Meet Stevie Blaine, the body positive boy who is changing the face of body acceptance on Instagram. Stevie, best know as Bopo Boy, is spreading his message of positivity, self-love and inner strength, one Instagram post at a time.

Why body positivity?

The biggest motivator for me to start my Instagram account about body positivity was because I wanted to create the media that I needed to see as a young boy/teenager. I think growing up I always knew that I looked different to everyone else, so I was always looking for outside validation to make me feel like I belonged somewhere. I looked to media like TV and magazines and when I was growing up there was nothing that represented me, no one looked like me and it was just the same body type everywhere.

That just made me feel even more alone and that my body was the problem, which led to me going through multiple diet cycles which took me down some really dark paths like binge eating and excessive exercise habits, all sorts really.

Instagram used to be my motivation to lose weight. I would follow lots of inspo pages and fitness accounts to try and motivate myself to lose weight. One day I went onto those accounts after I think I failed some sort of Slim Fast shake or other ridiculous diets, I went on the explore feed and instead of the usual fitness models I found a plus sized girl.

At that point I thought holy sh*t, I’ve literally spent the past 6 to 7 years just trying to be skinny and I haven’t done anything other than try to be skinny. That’s when I started Bopo Boy to try and document my journey to self-love. It’s turned into a really great thing that has completely changed my life.

stevie, bopo boy, blaine, body positivity, instagram

Do you think there is enough male representation in the body positive community?

I think we’re the smallest minority of people within an already marginalised group of people which can be really difficult. While you do get plus sized male models, that fit into the body positive community, in terms of people that speak frankly about their journey to self-love and men’s body image and masculinity, I’ve never found another page within the UK.

What were you like when you were younger, and have you always been so body confident?

I was completely different to where I am now. I would wear clothes that were way too big for me so that people would never see me, it got to a point where I would avoid everything, I would never look in the mirror, never try on clothes and generally do all I could to deflect attention away from me. 

I was incredibly insecure about my body. My way of dealing with that was to be that horrible person who would deflect it onto other people, so I was miserable about myself and I would deflect my insecurities onto other people. It was the only way that I knew how to deal with my own issues. 

Another coping mechanism that I had was to make a joke of myself before other people had the chance to, that way when people called me fat it wouldn’t be funny because I had already said it.

It was a really long journey, even when I met my husband I don’t think I took all my clothes off in front of him for a long, long time.  Because I have lost a lot of weight I have had several different body issues, firstly it was my size, then my excess skin and other issues like that, but I can now recognize how far I have come. Sometimes even now I’ll be walking down the street and think, “Wow, 10 years ago I would never have been able to confidently wear this”.

Do you still have ‘meh’/’bleugh’ days, when you don’t feel so confident?

I do still have days like that, not that often to be honest. I’m at a point where I really appreciate everything my body gives to me. When I do have those ‘bleugh’ days I try to think about where that feeling is coming from and why I am feeling like that. Even though I exist primarily online to fight diet culture, these things are still so intrusive and can still affect me.

stevie, bopo boy, blaine, body positivity, instagram, equal rights, coffee, t-shirt

Do you ever get hate comments online?

I do. I have a pretty thick skin and most of the time the comments from trolls don’t bother me at all. My worry is that a lot of people following me are recovering from eating disorders themselves, and they might be a little bit more wobbly in terms of their body image than I am. My worry is that the comments could affect them, that’s why I try to remove any negative comments as quickly as possible.

Recently, there was an article about me in the Daily Mail that went viral, because of that I had loads of nice comments but also lots of hate directed towards me. There were over 4,500 negative comments on that article alone. When I was looking through them my husband said “Why are you reading through them?!”, I just wanted to see what people were saying and see what people who weren’t in the community thought about these sorts of things.  To me, the hate comments I get are usually based around my sexuality rather than my body. It will always be from the same type of men who send me dick pics in my DM’s…

Do you follow any other body positivity based accounts that you love?

I love @bodyposipanda, she is basically my BOPO fairy god-mother. When this whole thing started I made a video about men’s body insecurities and she saw it. She messaged me and asked if I had ever thought about making an Instagram account. At first, I was slightly hesitant but she actually helped me brainstorm the name of the account and everything, so I basically think she is the best thing ever.

In terms of guys, there’s a plus sized male model called Notoriously Dapper, we’ve been on a few panels together and he’s just really sweet. He’s a person of colour and talks about how body image can be a weird subject for straight men.  He’s just really brilliant. There’s also a guy called A Bear Named Troy who’s a plus sized model and he’s also just so great. He gives the middle finger to the typical stereotypes associated with being a man.

stevie, bopo boy, blaine, body positivity, instagram, selfie

How did you discover the BOPO community?

