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All About The Bass! 7 Amazing Things Happen When You Stop Worrying About Body Size

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All About The Bass! 7 Amazing Things Happen When You Stop Worrying About Body Size

I am woman, therefore I complain about my body. It’s innate. It’s a genetic predisposition. It started in middle school, when shit got real. It got worse in high school because that’s when my body began to change. That’s also when boys became interested in bodies that belonged to Victoria’s Secret models, or Sports Illustrated models, or girls without names in calendars or posters or magazines.

To be fair, they were interested in my body, but mainly because my body was realistically within their reach. At least more than, say, one of Victoria’s girls. College was no better, especially living in Southern California. The girls at my college were STUNNING. And skinny. I was thin because I worked my ass off running several miles a day, hitting the gym several times a week, and eating so little I developed an eating disorder. All this because I wanted (needed) to look the way society said I should look in a bikini.

I was killing myself in the process. Mentally, emotionally and physically. It affected my relationship before and after I got married. It got so bad, I was scared to get pregnant because I knew I’d get fat.

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But then something happened. Years later, myself and my two children were diagnosed with serious heart conditions and I was forced to give up control. My body size was the least of my concerns. I was busy worrying about keeping myself and my two children alive. Ironically, it gave me incredible freedom. This is what happens when you finally stop worrying about your body size and start to live your life.

1. You stop comparing yourself to others.

When you’re not obsessed with the size of your body, you won’t compare yours to other bodies. Often, body size is only the beginning. We compete with others when it comes to looks, wallets and assets. We forget about inner beauty and life happiness. The minute you stop comparing yourself to others, you begin to enjoy people for who they are, not what they look like or what they have. It’s not easy to do, but worth it in the long run. No one was meant to be the same.

2. You allow yourself to experience more by giving up control.

Once you give up the control, you’re free. You’re able to experience things you’ve never allowed yourself to do in the past. You’re no longer a slave to the scale; you’re no longer identified by a number (weight, BMI, body fat). You’re free to eat the dessert, stay in bed all day, or play with the kids instead of counting calories, dieting and hitting the gym. Spontaneity is doable when you relax and allow yourself to live.

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3. You learn to look beyond the mirror.

You have so much more to offer this world besides what you see (or don’t see) in the mirror. Once you figure out the important stuff in life, you realize people are important for who they are, not what they look like. That includes you. None of your dreams, hopes or goals should be stifled by your body size. Unless you have a magic mirror that shows your inner beauty, stop judging yourself solely by what you see in the mirror.

4. You change your relationship status.

When you forget about an ideal body size, you immediately have a new relationship with food. It’s no longer the enemy. It’s okay to sample that molten chocolate lava cake because you no longer need to restrict yourself. You don’t need to punish yourself for eating something “bad” because nothing is taboo anymore. Once you free yourself of the food/hate/body size trap, there’s no more guilt or self-hate. You learn to love yourself, no matter what your body size.

Before anyone else, you’re in a relationship with yourself. Make it a good one. Make it a healthy one.

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5. You won’t be afraid to wear clothes (or not wear them).

Once you forget about your body size, clothes won’t scare you. Go ahead and wear that dress. Get out your bathing suit. Put on those dance shoes. Better yet, get *cough* naked. Sex is better when you’re not freaking out about your body or being embarrassed by it. Let go and enjoy. Turn the damn lights ON. It’s likely your partner is happy with your body, with clothes and without.

6. Your partner will thank you.

He or she has been waiting for you. The real you. Someone to eat with, laugh with, play with, and enjoy life with. Someone to touch who doesn’t recoil from worry or embarrassment. Someone who doesn’t try to control them, what they do or don’t do, what they eat, drink, etc. Someone who doesn’t spend all day hating herself or asking, “Does this make me look fat?” because we all know that’s a loaded question. Someone who can look at a magazine picture and not be fazed by a good-looking, highly photoshopped model, because she knows she is beautiful, too.

 7. You learn what’s really important in life.

Here’s a hint: it’s not how big your body is; it’s how big YOUR LIFE is.

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I have a heart condition. It’s serious. I also live in Southern California, which means I’m at the beach. A lot. What do these have to do with each other? Nothing, except how I look in my bathing suit is no longer my priority. The fact that I’m alive and well and able to get in the ocean or get on that surfboard with my child is now more important than my appearance. Trust me, some days I feel too big to be in my bikini. Other days, I couldn’t care less. Those are the good days. It’s still a battle, but for the most part, I’m free.

I’m beautiful.

So is a Victoria’s Secret model, and that’s okay.

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Featured photo credit: rooftop pool/Whatsername? via flickr.com

More by this author

Missy Mitchell

Author, Artist, Advocate

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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