Let’s be honest, loving your squishy bits can be hard! So we asked curve model Marciel Hopkins for some PRACTICAL tips to rock BOPO all day and then we actually tested them for 7 days!
Rocking body love can honestly feel like a Tekken fight in your brain between bad thoughts and good thoughts most days.
And we need ammo damnit.
That’s why we asked International Curve Model Marciel Hopkins to give us her top Body Positive tips, so we could put it to the test for 7 days.
Meet our panel of BOPO tip testers!
Marciel’s top 7 BOPO tips
If you don’t know Marciel’s story, you can click HERE to read all about her inspirational claim to fame!
1. It’s unfollow time
Unfollow all social media pages and people that make you feel unworthy or that portrays unrealistic body goals. There is no need for you to follow weight loss pages; you are good enough, no matter your shape or size. Strive towards being the healthiest and happiest version of yourself.
2. Kick-start your novel on me-compliments
Keep a body journal. Write one sentence every morning about what you appreciate and adore about your body
3. Become your own motivational speaker
Look at yourself in the mirror every morning and say that sentence out loud.
4. Make some love notes in your brain
Make a bookmark in your brain of your positive sentence of the day. If you feel that your mind is going in a negative direction, replace the thought with your positive sentence. Focus on the good and the beautiful that you love about yourself.
5. Treat yo self.
Self care is so important. Treat and pamper your body at least twice a week: take a bubble bath with candles and give yourself an organic body scrub. Rub your body in with lotion or take her for a walk after a long day at work.
6. Sweat it out you-style
Do exercise, but do something that YOU love: hiking, swimming, yoga, running etc. Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do; it’s not punishment for what you ate. There are no rules when it comes to doing exercise; you are allowed to do what you love.
Emma’s take on Marciel’s BOPO hacks
How Emma felt before her BOPO week:
Do you have an ideal weight or size in mind? I am a size 10 (South African jean sizes), which I guess is considered ideal or pretty average by society, but truthfully, who decides what an ideal weight is?
Body mantra: To be healthy is to be happy (obviously this is easier said than done).
How do you honestly feel about your body weight and shape? I have days when I feel really positive about my weight and mostly I feel quite happy in my own skin, but then I also have the really awful days when I focus on all the parts of me that don’t necessarily fit into what society prescribes and then I wish I could change these parts.
How Emma felt after her BOPO week:
To me, body positivity has always been an easy concept to just ignore, or maybe agree with in principle.
I mean, before taking on this article I was aware of what the body positivity movement was and sure, I followed some BOPO activists on insta, and what not, but I never really made a conscious effort to apply this mentality in my life and to really analyse how I feel about my body.
Following Marciel’s tips forced me to dig a bit deeper and to really come to terms with what it means to be completely happy and accepting of myself.
I was forced to think of some of the parts that I don’t like as much as I wished I did. The parts that don’t necessarily fit the “ideal” societal mould, the parts that I often, subconsciously, wish I could change.
It forced me to confront these thoughts and to realise that no matter what society prescribes as “the best”, the fact that I have a perfectly functioning body in its self is a beautiful thing.
It would be a lie to say that I am completely at peace with myself after this one week, I think it is going take a constant daily effort to attain that, but I do feel that it really helped me to be actively aware of negative media influences and other things silently breaking us down. It also helped making an effort to love every part of myself.
Emma’s BOPO Tip
What I love doing is just dancing around in front of the mirror to my favourite songs and telling myself how special, capable and beautiful I am.
Sannika’s take on Marciel’s BOPO hacks
How Sannika felt BEFORE her BOPO week:
Do you have an ideal weight or size in mind? Yes.
Body mantra: I have not arrived.
How do you honestly feel about your body weight and shape? Not bad, but not perfect, I need to work harder.
How Sannika felt AFTER her BOPO week:
First reading the tips I thought “Well, I am doing most of these things, I still don’t like what I see in the mirror”.
But to be honest, I do all of these things except think about what I like about my body, probably because it’s the most difficult part for all of us…
For the first 2 days of the week it was tough to name something I like. I thought “Wow I literally don’t like anything, now what?”
Going on day 3 I remembered Leandi du Randt’s advice on always starting with what you’re thankful for. It made things so much easier, because I have so many things to be thankful for.