Instagram has definitely been the driving force and I found it through Instagram.  From the bopo community, I found the eating disorder recovery side of Instagram which has really made such a positive impact on my life.

What is your favourite part of your body?

I do genuinely love my whole body but there are still parts that I feel less confident about. I think my favourite part of my body is the part that I was most ashamed of and that’s my torso area. People see photos of me and stop and stare at it, whereas just walking down the street people wouldn’t know because I just wear a size medium. I find it starts a conversation which is amazing, so that’s now my favourite part of my body.


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On Christmas Eve 2007, Royal Marines Commando Mark Ormrod was on patrol in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan when he stepped on and triggered an Improvised Explosive Device. This resulted in both his legs being amputated above the knee and his right arm amputated above the elbow. Since then, Mark Ormrod has become an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, a sponsored athlete, performance coach, fundraiser for multiple charities and the author of the award-winning autobiography Man Down.

Placed in your circumstances, many would write off ever visiting a gym or participating in sport again. What motivated you to start being active after your accident?

In the beginning, my motivation was driven by both gratitude and curiosity. Before my injuries, working out and staying fit was a huge part of my life. Afterwards, I was acutely aware of how lucky I was to be left with one fully functioning arm. I recognised that it meant the possibility of keeping working out as a big part of my life. Once I healed, I was curious to see what I was still able to do. I decided to find out by visiting the gym and beginning to experiment. Admittedly, the first session was quite frustrating, but afterwards, I experienced the familiar rush of endorphins and realised it was something that I had to persist with.

What advice would you give people feeling anxious about starting the gym?

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to take the plunge and get your foot through the door. For many, this is the often the hardest part due to a fear of judgement. If you do feel judged or unwelcome at your gym, it’s definitely worth having a shop round to find the best one for you. Bring a friend to relieve your anxiety and to have fun with working out.

If you can’t muster the confidence to get to the gym quite yet, why not start out by working out at home? If you’re able-bodied there is no end to the amount of exercises you can do just using your own body weight, all available to find online.

How should first-timers best kick-start their fitness journey?

By having goals! A lot of people quit early on because they have nothing to aim for or work towards and so going to the gym becomes a chore. Before you set out sit down and write out what you want to achieve, then put a quick plan together and then get out there, get stuck in and make it happen.

How can people overcome others’ doubts?

Overcome other’s doubts by using these as fuel to prove them wrong. I have done this throughout my life, particularly when things get tough. It does not matter how the deck may be stacked against you: if you fix your mind on the objective you will achieve. Go under, over or around any obstacles that might be in your way until you get to your destination. Bear in mind that it may take a little longer than anticipated – the key is to be consistent with your actions and keep moving forward.

How did exercise boost your confidence?

The endorphins released during exercise create a natural high which in turn increases confidence. Moreover, once you start seeing and feeling the results this too contributes – my own confidence increased by feeling fitter, stronger, faster and more capable.

Did it have any other psychological benefits?

It made me happier and more pro-active in my daily life. Furthermore, it gave me more energy, allowing me to perform better in my life both physically and mentally. I believe exercise to be the most under-utilised medication we have – it combats such an array of issues, including anxiety and depression.

If you need to talk – sign up to our free community to get answers to your questions from likeminded people and our trained digital mentors.

You can find out more about Mark Ormrod on his website or follow his Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/markormrod/

Meet the latest addition to our squad of ambassadors: Jake Graf. As a director, Jake’s latest film shines a light on the experiences of transgender people and what its like to be trans in a society that doesn’t know you exist. Here’s what happened when we caught up with Jake…

DTL: Hi Jake, Thanks for chatting with us! As a writer, actor and award-winning director, it’s safe to say you have had some pretty impressive achievements! Can you tell us a bit about why you wanted to get involved with DTL?

Jake: Ditch the Label is such an important project and charity, it’s an honour to be involved! As someone who grew up feeling very much like an outsider, being bullied at school and turning to some pretty destructive behaviour because I had no one to look up to, I’m really aware of just how important it is to have visible role models for younger LGBTQIA kids today. When I hear and read daily about the continued and relentless bullying of gay, bi, trans and queer kids in schools it just makes me more determined to do anything I can to help make it stop. Whether that’s being visible, making films that help people better understand us or just being someone that younger folk can reach out to and talk to, then I’m happy to do it.

DTL:  You recently created a short film about the everyday struggles that trans people face. Talk us through the inspiration behind it all?

Jake: Last year’s ‘Headspace’ short film came about after an evening out with several trans friends describing some of their most awkward moments as ‘passing’ trans people and how certain situations could sometimes be harder because no one could tell that they were trans. The voice-over allowed the viewer to really get inside the heads of the actors in the film, and see things from our perspective. From the gym towel changing scene to the struggles with being misgendered over the phone and the challenges of using public toilets, they were scenarios that really resonated with the broader trans community, while also helping the cisgender community better understand how difficult seemingly innocuous daily experiences can be for us.


