This was a question from the lovely Claire and I’m so glad she’s asked because this has been such a huge part of my journey to body acceptance and then body love. I’m going to share the things that used to be very challenging for me as the weather was changing and then give advice on how to navigate each one. I’m certain that you’ll be able to relate and if I haven’t spoken about something that you struggle with, please let me know and I’ll make sure that I speak to that in a reel.
Alright, let’s dive in…
I’ve just had to start with this one as this was (and still is) something that is very annoying and uncomfortable for me. It’s also SO common and I don’t think we perhaps realise how many people actually experience this as there is a lot of shame around it, at least there was for me, so people tend to suffer in silence.
Leg chaffing used to be one of my “flags” to show that I has put on too much weight and that I was shameful and disgusting and therefore I needed to do something about it immediately. Sound familiar? You’re not alone my friend.
Here’s the thing though… there’s nothing shameful about it. It’s literally just your legs rubbing together as you walk. That’s it. It doesn’t mean anything about you. Unless you allow it to mean something about you. As I say time and time again, nothing has meaning until we give it one. Heck, we’re meaning making machines as humans and 99.9% of the time we’re living our lives believing what we’ve been taught about what things mean growing up, is the Gods given truth… and that’s not true!
So now we’re on the subject of meaning, we may as make up another meaning as to what it means when our legs rub together and cause chaffing…! Have a go… what could you make it mean? Let’s start with neutrality…
- I have the bone structure of a person whose thighs rub together when they walk.
- I have legs that rub together when I walk.
Now let’s bring some fun positive meaning into it (bc WE get to decide and we get to create the reality we live.)
- I have thick thighs that (apparently?) save lives!
- I have strong and shapely legs.
- I have badass thunder thighs that symbolise a curvaceous and sexy QUEEN. Legs chaffing is just an annoying, unfortunate side effect of that.
What to do about leg chaffing
#1 Choose to give leg chaffing a new meaning either neutral or positive.
#2 Try different products to help you feel as comfortable as possible. I’ve personally tried chub rub and creams but honestly, they just caused my legs to completely stick together which wasn’t comfortable either! The best things that work for me are:
- Use spray deodorant.
- Wear those tight short things at snagtights.com
- Wear some gorgeous flowy high waisted wide leg summer trousers
- Take talc powder in your bag and nip to the loo and douse your inner legs with it 😂
- Walk funny with your legs wide (jokes, I sometimes do that but it’s really not advisable!)
#3 Be kind to yourself. Seriously. Instead of trying to fight it and keep wishing you had smaller legs or a different bone structure or whatever, stop blaming yourself and be kind to yourself. It is what it is. Dieting doesn’t work (it’s the best way to gain weight over time and lose self-esteem in the process), you can’t magically change your body no matter how hard you try, so start practising acceptance… as you have done with however tall you are (or aren’t) or what your eye colour is.
Having the feeling of “how big you are” exaggerated because of how goddamn hot and bothered you are!
When you’re in a small body everything feels so much easier somehow. Clothes fit better, and you don’t get as hot and bothered. (I want to acknowledge that I am currently in a normal-sized body, not a plus-sized body and so I speak only from my limited experience).
Feeling “how big you are” is exaggerated due to the fact that you are simply bigger and so you are naturally just warmer because you have more of you. AND THAT’S OK. More of you to love my Queen!
You may be more aware of your body because other body parts might be touching other body parts… eg your tummy on your legs, your legs on your legs, your boobs on your tummy etc and that can be physically uncomfortable but more so emotionally uncomfortable, due to what you make (or what you’ve been taught to make) that mean.
Physically you can take care of yourself in the best loving way possible. Ask yourself, “What can I do to help myself feel physically better right now?” It might be putting on a soft comfortable low impact sports bra so your boobs are off your tummy. It might be taking a cool shower and then putting on loose PJ bottoms. It might be going to the loo and whipping out your talc…
You can ask yourself the same question from an emotional perspective… “What can I do to help myself feel better emotionally right now?” It may be talking to a friend about how you feel, letting go of the “wishing it were different” and surrendering into what is, reframing what you’re making your body and its “fatness” mean… eg:
“I’m bigger now and that’s because I’ve finally stopped trying to bully and force my body to be smaller. I’m allowing myself and my body to be its natural unsuppressed self. And that feels good. That’s self-love. Strong authentic women don’t suppress their natural body size. A side effect of this may be me feeling more uncomfortable in warmer weather. But that’s ok. I’ve got me. I choose self-love over self-punishment. ❤️ “
Feeling super exposed
It’s hot so we think that we have 2 choices…
- #1 Choose to stay hidden away as much as possible by wearing long sleeves and cardigans and trying to get away with wearing our “safer” clothes for as long as possible and dying with heat in the process as we pretend we’re “not hot at all”… (I used to LOVE the colder weather and DREAD summer because in the cold I could hide easier)
- #2 Wear summer clothes that are cooler and more physically comfortable and suited to the weather BUT feel like we’re in the spotlight for all to see, showing off our “hideous” bodies, wobbling around and making everyone feel uncomfortable…
Those are NOT your only options my love! You can take option 2 and wear whatever feels the most comfortable, work on your body image and self-love and actually NOT GIVE A SHIT about what others might think about your body. Yes, really! That’s what the majority of my work is all about.
