressure.

Go herbal 

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

Add 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.

Sleep well 

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

Believe the hype 

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 

I’m not suggesting that you pace the streets having a full conversation with yourself. I’m 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. 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.

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