Photo credit: Paul Grace

DTL: You also starred in The Danish Girl, a film that tells the true story of the first trans woman in history to undergo gender reassignment surgery. How has trans visibility developed in the film industry over the years?

Jake: When I was a kid growing up in the 90’s there was no trans representation whatsoever in the media or in movies, and it made me feel like a lonely little weirdo who would never be happy or find anyone to love or accept me for who I was. I didn’t even know trans men existed until I was about 16! Trans visibility in film has certainly increased, but whereas until just a few years ago trans characters were either the punchline of the joke, the murderer or the person who dies at the beginning of the film, now we are seeing much more realistic, authentic and diverse trans roles on screen. Sadly those parts are still being played mainly by cisgender actors, but that will change too as more trans actors gain exposure. It does still tend to be trans women that we are seeing rather than trans guys, but gradually more men are gaining visibility and I’m determined to cast as many of them as I can!

DTL: As a director and a trans activist who plays a huge role in contributing to positive change in trans representation, do you think this is a positive development?

Jake: I know from personal experience how vital it is to be able to look out at the world and see other people just like you, but while some folk feel that any representation is a positive thing, I very much believe that we must be pushing for positive representation that will not only show the world that we exist, but that we too can be happy, successful and productive people who really aren’t so different to everyone else!

DTL: As someone who’s frequented their fair share of magazine covers, tell us a bit about the journey you’ve had with body confidence?

Jake: When I was little my mum let me have my very curly hair cut quite short, and I was largely able to wear what were considered ‘boys’ clothes and so spent much of my youth trying my best just to ‘pass’ as male, despite everyone around me endlessly telling me otherwise. I was filled with a feeling of absolute dread as puberty approached because I knew that my body was about to change almost unrecognisably and that life was about to get much harder, which of course it did. Knowing that I could no longer get away with telling people I was a boy, I tried my best to blend in with the girls and grew my hair long, tried wearing feminine clothes, and started hanging out with the girls, which I’d never done before. That was even harder because I felt like I was faking it and I just ended up with crushes on all of my female friends! I remained desperately unhappy in my body for the next decade, hating my own reflection, hunching over to hide my chest and becoming very withdrawn.


Photo credit: Paul Grace

“When I finally started my medical transition I thought that everything would change the second I had my first testosterone shot, which of course it didn’t! What did change though was that I finally had a glimmer of hope that one day I would be able to live life as a happy, normal guy.”

Finally comfortable and confident enough to go to the gym, I began getting in shape and actually started to like my body. It took a lot of hard work, and I’ll never be one of the ‘big’ guys in the gym, but I finally saw myself looking back at me in the mirror. Being asked to appear on magazine covers was truly mind-blowing, and something I wish the 15-year-old me had been able to see. It certainly would have made things a bit easier back then!

DTL: 
On the DTL blog, we try to be as helpful as we can on advising people how to be a better trans ally. As someone who has written about this topic before, do you have any advice to offer?

Jake: I think that it’s really important to respect a trans person’s identity and identification and to make them feel as safe as possible in a world that is often a scary and uncertain place. Aside from the basic rules such as never outing someone, never asking about their surgeries, birth name, pre-transition photos or genitals, I would hope that an ally would just treat us with the same consideration and care that they would anyone else. I would also say that if you witness homophobia, transphobia or biphobia, speak out, make it clear that it’s not acceptable, and show support to those that aren’t strong enough to do so without you. It may seem like a small thing to you, but you could just be saving someone’s life.

DTL: On our community, we offer support to young people who could do with someone to talk to about gender-related bullying and other gender-related issues. Do you have any words of encouragement for someone who might be struggling at the moment?

Jake: I know that this may sound like a cliché, but things really do get better:

“You will find your tribe and your people, friends that love and accept you for exactly who you are.”

More often than not, your close family will eventually come round. If they don’t, then that’s absolutely THEIR loss and certainly not your fault. Some people are just scared of what they don’t understand and will run from it out of instinct. I know that doesn’t make it better but if someone keeps putting you down, it’s more often that they’re unhappy with who they are. Try not to let it make you doubt how amazing and brave you are just for being yourself.


At some point, you will have probably been told that your uni years are the best years of your life. This may be true for a whole lot of people, but it’s an ideal that comes with a whole lot of pressure. When the university life isn’t living up to expectations, its common to think “what am I doing wrong?”,”Am I not making the most of my time here?”…

Truth is, sometimes uni really doesn’t feel like the best years of your life, and that’s okay! University is a different experience for everyone, and these 10 YouTubers are proof of exactly that

Here’s what they have to say about uni being the “best years of your life”:

Jack Edwards

“Please never apologise for finding university tough; whether that’s for one day, one week, or even a whole term. You are more than entitled to feel this way, and persevering, working hard, and fighting on is just another part of the education you’re here to attain!”


