Weight issues… such a big topic and one so intertwined with loving your body and loving yourself. I’ve been on both sides of it, loving and hating my body… feeling like I’m too fat or not fat enough. (Read my body story) Struggling to separate who I am from the number on the scale or what people think of me. The thing that always annoys me is the pictures that start out “Real women… (have curves/ aren’t a size zero/
Now I completely understand curvy women (I am one) wanting to say “Look! I can be what I am and still be beautiful and attractive and wanted and sexy.” but to do that at the expense of those women that don’t have curves or are naturally thin or like working out, is no better than the media who likes to tell you how fat you are and how you need to change to be worthy/loved/wanted.
Real women come in all shapes and sizes. The end. Nobody should be defined by their body shape. So all of you real, beautiful, women out there, here are some tips on how to love your body.
1. Decide that society’s opinion about your body is irrelevant.
Don’t buy into magazines that will help you get the “perfect swimsuit body” or any of the other guilt and shame-inducing headlines. Seriously – cut out that kind of media. Go on a diet from that. Once you start letting go of that “perfect” ideal in your head, I promise you – that loathing and disappointment you feel when you look in the mirror? It’ll start to fade.
We were not made to be airbrushed and shrunken with our stretch marks photoshopped away and out cellulite smoothed out and our tummy rolls sucked in. Expose yourself to what other women look like. Realize that there are so many beautiful body combinations out there. We come in all shapes and sizes with our fat in different places, our breasts different sizes, and parts that sag and droop and it’s all perfectly normal.
Check out The Nu Project or The Shape of a Mother (there’s nudity so it’s
2. If you need to lose/gain weight, do it but not at the expense of loving your body as it is today.
You might not have your “perfect” body but that doesn’t mean that you can’t love it anyway right now. Think of your kids or your partner. Are they perfect? Are they just how you always imagined they’d be? Probably not, yet you still love them anyway right? Adopt that attitude towards your body
Love it now and love it 20lb, 40lb, 100lb from now. Fat does not equal an obligation to hate yourself or your body.
Your body is so much more than how much it weighs. Make healthy (and most importantly balanced!) eating fun – not a punishment. Don’t berate yourself. Don’t buy into good/bad based on how or what you eat. Do not believe that food is the enemy.
Find a physical activity that you love. Discover new foods to love. Do what works for you and your body.
I am overweight. I really would like to lose a few pant sizes. But I really, really, love my body just the way it is.
3. Remember that your body is just a small part of who you are.
At your funeral, no one is going to stand up and say “She looked so good in those size 12 jeans. I will miss her skinny-ness.”
Your personality is the sum of who you are. Your personality is the reason someone is going to love you. What you give to the world is a lot more important than the size and shape of your bum, just sayin’. The world is going to love you for SO MUCH MORE.
If this is something you struggle
4. Work through your avoidance of mirrors and pictures.
I can’t tell you enough how therapeutic spending some time with a mirror can be. (Read: Mirror, Mirror) When you actually know what your body looks like it allows you to start accepting it.
Shopping for clothes becomes a lot less traumatic (I remember, years ago, not having seen myself in a full-length mirror in years and then bursting into tears of disgust when I went to try something on). Even if it’s a struggle at first to accept what you see, it does get easier, and then you start noticing the good stuff. The sexy curves of hips and belly, the muscles in your back, the beauty of your skin.
Take lots of photos of yourself too, it helps! When you shy away from the camera, you’re depriving yourself of so many precious memories for yourself and others!
One of my biggest regrets is the decade of photos I could have been taking with my mom before she passed away.
5. Make a list of all of the reasons you love your body.
It’s hard to hate something that allows you to take nice walks on an early summer morning. To wrap your arms around the people you love. Dance around the living room. To have great sex. Laugh and joke. To give comfort. Your body allows you to do so much, so stop hating it for what it isn’t and start loving it for what it is!
Bodies are imperfect, and that’s okay but they’re also pretty awesome too,
What has helped you to stop hating your body?
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This was posted on a great day for me, as I've just discovered I've gained back the three pounds I lost a couple of weeks ago. ;-) I actually love my body and and am only about 3 lbs overweight… EXCEPT for my stomach. It's the just about the only place I store fat, so it gives me an out of proportion eternally pregnant look. The relationship I have with it is not healthy in any way. I'd love to blame it on being a mother but the truth is this started becoming an issue BEFORE I had children and childbirth (again and again and again) just made it much worse. Through the years I've lost a good bit of weight (and even some in that area) but this relationship with this one part of me still needs lots of work. I haven't done chakra work in a very long time, but if I did I could imagine that particular area wouldn't be where it should be at all.
