Mirror Affirmations, At-Home Workouts And Ashanti - Iskra Lawrence's Guide To Winning 2018

'Respect your time and energy and give it to good positive things.'

Iskra lawrence
Instagram@iskra

She's the photoshop-free Brit model that made everyone question the term 'plus size', a NEDA brand ambassador and body positive campaigner, Every BODY fitness app entrepreneur, oh, and she's got 3.9 million followers on Instagram.

We caught up with Iskra Lawrence to get her top tips for being your most epic self in 2018...

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How to win at... body confidence

1. Don't be intimidated by #bodyposi

'It can be scary because a lot of the body positivity community can make it seem like they've got all the answers and that they're always happy and always love their body, and there's days when you don't and thats ok. It doesn't mean that you aren't body posi or body confident. The most important thing is that every voice counts. It's really valuable for anyone to join in and share their voice and help expand representation.'

2. Practice your own kind of self-care

'You've got to practice self-care. There's loads of different approaches so find the right one for you.

'It can be affirmation, or you can do the mirror challenge and write notes on your mirror then read them out loud to yourself, which is what I like to do. You can do gratitude lists - if you're having a down moment about your body, work, your relationship, make a gratitude list.

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'Write down five things you're grateful for that could be as simple as "I'm grateful I live in London because it's so diverse" or "I'm grateful for my family and friends". My housemate does things like "I ate my favourite muffin this morning". Little things that bring you joy and take you out of that negative place. I always try to think when I wake up, "I've got family, I've got friends, I've got a job I love, I've got good health, I'm not going to worry about cellulite".It brings perspective.'

How to win at... eating what you want

1. Add, don't subtract

'There's a positive way to do food trends like Veganuary or a "raw" diet where, instead of restricting what you eat, you're adding in things like more vegetables or trying more pulses.'

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2. Leave the fat shaming at home

'There's still so much fat phobia. If you see a slim person eating a donut on Instagram, you're like "Oh my god yay you're so cute!" Whereas if it was someone who's a size 20 and eating a donut, they'd get comments like "Uuuurgh you're so disgusting and fat". It's your body at the end of the day so eat what you want.'

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How to win at... keeping fit

1. Find your workout

'Try to find something you actually enjoy. Maybe it's hiking, maybe it's dancing, it could just be doing gentle yoga once a week, or running every night because it makes you feel energetic and awesome and full of life, or boxing and kicking ass. It can make you feel good and strong and empowered. It's all about you and how you feel.'

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2. Avoid gym intimidation

'I was a national swimmer when I was younger so I've always been comfortable with my body's abilities, but I get messages from so many men and women who say they're just too intimidated to go to the gym,. That's why my EveryBODY app has started with a series of yoga, HIIT and boxing workouts that you can do at home.'

3. Mix it up

'I always mix it up, keep it fresh and never do the same exercise twice. I try to incorporate stretching into every workout, and I love HIIT because I travel so much. It sounds scary but it doesn't have to be. I usually put on some Ashanti and do some jumping jacks, or do some skipping - I decide what I feel like doing on the day. You don't change to fit the program, change the program to fit you.'

How to win at... being happy

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1. Be in the present

'Happiness for me is all about finding joy in the present. We put some much focus on outwardly trying to impress others, or holding ourselves to unrealistic standards. I don't think anyone doing that can be happy. You need to literally be in joy, which is getting harder and harder because our phones take us away from the present and they distract us.'

2. Do something for you

'Ask yourself, "What did I do in 2017 that was for me?" It wasn't for anyone else or for someone else's approval, "What did I do that was truly for me?" And if you didn't do anything in 2017 make sure you do this year.'

How to win at... standing up for yourself at work

1. Say no

'I turn down more than half of job offers because they don't match my values or they don't alight with my standards or morals. In the wake of #metoo, as scary as it is we know that we have to speak up and reinforce those boundaries and standards. It is tricky, because you might be in a situation where you think "Oh if I compromise here it might benefit my job" but you just have to listen to your gut. No career move is ever worth sacrificing your wellbeing or safety for.'

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How to win at... being a feminist

1. Know that you have a voice

'If anyone tries to tell me that I'm not a feminist because I'm a model, I know inside that I am. For me, feminism is about equality and people having the choice and freedom to live their life however they choose It's about treating people correctly and having respect as a bare minimum for everyone, whatever their gender, size or skin tone. For me, it's about standing up for what's right across the board. Your voice does matter and it does count - that goes for every woman.'

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How to win at... balancing social media and the real life

1. Don't let it dictate your day

'It's all about the difference between social media controlling you and you choosing to enjoy it. When I'm on holiday I'll make a post I'm excited about but I won't be consuming social media; I won't be scrolling though, I'll post a picture but I won't have a clue what's going on in teh rest of the world. That to me is a healthy balance - I never let it dictate my day.

How to win at... being an awesome friend

1. Put the phones down

'It's definitely quality over quantity. Spend more time having enriching conversations. If you go for dinner just be there and not on your phone. Me and my friends have vision boards and lists of what we want to do and where we want to go this year - it's like a sisterhood more than just friends. I struggle to manage my time but I always make sure I see them. I didn't realise before how important it was to have other women there supporting you and lifting you up.'

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2. Don't be afraid to hit unfollow

'It's fair enough to be scared of distancing yourself from certain people, but it can be quite an anchor when you have a friend who's not good for you or pulling you down. I call it unfollowing in real life, it's the same as social media in a way. You have to get rid of any negativity and respect your own time and energy enough to give it to good positive things.'

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