Grace

“University is different for everyone and it’s okay if it’s not your cup of tea! It’s okay not to be the most sociable person on campus and to choose to keep to yourself or not go out partying.



Dylan

 

“Everyone has their ups, downs and concerns. Everybody questions if university was the right choice, even my self. Me and my friends while conversing several months back agreed that so far “university hasn’t been the best time of our lives” which is what we were instantaneously lead to believe.

For me its the creative side of things, no longer the clubbing aspect which is arguably the norm… This year I am focused on the positives, me doing me! Since this change, I am sure university is about to become one of the best experience in my life to date (p.s. I have always enjoyed university) “


Lucy Wood

“Putting yourself into a whole new world, complete with all new faces, new habits and a new routine is never going to be easy – so chuck homesickness and work stress in the mix too and it totally makes sense that some people find university isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I really struggled to find ‘my people’ at uni, and drifted through my time there without ever really feeling settled or totally happy. In the end, I didn’t really find them until after uni through my work and hobbies like blogging and YouTube.

Unfortunately, you might find that uni might not be the time of your life that everyone yells about and that’s totally normal. Remember that no one is having as good a time as they seem to be on Instagram. Sometimes it’s okay to just keep your head down, hit your grades, collect your degree and move through a chapter of your life because you need to. That’s as long as you’re not unhappy, of course.

Remember that there’s always something better just waiting for you around the corner, so think of this chapter as a learning curve and get excited for the next one to start, whether you decide to stick it out or head down a different path. Everything always works out in the end.”


Phoebe Slee

“University.. “some of the best years of your life”- I for one can say that uni was far from that for me. I felt lonely and down most weeks and it wasn’t until I opened up about how I felt that I realised some of the people I was surrounded by felt the exact same way. It relieved a lot of built up pressure in my mind and only made me happier. I’ve come to realise that it’s ok to not enjoy university the same way everyone insists you will, everyone has their own unique experience, embrace the journey and learn from it.. but don’t suffer in silence. It’s truly amazing how simply talking can comfort the mind.”


Curtis Roscoe

“There is not one set University experience, these 3 years of your life can be great however they don’t dictate your life.


 


 

Lydia Greatrix

“It’s okay to feel overwhelmed when you’re at university – you’re thrown into a new surrounding, often a new city, with many different people from lots of different backgrounds. The expectations of ‘uni is the best time in your life’ can be too much for some to handle. If you ever feel low whilst you’re at university, speak to someone about it – your coursemates, tutor, or Student Services at your uni.

It’s also easy to give into peer pressure if everyone around you is into alcohol and partying. But guess what, if you would rather stay in and watch Netflix, that’s totally okay too! Always stay true to yourself – don’t change just to make others happy. Real friends will support you – and they may even offer to join you in watching a movie or two!”

 


Dungarees Donuts

“University; one of the best times of your life. But also the worst. For us suffering with mental health, it can be one of the most challenging times. Making new friends, most of us living in a new place, constantly experiencing things out of our comfort zones.It’s important to remember, you’re not alone. University will be the making of you, I promise.”



Amy

“University is portrayed in the media to be the best years of your life where you meet your best friends, have endless drunken nights out and have so many exciting stories to tell, but this isn’t always the case. It is up to each individual as to what experience is gotten from university. Although I loved my university experience, it wasn’t necessarily what was portrayed in the media. I wasn’t a member of a sport society, I didn’t go out every Saturday without fail and I didn’t come home with a memorising story every day. Sometimes, my mental health wasn’t the best and these were the moments that I found really hard. Perhaps surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one feeling this way during my experience. Remember, It’s normal and it is okay.”


Are you at uni and want to help others who may be struggling? Sign up for our ambassador programme here: 


“I’m changing misconceptions about deafness…”

Growing up as a deaf child and teenager in a hearing world was not easy. I tried hard to fit in and socialise with my hearing peers but society was, and still is quite judgemental. I was known as “the deaf girl” – the one that peers didn’t want to associate with because I was somewhat different…

I think it was just a lack of deaf awareness and not knowing how to communicate with me. My friends left me out, group classroom situations were never accessible and people didn’t bother repeating themselves if I didn’t hear them the first time. Later on, I realised who my true friends are – the ones who made an effort to include me.