Start taking action outside of your comfort zone but within your window of tolerance and start creating new body-affirming experiences for yourself. When you do this, you’ll be showing yourself that it is safe to wear summer clothes. Nothing bad happens. You don’t burst into flames or a plane doesn’t crash just because you wear the dam shorts. Sure, you may experience a lot of self-talk that isn’t pleasant, but we can work on that so that your natural automatic thoughts are compassionate and loving… yep, really.
Your cellulite looks a million times worse
I used to be petrified of the (gorgeous) sun shining on my skin because I knew what it meant… it meant that my cellulite was highlighted for all to see AND THAT WAS BAAAAAD! Relate? Cellulite is bad and we need to spend our entire lives trying to get rid of it. 🤔
Erm, WRONG! Cellulite is normal and over 80% of women have it, so why is it portrayed as the devil? Oh, that’s right, because we spend shit loads of money trying to get rid of this natural expression of how fat is stored on women’s bodies…!
You don’t have to like the way it looks but you can accept it as part of you and your female body. What other choice do you have? I PROMISE, you CAN have cellulite and feel happy, sexy and confident. If you don’t care about it, you are free and if someone else cares about it, that just shows that they are NOT free.
You can worry about your cellulite or you can enjoy your life… what do you choose?
How white you are
It doesn’t just start and end with body size does it? Nope. There’s how tanned we are compared to others. And then there’s what shade of brown our skin turns compared to others.
I used to be obsessed with the sunbed to the point where I’d go on it every single day for months at a time! 😱 Just so I could be as brown as possible. Why? Because if I didn’t have the body I wanted, at least I could be brown! And what was so important about being brown? We are conditioned to believe it’s desirable, sexy, and attractive. And whether it is or it isn’t, that’s personal preference AND not something we should base our self-worth and safety on and become obsessed in the process.
Again, this points to radical self-acceptance. Accepting yourself fully as you are. If you want to tan, tan but ask yourself WHY? Also, ask, is it pleasurable to do? Do you enjoy lying in the sun or going to a sunbed or is it something you force yourself to do in order to get browner? And is it flexible (meaning if you couldn’t tan then would you freak out about it?) You’ll know from your answers if you have a healthy relationship with tanning.
When you’re hot and bothered your whole body just seems to swell up. Which of course makes everything worse if you’re already struggling with body acceptance. What’s so wrong with swelling? Well, swelling means bigger and bigger is not ok, right?
Swelling is actually just your body doing its clever thing.
“Swelling occurs when the blood supply to the skin increases which also radiates heat; fluid moves out of the blood vessels and into the tissues causing swelling. AND In the summer, body weight can go up by several pounds due to increased body water. This is accomplished through fluid-conserving hormones such as aldosterone, which allows the kidney to retain more fluid and reduces the amount of salt in sweat, a measure that also aids in water retention.”
Our bodies are SO smart yet we hate or dislike them unless they look how we want them to look. Sad when you think about it. I love my body now, she is amazing and I truly see her as a miracle. So instead of hating that your ankles, hands, face, feet and whatever else are swollen, spend a bit of time appreciating what your incredible body is doing.
You are where your attention is and so if you’re constantly allowing yourself to thought spiral into how much you hate your body then STOP. You are NOT your thoughts, you are the thinker of your thoughts. You have the power to choose what you think in response to the automatic thoughts of your brain. And FYI those automatic thoughts change when you keep CHOOSING new and empowering thoughts until eventually, your automatic thoughts ARE empowering.
What all of these have in common…
Each one of the points that I’ve spoken about signpost to fear of judgement. Think about it… if you didn’t care what others thought about you then you wouldn’t be worried about all of the above. Fear of judgement is wired into every human but we CAN overcome this and live our lives at peace with who we are, knowing that people with judge us both positively and negatively but not being concerned about that. Welcome to planet Earth, where people judge people all the time.
In evolutionary terms, fear of judgement makes sense as relating to the need to survive in society. For our ancestors, being evaluated favourably, rather than judged for any shortcomings, would have meant a higher chance of survival.
Judgement in general is hard-wired in the brain. Judging is easy and pretty much automatic. Our brains are wired to make automatic judgments about others’ behaviours so that we can move through the world without spending much time or energy understanding everything we see.
The magic here is when you stop negatively judging yourself, you’ll be able to let go of the potentiality that others will be judging you negatively. The external world is simply a mirror. And those that DO judge you and your body are only mirroring back to them themselves…
If you want to be supported with how to let go of the fear of judgment and to love yourself and your body unconditionally, explore the different ways you can work with me.