7 years ago it was 2010 I was 18 /19 years old on my gap year (no travelling for me), working, teaching and dancing, before going to uni in September of that year. It was also the time where I was in a very unhealthy relationship with food, exercise and my body which I continued with for the next 2 - 3 years even though I was telling myself and everyone around me I was getting better. These are the 7 things I know now which I really wish I had known then
1/ Food tastes way better than skinny feels : In fact that whole saying that was banded around at that time normally with a picture of Kate Moss should never have been allowed air time. Being skinny shouldn't be a driving force of a goal, I wish I had never replaced food with diet coke (which I did a lot) . Food is not the devil and it is there to fuel our body and keep us healthy.
2/ Your looks are not why people like you: When asked why you are friends with your best friends you don't say because she has a good bum, she is a size X, she has ripped abs. You are more likely to say because she is funny, supportive, there to help etc (though I will always say my friends look insane that isn't why I'm their friend. A friendship isn't built on how we all look it is built on personality, trust and like minded values so there isn't a need to pressure yourself to look a certain way to be someones friend. If that is all that there is then is it a true friendship?
3/ A size doesn't define you: No one unless you tell them needs to know what size you are. No one knows when you walk down a street what size clothes you are wearing they may guess but what does it matter. By being a size 6 doesn't make you anymore of a desirable person than being a size 14 and visa versa. All shops seem to work on different sizing for the same bloody size anyway so it is pointless to have a size I have found, instead you just need to find clothes that flatter and enhance your figure. The whole hanging off the body look isn't really working for you Vicki.
4/ Exercise should be for fun not punishment: You had some ice cream the night before, you went out drinking, you were going for a big meal later, you need to burn 1000 calories ... none of these are valid reasons as a need to exercise. Exercise should be fun, to make you fitter, stronger and healthier in order for you to enhance your lifestyle. One of the biggest things I learnt was this and it makes working out a lot easier and those results you want ... they will come as your body will adapt and change but with a positive mindset alongside it.
5/ Dancing is fab but so is rest: You know what isn't fab - Burnout! And I got that a lot as rest was seen as a weakness and it isn't. Our bodies need time to recover they can't be ON all the time. Rest and sleep are vital for our bodies overall health and performance so they don't need to suffer because you think doing something all the time is actually healthy. Because it's not if anything its detrimental to it all.
6/ Eating is not cheating: The worst saying I have ever heard and truly believed at the time. If I was drinking alcohol then I wouldn't eat as that was too many calories, If I was to have a big meal with family or friends then I wouldn't eat for the rest of the day, I was going to have a 'cheat' night aka ice cream, chocolate etc then I wouldn't eat the whole day. Meaning I was starving, meaning I would binge and meaning I would get hammered instantly - all of these are not healthy. Yes now I might make more conscious choices before any of the above and I may focus on getting nutrients in my body and reduce portion sizes slightly but you still need to eat, food is fuel as I have said. Its not a cheat to eat.
7/ Don't let the mind demons win you are worth it: That little voice in your head that is telling you, you look ugly and fat and not worth anyone's time when ever you look in the mirror?? That isn't worthy of your time, it doesn't know what it is talking about. Instead you need to shout louder that you are not any of those things you are way way more. Funny, clever, beautiful, strong, awesome, inspiring and incredible - tell yourself this everyday and don't let them win. In the words of Christina Aguilera 'You are beautiful no matter what they say'
And an additonal one / There is no need to compare yourself you are enough: 'Comparison is the thief of joy' we are all unique and that is what is incredible about us all, even identical twins are different. You don't need to compare and wish you were someone else because you will never be that person because she isn't you. By all means be inspired, motivated and guided by someone but don't feel guilty because you are not like them or live their lifestyle. No one is body goals, they may have a gorgeous figure that you would like to achieve or look insane but so are you !! Aesthetics are great and wanting to look good is what most people want but its about looking good for you, its about feel good and confident for you, its about changing your body from a place of love and doing it through a balanced, healthy way. And most of all its about realising that your body is yours and it is going to change in your way and their body is theirs and will change in their way.
What do you wish you could say to your 18 year old self ???
Love Vicki xxx