Lovely post, Dominee. I worked through the very same issue earlier in the year and it resulted in the 'Happy in My Own Skin' post and Tarot spread :)
One step at a time, and loving the rest of your body is a huge accomplishment for any woman I think. I used to get so upset because I have massive stretch marks on my stomach and since I've never been pregnant I don't even get to have them as a badge of honor! But I've learned (maybe it would be more proper to say "am learning") to just see them as another part of myself and although it might not be something worth LOVING, it's not something that deserves hating either, so it's a step in the right direction!
I so agree with all this. I stopped buying those glossy magazines years ago as I always felt so shitty about myself by the end!! And so true what you say about the funeral ….I don't want to pain myself too much just so I can go out in a size zero box:-). There is so much pressure on us all to be this or that, whilst rarely are we taught how to love ourselves as we are, body and all.
I just read this; great blog post! I was like you (never a ballerina though) and pre-motherhood ranged around the size 0-3 range. It sounds ideal but I had no curves at all; I had a very boyish figure.
Great post! Haven't bought glossy magazines for over 15 years! women need to realise that those pictures of women are all airbrushed to perfection. Let's help women feel more confident and at ease with their bodies, whatever shape and size. Spreading this post will help ;) x
Love this Dominee……….and it's a huge topic…….our body does so much for us but many times we think of it as the enemy……..we wouldn't be here, in this form, enjoying life, if it weren't for our body……..if we can all give a little self love (or actually a lot) daily to our body it will def. cause a shift within……. :) Thank you.
Dominee- I love this post. It's funny because I am naturally thin – and built like a model (societies view of what a women should look like). I've never felt uncomfortable with my body but always too care of it with whole foods. But it's funny how hard it has been for me to make friends with other women who constantly accuse me as having an eating disorder in friendly jokes and stuff. I've never had a body image problem except thro other women's eyes (if that makes since)? Fortunately- I don't let people get to me- and it may be because of my highly critical mom that I learned at a young age to just ignore people. But that doesn't help "making friends". So I'd have to say that has been a big struggle of mine. But as I get older- I find it's easier -although I still naturally fit my high school clothes after having too kids seems to piss people off (I've just learned to avoid these convos all together abd re-direct them). My grandma died a healthy thin lady about my size actually. So I'm assuming it must be genes? But seriously, who is to say what beautiful is? I avoid posting pics of myself online- not because of body image- but because I prefer to make friends based on "the real me" and sometimes an image can say a thousands words (like she must be too good or perfect- which is not my attitude at all)! Anyways, thank you for this advice!
Oh, thank you SO much for this post, Dominee! I've always struggled so much with compassion for myself and my body (note the way I always think of them as separate even though that's ridiculous!). I've been working through Brené Brown's books on shame and am starting Kristin Neff's book about self-compassion in the hope of finally, finally breaking this cycle. I'm going to add Self-Love Sundays to that plan!
Oh, the stretch marks…SO glad to know I'm not alone there!!
So happy to hear that you are on a journey to align your body with your spirit and really develop love for all parts of you. That is awesome! I am a huge fan of Brené Brown but I haven't heard of Kristin Neff, I shall have to look her up!
I totally get what you are saying about not having a body image problem except through other people's eyes. I have a blog post around here somewhere called "Fierce Body Love' which actually tackles that! A few years ago I lost about 70lb and suddenly everyone was making those eating disorder jokes and saying that I was too thin, ect, unfortunately I never learned how to ignore stuff like that (So good for you that you have, I admire that alot!!) and it really messed with my head and my perception of my body. I felt like I was doing something "wrong" even though I was exercising and eating healthy.
Not letting others affect how I feel about my body has been a VERY hard lesson and I'm still not sure it's completely stuck. I think as long as you are healthy and happy that is all that should matter!
So very true! The first step to having a healthy body is loving it, because when you truly love it, you treat it right with the right foods and activities and it is completely life changing!
Thank you Christiane! It's so true, on the This is My Body page they show pictures of models and then a side-by-side picture of them in every day life so that women can see the unrealistic standard they're comparing themselves to. All women need to realize that confidence and love of their bodies is one of the most beautiful attributes they can have!
I completely agree. I think it would be amazing (and one day I really really hope to see) some sort of class or SOMETHING in the school system that teaches children how to have confidence and love themselves. If you think of all of the issues that stem from low self esteem, like teenage sex and drug and alcohol abuse, it really makes you wonder how things would be different if young people realized how sacred and perfect they are just being themselves!
Hehehe, nope, totally not alone! :)
I'm the exact same way. I actually just moved into a new apartment in May and the mirror in the bathroom is huge and I can see everything. It took awhile to get used to seeing that much of myself all of the time, and somedays I don't really like to look and other days I dance and shimmy and rejoice in how beautiful I am. Those days I am so proud of!