My pet hate is when someone introduces me to someone else as “This is Ellie, she’s deaf.” To me, it’s a label and it makes it sound like that’s all I am. For example, my old boss who was not deaf aware at all, always introduced me (while over-enunciating) with my ‘label’. People’s instant reactions were: shock/horror! ‘How are we going to communicate with this person?!’ And slowly… backed away as if I was an alien!

You wouldn’t introduce someone like:
“This is Marie, she has one leg”
“This is Shaun, he’s gay”
“This is Will, he’s in a wheelchair”

Try instead:
“This is Ellie, she’s 21, loves swimming and blogging”

Deafness is just a part of me, it doesn’t define who I am. I like to choose when I tell someone that I’m deaf. I’ll chat normally and if I don’t understand them or I feel it’s relevant to tell them, I will. Often, they don’t realise or they might work out I have a bit of a deaf accent. But I’ve proven to them that they can communicate with me easily and that I’m just a normal person like them!


Every deaf person is different

Hearing people often think… “She can’t hear me”, “She probably uses sign language”, “She won’t be able to talk” But they’re all not true! Every deaf person is different. They’re not all old-aged, they communicate in different ways and have different levels of hearing loss. Here are some tips to remember, next time you meet a deaf person:

1. Don’t panic!

Deaf people are friendly, not aliens! Keep calm, smile and approach them normally.

2. Get their attention

The deaf person might not realise you’re talking to them. You can gently tap them on the shoulder or arm, or stand in front of them to get their attention.

3. Find out the best way to communicate

Some deaf people use sign language, others speak or lip-read. Everyone’s different. Ask the person how they would like to communicate. If they don’t understand what you’re saying, please repeat yourself, explain it differently, write or type it down. Please don’t give up!

4. Don’t say “never mind”, “it doesn’t matter” or “I’ll tell you later”

It does matter. Deaf people want to understand you and want to be included. Even if it’s a funny joke, and you have to retell it minutes later and it’s not funny anymore – it still makes them feel included.

5. Communication is a two-way process…

Deaf people are willing to make a conversation work if you do, but communication is a two-way process!


More from Ellie:

We’re excited to announce our newest addition to the DTL fleet of ambassadors – Saffron Barker. Not only is she a YouTube legend, she’s dedicated to helping us combat bullying! We caught up with Saffron to get to know each other a little better…

Hey Saffron, Thanks for chatting with us!

So, tell us a bit about why you wanted to become an ambassador for Ditch the Label…
I feel really strongly about bullying and the effect it has on the person experiencing it. I think the more people talk openly about it, the easier it will be for people to talk to someone about it.

You have some pretty hilarious content on your channel which is also super relatable. How do you deal with the pressure of coming up with original content all the time?
There is a lot of pressure but I just try and keep things relatable to me. Quite often video trends go around and my viewers want me to try them. I just try to make my videos ‘my’ version of whatever is trending as well as thinking of new ideas.

Do you ever feel the need to take a break from social media/the internet?
Yes! And I do occasionally but I really miss it so can’t stay away for long!



With such a large following, do you ever get negative comments/engagements from time to time? If so, how do you deal with that?
Yes, I always get negative comments and they are always the ones that jump out at you. I don’t respond and I tell myself that that person is probably unhappy in their own life so feel the need to bring mine down.

Your book is called ‘My Perfectly Filtered Life VS Real Life.’ Are you a different person on camera, than off camera?
I try to show as much of my real self as possible but of course, we all add a filter here and there and if I was having an argument with my parents I probably wouldn’t film it and put that online but I try to keep it as real as I can. I often talk about when I’m feeling down as well as when I’m happy.

“I try to show as much of my real self as possible but of course, we all add a filter here and there”

Why is it important for people to show the difference between the self they post online and more unfiltered version of themselves IRL?
Some people live a completely false life online and build up people’s expectations of them. This is just stressful because you’re trying to keep up with something that you’re not and it just makes hard work for yourself, people will see through it eventually. Keep it as real as you can!

So last year, you took part in a campaign on combating the stigma surrounding mental health called ‘I am Whole’. Why is it important for you to talk about these issues? What does mental health stigma mean to you?
A very close friend of mine committed suicide the year before last and she had mental health issues. I feel that if people spoke about it more and were more open about it, it could save someone’s life. So many people live with mental health issues and are ashamed to talk about it, I want to help people realise that there’s no shame and most of us will go through it or will know someone close to us that is suffering at some point in our lives.

Statistically speaking, almost half of all young people will experience bullying of some kind. As queen of all things teen, what’s your best advice for someone who’s going through bullying at the moment?
If you’re being bullied then you need to find someone to can talk to about it, don’t suffer alone. I would also say try not to respond because that’s exactly what they want you to do.

