body 5The beautiful, funny and fabulous Penny of Lillies and Love invited me to be a part of her #bodyUNashamed campaign – and when I read all about it, I just couldn’t think of a good reason not to get involved with such a worthy project. It made me feel quite depressed when I suddenly realised how few women I knew that hadn’t made negative comments about their bodies, or felt like they had to cover up at some point in our friendship. Pretty much all of them had talked about their flab, picked at the non-existent rolls hanging over their jeans, had a breakdown before a night out because their clothes didn’t look right or even cried because they hated their skin.

There’s so much negativity out there and so much of it is directed at our bodies and the way we look, so much of this doesn’t take into account the amazing things we can do. Why do we look at stretch marks like they are disgusting when they are the mark of carrying a child and bringing it into the world? Why do we feel sick at the sight of that soft roll on our tummies when it is a sign of enjoying life, of eating birthday cake at parties, drinking cocktails and spending nights snuggling on the sofa instead of at the gym? And why do we cover our skin with lotions, make-up and creams in an attempt to turn back time when every line on our face marks a smile we’ve shared and a memory we treasure?body 3Don’t worry – I’m just as guilty. I love make-up and getting dressed up. I love working out at the gym and have been a bit of an addict in the past, and now I find it hard if I slip and get a bit soft around the edges. I’ve never actually had a breakdown, but I’ve certainly felt depressed if I wake up and my skin looks gross or my love handles feel a bit bigger. We all have, some are worse than others, but we’ve all been there. But now Penny is telling the world that this has to stop and – as she is someone who has suffered major body issues, even having plastic surgery at 20 – I think she has a bloody good point. There are 65 bloggers involved in the project and she wants to get us all talking about body image in a positive way – sharing good vibes and changing the way we all think about our bodies. Her message is:

I’d encourage each and every one of you to be proud of who you are and to embrace the #bodyUNashamed mentality. Be healthy, be happy, but never apologise for the way your body looks. Embrace it and help yourself and others to feel good about themselves!

body 4So I’m going to start by talking about what I hate most about my body and how I cope with it. My skin – while I love having a permanent tan – is really sensitive to products and can flare up with eczema and dry, itchy, sore patches at a moment’s notice. It hurts and takes a while to heal, but when it does, often the top layer of skin is damaged and leaves me with white patches – usually on my arms. After working on a tan all summer, this is pretty horrible for me and I find it looks horrible. I’m sure there are a lot of people who wouldn’t even notice it, but I know it’s there and it upsets me. It’s so frustrating when this happens as often there doesn’t appear to be a cause, all I can do is be careful with products and washing powder, and just ignore it. But I certainly will never let it stand in the way of living my life and being happy, and I don’t cover up my arms for anyone.

becky 1My next task is to pick on another blogger, and I have been assigned Becky of Becky Louise Beauty – lucky me because she gives me plenty to write about! At just 18, you can see from her posts and her gorgeous smile what a zest she has for life and her passion for the products she reviews shines through her posts. I love the way she is a bit of a nail addict, as I’m definitely one for the nail varnishes myself. She is really talented at nail art and gives fantastic tutorials on really cute looking nail designs and I’m going to be trying them out myself. She has such a great outlook on life and this is clear from her Twitter feed, and you can tell she must be a great radio presenter and Youtuber.

body 2My final task is to list three things I love about myself – not an easy task for anyone to do, but as Penny says, it is not about boasting – it is about being truthful. Often the mirror and the media will tell us lies, so it is important to be honest with ourselves. I’ve also used photos throughout this post from times when I remember feeling really confident and happy within myself.

  1. My smile – it is the thing that I am always remembered for and it obviously leaves a lasting impression. I’ve always been very lucky with my teeth, they are straight and white and I have no fillings at 24. Plus I love the way that putting a big smile on your face, even when you are feeling down, genuinely makes you, and others feel better. A smile makes the world go round.
  2. My bum – it is pretty big and jubbly and in a town full of white girls with flat ironed rumps, my booty is something spectacular. Sorry girls, I’d always want Beyonce’s butt over skinny old Miley’s – a heck of a lot more comfortable for sitting on!
  3. My muscle – I’ve worked hard to reach the level of fitness I was at before all the festivals and it makes me feel proud, happy and strong to see that my body is still pretty toned despite all the cider. Although I have a lot of work to do to get back to peak fitness again, I really like knowing that my hard work has paid off and I can see the results.

Now it’s your turn – why not share the part of your body you dislike the most, and the parts you love? Seriously, it really changes your outlook when you realise that for one thing you hate, there are three things you love.

Ab Lucy sign off