My small size 4 feet: I always get my number in the shoes I like. My boring brown eyes: they help me make a living and I can drive looking straight into the sun. And now I have a list for 2 or even 3 weeks.
Somehow thinking about my body more with the mind-set of being thankful, I didn’t crave food and sweets as much. I’m totally an emotional eater and being thankful makes me happier and less hungry/cravey.
According to me, these tips really help you get into the right mind-set, a mind-set of being happy; loving yourself; taking care of yourself and your body.
Sannika’s BOPO Tips
If you keep criticising yourself, how will you ever reach your full potential? You’ll believe the horrible things you tell yourself. So be thankful each day and see the difference. Thankful = Happy is my new mantra.
Jessica’s take on Marciel’s BOPO hacks
How Jessica felt BEFORE her BOPO week:
Do you have an ideal weight or size in mind? I have never really measured myself according to a specific weight or clothing size. That does not mean I am not insecure about these things (although I try not to be).
I basically just use a different type of measurement – comparison. I will look at myself and compare specific parts of me to other girls and what society has made us believe to be the perfect body type.
Body mantra: Not as confident as I should be but definitely getting there!
How do you honestly feel about your body weight and shape? Before my teen years I was never really insecure about my body (except maybe my hair) probably because I never thought to be.
As I grew into a teenager, and especially in my first few years of high school I stopped growing upwards and I became more curvy (not in the boob area though unfortunately). Suddenly I became very conscious of my short, curvy legs.
I would compare myself to all the typical- tall- thin- thigh gap- models and girls in my school. That just made me more and more self-conscious. Then, I don’t know what changed exactly, maybe I just had to grow up a bit but and all of a sudden I started realising how ridiculous I was being.
I realised that there were many beautiful women out there and that curvy was just another type of beauty. I realised that nobody looked at me in as critical a way as I looked at myself. So I stopped the nit-picking and decided to appreciate the bigger picture.
I also realised that it is your confidence that does like 80% of the job. So I am slowly learning to love all the parts of me and instead of rating myself in comparison with others. I placed myself in my own league where I was beautiful in my own way. So I guess I’m saying that I am pretty confident (although of course I have my bad days).
How Jessica felt AFTER her BOPO week:
I found the practical tips most useful and of course easier to apply. The tips involving my thoughts required more effort!
I would often catch myself being critical of my appearance and it made me realise just how often the narrow-minded beauty standards of a “picture perfect” society lead me to feel insecure every day.
The tips definitely helped me regarding my decision to focus on all the parts of me that I love as opposed to those that I’m not so keen on. They helped me to slightly change my long-fixed idea of the “ideal body” to a more accepting approach.
After following a few more BOPO activists, I feel that I have a better appreciation for all that this movement means to women everywhere.
We tend to idealise what we see in the media and pop culture. Just the fact that there is a growing number of people with access to these influential platforms who are trying their best to spread the love for a true representation of what women look like will surely have an effect.
Jessica’s BOPO Tips
When you’re looking yourself in the mirror and you find yourself nit-picking at the parts that you’re not that keen on, stop yourself immediately, close your eyes and when you look at yourself the second time, do it through the eyes of one of your friends.
You will realise that it is only you who zones in on your imperfections. Hopefully you will see the bigger picture, a beautiful women with a beautiful smile, completely full of life.
Carla’s take on Marciel’s BOPO hacks
How Carla felt before 7 days of BOPO tips
Do you have an ideal weight or size? Two sizes smaller would be ideal.
Body mantra: “Holy crap, why did you eat that?”
How do you honestly feel about your body weight and shape? At the moment, not very positive.
How Carla felt after 7 days of BOPO tips
It was so difficult; everywhere I look I face these skinny models looking picture perfect on Pinterest, magazines, TV etc.
Despite unfollowing a bunch of brands and people on my social media, being a photographer and fashion fundi made it really hard not to face skinny beautiful models 24/7.
It was also a tough experience to find something that I love about myself everyday. It got easier as the week passed.
I still don’t feel 100% confident about the way I look, but I definitely have a softer approach when it comes to looking at myself in the mirror and I am much more thankful for what I have.
Carla’s BOPO tip
Pampering! Facial masks, body scrubs, pretty hair and nails. If you make yourself feel pretty your self-confidence goes up! You walk into school/ work/ class knowing your brows are on fleek and you already feel more confident!