In an alternative universe where you couldn’t be a bad-ass Youtuber, what would you be doing instead?
In an ideal world, I would love to be an actress or a singer (something on stage!). But in the real world, I’d probably be cabin crew as I love travelling and socialising so this would be perfect for me!


Check out Saffron’s latest antics on her Youtube Channel or follow us on Instagram for the latest DTL interviews…

Hi I’m Shelby!

 

I am a fashion, beauty and lifestyle vlogger, who has a disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. My passion is all about female empowerment, and women supporting one another. Too many people look in the mirror and don’t like the person who looks back at them and I think this needs to change!

So, here are my ultimate 10 Top Tips for feeling confident in yourself and your appearance…

1. Mind Set

It is important to have the correct mindset in order to have confidence.  Focus on yourself as your top priority!

2. Positivity

This is something I have only realised recently.  When I’m surrounded by people who are positive, it then rubs off on me.  So, make sure you surround yourself with people who love and care about you. Just drop any negativity or people who add stress to your life.

3. Music

Whenever I’m feeling down, I always put on my favourite music and have a dance (even if it’s just my room so nobody else is watching!) Put on some music that makes you feel empowered, sexy and confident and you’ll feel so much better! Personally, I recommend Demi Lovato and Camila Cabello!

4. No makeup days

This is something I still sort of struggle with but I’m getting better at it.  We are so self-critical! It’s easy to always point out our flaws. However, recently I have started to look at myself in the mirror, fresh-faced and just take in my natural look. I learned to love it no matter what. The more often you do this, the easier it will become!

5. Clothes

Wear clothes that you feel confident in. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Whether you want to wear clothes that are very out there or something that’s simple and cosy, it’s up to you. Wear what makes you feel confident!

6. Comfort Zones

It is very easy to feel confident when you are in your comfort zone but try pushing yourself into doing more things that make you nervous to build up your confidence. Do that bungee jump, audition for that show, make that video, you’ll be surprised at your capabilities!

7. Complimenting others

I feel like confidence isn’t just about physical aspects but also mental ones too. When I compliment other people, especially strangers, it makes me feel happier because I’ve made somebody else feel happy and confident – which then rubs off on me!

8. Shopping

Obviously! Shopping is a perfect way to feel more confident as you’re buying clothes which make you feel comfortable! I always feel so much better keeping up with new fashion and the latest trends.

9. Films

This might sound bizarre, but watching the perfect film will make you feel empowered and confident. For me at the moment that is The Greatest Showman. It’s all about diversity and it could be described as ‘Celebration of humanity’. I definitely left the cinema feeling more confident!

10. Fake it

The last couple of years I have had the opportunity to meet people I look up to such as Selena Gomez, Zara Larsson and Eva Gutowski. I’ve been so nervous that it made me have little butterflies in my tummy but sometimes you just gotta fake it to make it! The more I faked my confidence, the more I have become genuinely confident in those situations. It’s all about putting yourself outside of your comfort zones in order to move forward!

These are the 10 things which make me feel confident! Hope they can help to boost your confidence too! For more fashion, beauty and lifestyle tips, check out my Youtube Channel.

Shelby xo

 

Contrary to popular belief, Acne is something which affects people of all ages, not just teens. What’s more, it doesn’t just affect appearance. Acne can have negative impacts on the self-confidence and mental health of a person dealing with it. Here, you’ll find some advice from the expert nutritionist, Lizzy Rose Clough on how to kick Acne’s butt for good… Here’s what Lizzy has to say:

What is the link between diet and acne?

Acne is a common dermatological condition that can start at any age, affecting millions of young adults around the world. It is estimated that 80% of the population aged 11-30 years are affected by this skin condition. Having suffered from severe acne myself for several years, it was only when I got to the root of the problem that my acne cleared: Diet.

What is acne?

Acne occurs when the skin’s pores become clogged with dead skin cells and excess sebum. This creates an environment for bacteria (which normally lives harmlessly on our skin) to thrive. The skin can become inflamed, leading to the development of spots, nodules and cysts.

Our skin is the body’s largest organ (weighing an average of 2.7 kilograms). Around 25% of all bodily waste exits the body via the skin. The condition of the skin depends on a number of factors including age, genes, hygiene, circulation, immune system, environment, psychological state and of course the most important thing – what you eat.

A healthy diet and lifestyle can help to eradicate acne 

Foods contain hormones that can stimulate the oil glands in the skin and the over or under consumption of essential fatty acids can cause skin inflammation or dampen it. Examples of foods that can cause inflammation are fried foods and refined sugar. Foods such as chia seeds and brazil nuts are good because they are an anti-inflammatory.

What foods & drinks should you cut down on?

Dairy

Certain research has suggested the natural hormones found in dairy products can lead to a hormonal imbalance and therefore an eruption of spots. Dairy is also a natural source of sugar which can increase inflammation and can be difficult for our body to digest. Great alternatives are almond milk and nutritional yeast which can be used as a replacement for cheese.

