I don’t know about you but there have been times throughout my life that I have hated my body. Yep, I said it. I hated it. Overcoming body image issues has been a long and sometimes a bit painful journey. And sometimes, I have to give myself a few reminders of how far I’ve come.
This was especially true postpartum. My body had never looked like it did after I had my precious baby boy and I was actually terribly ill from the pregnancy.
But that wasn’t where my body image issues started.
To be clear, I was blessed to have grown up in a supportive and tight knit family. Body image issues never entered my mind as a problem because, we didn’t talk about “being fat” (which we weren’t, we were an active family) or needing to lose weight.
I was always taught to speak positively of myself and taught how to live a healthy lifestyle.
It’s almost fall so, I thought I’d write a quick post about how to fall in love with your body.
So let’s start with where my body image issues first started.
Around age 16 was when the size zero and double zero fads were a big deal.
If you weren’t a zero or double zero, you were fat. That was what was plastered all over magazines (Social Media was just making its appearance and it definitely wasn’t what it is today).
Long story short, it was several years in the making but eventually I hated my body and the way it looked.
Was I fat? No.
Was I unhealthy? No.
Was I a bad person? Nope.
So what was the problem?
To be honest, it was because I believed that I had to be something I wasn’t. How did I overcome it? Well, It was quite a process and to be honest, took some time and sometimes I still struggle.
However, it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Let’s talk through it.
Overcoming the Thinking that Skinny Equals Healthy
Where did that notion even come from? It started when the size Zero and Double Zero became a big deal. AND if you were not a size zero, better yet, a double zero, you were fat. Plain and simple. Remember how I said it all started at 16?
I will never forget standing in the store with one of my girlfriends when I was 16 and she pulled off the shelf a size double zero and it fit her.
Guess what my size was? A size three. Now, I think “a size three?” and chuckle a bit because I am totally not a size three. My thoughts are, well, I like my butt and legs that have come from hard work through heavy weight training.
Back then? It was devastating.
When I went home that day I cried to my mom about it to which she replied. “Honey, what does the size of your pants say about you?” I didn’t know what she meant, so I asked her.
To which she replied: “The size of your pants says absolutely nothing about your state of health, your beauty and intelligence. It really is all about what’s on the inside; both physically (health) and spiritually/mentally. You have to be confident in who you are and love yourself for who you are.”
Mama, that’s what we have to realize today.
What is inside? Does the weight you’ve gained cause you to have ill health? It has potential to, yes! I won’t lie to you. But, you can take control, and love yourself enough to go through the process to remove said weight.
For a long time I let what other people said about me growing up affect how I thought about myself. People that I don’t even talk to anymore and don’t even know if they have kids or got married or anything!
To which you’re probably saying, okay fine yeah sure, love what’s on the inside. But how?
Might I recommend a book for you? It’s less than $10 on Amazon and it’s also on Audio Book as well.
While this book isn’t necessarily about body image, the message is totally applicable to what we’re talking about. I highly recommend you checking out her book, which is a very good read and very encouraging.
Lysa has changed my perspective on myself; she said on page 126:
“There is an abundant need in this world for your exact brand of beautiful”.Lysa TerKeurst
That was when my thinking really started changing. My exact brand of beautiful. I started telling myself that over and over. Did I always believe it? No.
However, as I started telling myself that, phrase, I started to believe it. It was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever experienced. Not only did I start to believe it, I was starting to apply it to my life. My entire demeanor changed, I walked with more confidence and I was less irritable.
I started to be okay with the fact that I didn’t look cute in the gym like other fitness bloggers. Embracing myself for who I was and the sweaty mess I turn into in the gym. Not only embracing that part of me, but embracing the fact that I was built a bit sturdier than other girls.
My husband firmly believed in my beauty and intelligence, as did my family. I finally started to see what they were seeing and it changed my life.
Let’s move on to my next step that I did.
Remove Bad Influences
Here is a big one and to be honest, sometimes the hardest one because the bad influences could mean limiting your time with certain people. However, let’s start from a fairly easy one.
Unfollow people on social media that make you feel bad about yourself. Example: if you follow someone that makes you feel bad about, say, your…. interior design skills for example, it’s time to un-follow them.
The same concept goes for those models and so called “fitness people” that make you feel bad about yourself!
Let me give you a bit of insight. I have done a bit of fitness modeling, and I have a newsflash for you, sis. We don’t always look like that.
Yep, it’s true. When my alarm goes off at 4:00 some mornings because I have an early morning client, I guarantee you that I don’t look like my headshot that is used on Consumer Health Digest and other sites.
Remember what I said about the fact that I don’t ‘look cute in the gym’ like some other fitness bloggers out there? I actually unfollowed a lot of girls because it made me feel bad about myself. Yep, it’s true. Just being real!
Remove the influences. If tha teven means includes limiting your time with certain people until you can get a grasp on your positive body image, that is MORE than okay. Remember, you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. You have to take care of yourself.
You only have one body, one mind, one life, live it to the fullest and not bowing to other people’s demands of what you “should” look like, when you were never meant to look like that in the first place.
Your picture of strong and healthy will look different than your girlfriend at work and same goes for her.
Fear is a liar.
You are precious beyond words and it’s time to take your life back. Step out of the boat of comfort and start loving yourself and your body. Remember that while you’re on this journey, your fitness and your workouts are a celebration of what your body can do, it should never be a punishment.
Are you ready to take your first steps towards loving yourself 100%?
While you’re at it, take a selfie. Because you’re going to want to look back at yourself later and thank the girl in the picture for stepping out of the boat of comfort.
You’re beautiful. You’re intelligent. YOU ARE STRONG.