Find a great role model and boost self-esteem

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Inspiring change is what this month is all about and that is the title that was given to International Women’s Day which was held earlier this month.

Inspirational women are all around us and often it can just be someone you know who has a great and powerful influence on you.

More often than not though we (and that includes the younger generation) find that we are inspired and influenced by women we see in the media.

Role models for the younger generation sadly often come in the form of TV stars, models and pop stars.

So it’s not surprising that we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see. That is generally because we tend to focus on the parts of our bodies that we don’t like and are being constantly bombarded with unrealistic images on TV and in magazines.

Our eyes will immediately focus on those areas that we are unhappy with and the rest just tends to blur into insignificance.

Are you happy with the skin that you are in?

A great question...There must be some things about yourself that you really like or even love, so why not take time to really look at yourself from head to toe and remind yourself of all those good things instead of comparing yourself to others.

How we see ourselves can be shaped by the images of beauty we see on a daily basis, through different types of media, through verbal messages we are given every day from the people around us and by the voices in our heads more often than not!

How we feel about ourselves in truth isn’t really what we see or what other people see but a picture we have built in our heads. Mental health therefore is the first step to being content with ourselves.

Being grateful for the things you love about yourself will help you have a better attitude towards how you look and how you feel.

Wearing clothes that flatter your assets is another great way to focus on your strengths and finding a positive role model, an inspirational woman, helps me greatly.

That person may not be super fit or super skinny but I can relate to their achievements, struggles, hardships and positivity.

For me that person won’t be someone who is constantly in the media having dropped weight drastically doing a faddy diet only to be photographed a few months later having put most of the weight back on.

It won’t be someone who uses their sexuality and body to sell their latest album or

to promote their latest venture.

Sadly we are constantly bombarded with these types of people and it just becomes normal to pick up a magazine and read about how the latest crazy diet will help you lose weight really quickly or some ‘magic pill’ to make you thin. Surely healthy is better than skinny, right?

A more positive role model is someone that you look up to and admire.

That could be your mum or another family member, or it could be a great friend or someone you work with.

The next time you look at yourself in the mirror and compare yourself to others, remember it’s more about having habits that will keep you healthy and not about putting massive pressure on yourself to look or be a certain way.

You can make small changes to your diet which will mean that you lose weight healthily and gradually, you can make small changes to your activities to make sure that you move each day (which we are designed to do) and you can definitely make more of the good things that you were born with.

I really hope this has inspired you to think a little differently about yourself and to love the skin that you were born with instead of hiding it away.

· Nikki Caputa is a health and fitness coach who works one-to-one with clients and runs her own fitness camps in Fareham where she trains groups. Nikki is also an ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and a UK Hypo-presive Method Trainer. She helps people master a fitness technique that targets the core. Visit fab-body-fitness.co.uk. Follow Nikki on Twitter @nikkifitmum1