*Note: If you do reduce your dairy intake, make sure you are having enough calcium through incorporating chia seeds into your diet every day.

Refined Sugar

Many studies have suggested there is a link between refined sugar and acne. Refined sugar can cause your blood sugar levels to spike and therefore lead to a possible break out. Try cutting back on the consumption of sugary foods to see if you notice a difference.

Processed Foods & High-Glycaemic Foods

These foods can trigger a spike in insulin and raise blood sugar levels. They can also trigger potential hormonal fluctuations and contribute to inflammation. Foods such as white bread, white rice, potato chips, cakes, cookies are all an example of high-glycaemic foods. Consider replacing them with foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and sweet potatoes.
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What nutrients should you consume more of?

Zinc

Not getting an adequate amount of zinc can in some cases cause acne. This essential mineral promotes cell repair, helps the lymphatic organs efficiently eliminate waste and can stabilise the formation of sebum within our pores. Foods rich in zinc are best absorbed when eaten with a protein-rich meal – try adding a tsp of pumpkin seeds with your porridge in the morning!

Foods rich in zinc: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, cashews, quinoa

Selenium

Studies have shown that the trace mineral, selenium, is excellent for acne. It can dramatically increase your antioxidant levels, critical for preventing blocked pores, and can help to reduce inflammation in the skin. Brazil nuts contain more selenium than any other food. By introducing one (that is all you need) into your diet every day, you will be getting 462% of your recommended intake!

Foods rich in selenium: brazil nuts, sesame seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds

Magnesium

Cortisol is the ‘stress’ hormone that when elevated, due to anxiety or worry, can exert several biological effects on the body. A link between stress and skin problems, such as Acne, is becoming more apparent as it can cause the skin to secrete sebum, clog pores and in some cases, aggravate acne or even contribute to a flare-up. You can reduce stress by increasing your intake of the essential, calming and relaxing mineral magnesium through the foods mentioned below:

Foods rich in magnesium: brazil nuts, quinoa, spinach, lentils

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is fantastic for acne because it helps to prevent whiteheads and blackheads. It is the second most abundant antioxidant in your body and helps your skin to heal from acne damage and scarring. You can reap the benefits of vitamin E from consuming a balanced and wholesome diet of vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Foods rich in vitamin E: sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, leafy green vegetables

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, often referred to as good or healthy fats, help to reduce and regulate any inflammation in your body and skin. They also improve insulin response (sugar in our blood), promote healthy cell membranes and help to regulate a hormonal imbalance. Try topping salads with walnuts or a sprinkle of milled chia seeds to derive the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

Foods rich in omega-3: chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, almonds

*Always consult your doctor before making any major dietary changes.

 Follow Lizzy:

Website:www.lizzyrosenutrition.com 
Instagram: lizzyrosenutrition


Are you being bullied because of your appearance?

You’re not alone! 52% of people stated that ‘attitudes towards their appearance’ was the main reason why they were bullied. Nobody deserves to be bullied for the way that they look. Always remember that you do not have to change yourself for other people to accept you. Sometimes it’s better to just focus your attention on accepting and embracing yourself instead.

You can talk to Ditch the Label mentors and other Community users about it here:

 

This New year, we’re hitting back at ‘New Year, New You’. We believe that whoever you are, wherever you’re from, whatever you wear, whatever you do, however you dance and whoever you love, it’s up to you. Don’t let the new year pressures stop you from doing your thing. Start this year on your own terms.

Meet Gem, AKA: Wheelsnoheels. After suffering a spinal cord injury when she was young, Gem is living life to the fullest. The Wheelsnoheels mission is to show that there is a happy, confident life with or without disability and Gem uses her love for hair and fashion to prove it! Whatever you wear, Gem wants you to know that your style will always be good enough…

There’s so much pressure this time of year.

My name is Gem, and I’m am the founder of Wheelsnoheels which all started when I created an Instagram account.

I am a wheelchair user, after suffering a T10 spinal cord injury when I was nine. Before starting Wheelsnoheels, I used to be so self-conscious. I’d get stared at and have always felt people treated me differently. I used to hate my legs since I’ve lost all muscle tone in them, my knees are odd looking, and my feet are completely paralysed. I used to hide them away under baggy trousers, and never look at them. However, over time, I have come to love my body and who I am.

I have terrible circulation in my lower body so I’m always freezing. This used to prevent me from wearing what I want. Now, if I want to wear a glitzy party dress with UGG boots or trainers, I will. If I decide to wear a thermal vest under ball gown I will, I dress for me!

You are perfect the way you are.