Oh Dominee I so love this. As someone who has been through some big struggles with weight and body love I have experienced firsthand the necessity of what you are sharing here. In terms of the influence of my thinking about my body/weight, I decided to not worry about that shiz at all anymore and just love where I was about 6 years ago. Then I lost 60 pounds without trying and have maintained it stress-free ever since. It was such a huge spiritual lesson for me – I saw how when I surrender the results, magic just happens. Now, if I could only flip on that magic surrender switch in every other area… :)
Thanks for sharing this – I spent a few hours today, reading some of the stories on This Is My Body – wow!
I don't have trouble with how I look because of what society says… it's more about knowing I could be taking better care of my body, but I'm just being lazy… I really need to work on that 'lazy' thing…
I have made it a practice the past couple of months or so to stand naked in front of my bathroom mirror before my shower and simply love myself. Somedays I do better than others – heck, somedays I have to focus on a very narrow aspect of my body to be able to love it – but it has helped so much <3
This is such a beautifully healing post, Dominee! I'm so happy to have found your wonderful blog through the Goddess Circle.
While I haven't had issues with weight, my inner critic definitely kicks into high gear each time I look at the mirror. I love your exercise for making a list of all of the ways that our body supports us. Learning to love our bodies is definitely worth sticking with, and I'm so grateful to have one that continues to show up for me each and every day. XO
I love the sentiment here but I have to disagree with the mirror part. my personal experience is that the more I see myself in the mirror, the more distorted my view is. I can't even recognize whether I look normal or not anymore, so I go through my day feeling like a monster. I stare at myself in the mirror at least two hours a day and check every reflective surface. mirrors are good, but be careful how much time you spend looking in one.
Another gorgeously insightful, beautiful, wise post, Dominee – and it's more relevant to me than I'd like it to be right now. I'm starting to put weight on again, and I'm trying to allow my body to do what it needs to do and trust that what's happening is right for me (basically, I'm not exercising nearly as much as I was before Dad got sick – my mileage has gone from around 50km weeks to 20 *if I'm lucky*, and I'm eating more than I was, but still trying to eat consciously) but every now and then I feel the panic threaten to overwhelm me.
I've already bought myself clothes in the next size up because my old ones were getting uncomfortably tight. I figured it made more sense to allow myself to be comfortable here and now whatever my size, rather than using uncomfortable clothes as a way of making myself wrong, on top of all the other pressures I have going on right now. But I'd be lying if I claimed I wasn't ambivalent about it – if it didn't feel like a tangible sign of failure :-(.
When it comes to the "Real women have curves" messaging, I'm not sure if I've shared my January 2011 "Open Apology to Skinny Women" LJ post here (it's pretty much my go-to post on these types of issues, so if I have, I apologise and hope it's OK to share it again). If not, you can find it here: http://starfirenz.livejournal.com/541941.html#cutid1 – I think it covers the kind of concepts you mention in your intro :-)
Ko, thank you so much, I really appreciate your comment! I understand your concern, but the key that I am talking about is letting go of any ideas of "normal" about your body and just loving it as is. From your experience it sounds a bit like body dysmorphic disorder and I would certainly agree that if it's something that upsets you, there are tons of other ways to love your body!
Thank you! Finally accepting my body was what made me lose weight (and for the most part keep it off) even after diets failed many a time. It's backwards to lose weight to love your body, the process is so much more wonderful when you start the lovin' part first. I'd definitely love to have that switch of effortless surrendering!
Hehehe, I totally understand that too, I've fallen into laziness as far as getting out an jogging or walking every once and awhile but I figure as long as I'm nourishing myself in other ways it's not too bad. I'm so glad that how you feel about your body isn't influenced by society, that is so awesome and something we all need!
Thank you Jodi! I was happy to find yours as well and even happier that I remembered to add it to my google reader, and even more happier to read your post I’m Not Normal, And That’s Okay, it was great. I can't wait to find the time to comment, we're very alike I think!
And the reasons to adore you keep getting longer! I hadn't read that post by you but I am so happy that I did and you summed up everything I wanted to say about it perfectly! But then you are a wordsmith Goddess! Thank you for sharing and again making me stand in awe at your awesomeness.
I hope that you can make peace with your body now and really let it sink in that this is just a side effect of circumstances, things will settle down and you can get back to your routine. Just a wave that needs to be ridden, ebb and flow, it'll be okay, no pressure. big hugs!
I especially like #4- take lots of photos. There are no photos around of me in my late teens, because I was convinced I was fat and hideous, and as an adult, I regret it. Even more so since a couple of random photos surfaced on Facebook of me at 16, and I wasn't fat or hideous at all. So please, everyone, take pictures, take loads of them, or you'll have nothing to look back at!
Love this <3
This is a great post! And a reminder to get myself a full length mirror because maybe then I’d like all of what I see. Thank you for sharing x