The main message of Wheelsnoheels is to love yourself for who you are. To be happy with you. In a world where every photo is filtered 17 times, and everyone has fillers, botox and looks like a Kardashian, it’s hard to know what is real, and what is enhanced.

You’ve probably heard the questions “what are your resolutions?” or  “what are you going to change for 2018?” But, do we really need to change anything?

The answer is no. You are enough. You are perfect the way you are.

Happiness truly comes from within. Will dropping a dress size really make you happy? Will changing your style or your hair really make you happy? The answer is probably, no.

What you see on social media is not real.

Loads of the photos that we see online are enhanced and airbrushed. You’d be surprised…’Getting the right shot’ takes hours and hundreds of pounds worth of equipment. You see people being sent to exotic destinations all over the world, but what you don’t see is the crew of photographers, makeup artists, costume designers and lighting technicians accompanying them!

Over time, you compare yourself to those images and say “I wish I looked like that…”. What we don’t realise is that when we compare ourselves to others, we’re telling ourselves that we are not good enough. The result? A negative impact on our well-being. Well, I’m here to tell you that you are always enough!

After all, why be somebody else? Everyone else is taken!


Follow Gem:

Instagram: @wheelsnoheels_
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNP1tYcve1MtivJtDjHsO-g/about

Just 14 years old, Kid’s Choice Award nominated actress Lizzy Greene has already made a pretty impressive name for herself. Starring in Nickelodeon’s Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn she was just 11 years old when she landed the role of Dawn Harper, the sole female lead of the show. Telling the story of quadruplets navigating life as pre-teens, Lizzy plays the only sister amongst them, all whilst balancing her own life as teen!

Whilst it may seem as though she lives the life of a star, you might be surprised to find out that she’s your everyday teenage girl too! Just like you she has school worries, fear of not fitting in with classmates and is anxious about the future that lies ahead. But luckily, she has some pretty powerful advice about how to handle all of that.

Here’s Lizzy with words of wisdom that we can all learn from:

DTL: Hey Lizzy! Thanks for chatting with us. To start, would you mind telling us about your own experiences with bullying?
Lizzy: I was bullied for being different and being myself. I was never bothered by what people thought of me. I kept going and doing all the things I believed in.

DTL: Thank you for sharing. Talking about this topic isn’t easy at all! Why is it so important for you to share this story with others?
Lizzy: To show others that bullying happens to everyone. Just because I am on a TV show doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced it in my life. Society pressures people to “fall in” with the pack but I believed I could be myself and rise on my own.

I believed in myself.

DTL: In the past, you have spoken about how you helped others in the school playground who were being bullied. Can you talk us through why you felt this was an important thing to do?
Lizzy: It had nothing to do with me. Someone needed help and I felt someone has to stand up for what was right. My school had lots of bullying and I knew even if I stood up to only 1 of them it would make a difference.

DTL: Here at Ditch the Label, we believe that there is no such thing as a ‘bully’ or a ‘victim’. Not only do we help those that have been bullied, but those doing the bullying too. How does this message resonate with you and your past experiences?
Lizzy: I agree with your statement 100%. People that bully others are sad, troubled and hurting.  They feel the need to take it out on others. Everyone on the planet earth is working on something or hurting about something.

We have to find a way to sort it all out and help people that cannot help themselves.   

DTL: You talk about remaining positive and not letting being bullied define you. Do you have any tips on how to stay positive even when it feels really difficult to do so?
Lizzy: Something inside of me made me rise up to those that tried to drag me down.  Those that try to put you down envy your creativity and happiness so they feel the need to tear you down to make themselves feel better. If you understand that fact you can deal with them in a way that you do not give away your own power.   

DTL: Much of the bullying that takes place today occurs on the internet. What advice would you offer to those who face negativity online?
Lizzy: I have experienced cyberbullying from people that don’t even know me daily. And I have experienced it from people that I do know. People use the fact that they are hidden behind a screen to be mean to others. If they were standing in front of you they would be less likely to be mean. Do what I do and block and unfollow the people that are not being nice to you.

Understand that it is not your responsibility to set them straight.

Stay in your own lane my mom always says. They are unhappy about something and they are taking it out on you and that is not your responsibility to fix. Block the mean people.

DTL: Working with charities is something that you have expressed as being really important to you. What made you want to be an ambassador for Ditch the Label?
Lizzy: I want to use the platform that I have to show others how important it is to be kind to other people.

All humans deserve to be treated with respect and love.

DTL: Finally, what motto do you live by?
Lizzy: Be so busy loving life that you have no time for hate, regret or fear.


Lizzy’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/greene_lizzy
Lizzy’s Instagram: https://instagram.com/lizzy_greene/?hl=en

Photo credit: Ryan West