Unless you count the first year of my life, I have always been bigger than those around me. Puberty hit and alongside that childhood chubbiness came hips and a big bottom. Let’s say middle school and high school weren’t always great for me as I found I was perpetually comparing myself to the other girls around me. “Just learn how to love your body the way it is,” my mother would say.
Most women (and I am sure men as well) dislike some part of their body and it can be a source of low self-esteem for many. We are bombarded with images of one socially acceptable body type and the reality is, most of us do not come near what we see. (And with photoshopping, those images aren’t even real to begin with so, therefore, they are impossible to attain in the first place. For goodness sake, the person who we think we are looking at in the media doesn’t even look like that anyway.)
Flash forward about 30 years and I am finally comfortable with how I look. My body is scarred. It’s soft in many places, dimply in others but it has brought me to where I am now. So how did I manage to learn how to accept this body? I would love to share some of the tips so you, too, can learn how to love your body the way it is.
#1. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others.
Comparing yourself, physically, to others is a form of self-sabotaging behavior and these habits need to be stopped if you wish to come to a true acceptance of yourself.
Each of us is unique in terms of our personality, personal journey, talents, abilities, and yes, our physical selves as well. If we all looked alike, how boring would this world be? Embrace the fact that you are a unique combination of genes and experiences.
#2. Stop Weighing Yourself!
I actually do not own a scale. Nope, never have. Perhaps it was out of sheer fear to see a number that was higher than the world told me it should be. Our bodies fluctuate every day in terms of how much they weigh. In fact, it can change over the course of a single day.
Women, especially, can experience changes in their weight on a regular basis without even altering any of their eating or exercise habits. Due to our monthly cycles, our bodies can retain water that can make us feel bloated and “gain weight”. If you are focused solely on the number on that scale, something as simple as this can prevent you from being content with your body. For some, this can also lead to unhealthy measures to lose such weight.
#3. Follow Body Positive People on Social Media
Ok, I know we are all told to pay less attention to those on social media as it can give us a false idea of what our bodies are meant to look like. I will agree. Only to a certain point though.
I have found that following people on Facebook or Instagram who look like myself has actually helped me to realize that I am beautiful too. Some of my favorites are Allison Kimmey and Ashley Graham. I love their body positivity but even more so, how they are real. They aren’t afraid to show their bodies in a healthy way but also express their insecurities to their audience. It feels like they bring you into their own special “girls’ club”. There is power found within discovering when others are going through similar experiences – a sense of camaraderie.
#4. Wear Clothes That Make You Shine
I am a firm believer that the clothes you wear can go a far way when discovering how to love your body as it is. Many individuals will use their clothing to attempt to hide or blend in, to go unnoticed in the world. Unfortunately, this can be extremely counterproductive.
Think about what is in your closet currently.
- Is everything black because you are under the belief that wearing black makes you look slimmer?
- Are many of your clothing options without shape and loose-fitting because you are afraid of showing your shape?
- Do you own clothes that you once fit into believing that if you just stick to that diet for a few more months you will fit into them?
All of these habits can be dangerous as they allow you to continue to focus on your perceived notions of what is wrong with your body.
NOTHING IS WRONG WITH YOUR BODY!
Wear the form-fitting skirt, the brightly patterned dress that hugs your curves, the crop top that shows a bit of your tummy. If it makes you feel good, wear it because I guarantee it will change how you carry yourself and people will notice.
#5. Be Kind with Your Words
So many of us are incredibly cruel to ourselves when it comes to our internal dialogue. We tell ourselves that we are too fat, too thin, too wrinkled, too saggy, too short.
I want you to ask yourself if you would ever say these hurtful words to a friend. I suspect you would say, “of course not” so then I ask you why are you saying them to yourself?
Begin to recognize every time you say something cruel or demeaning to yourself and counteract it with something positive. It is one of the most critical things you can do to increase your self-esteem and confidence.
As Freddie Mercury of Queen sang so wholeheartedly sang, “Fat bottomed girls make the rockin’ world go round”
#6. Surround Yourself with Body Positive People
Positivity breeds positivity and this is also true when it comes to learning how to love your body as it is. Examine your social circle and how everyone approaches body image. If everyone is constantly focused on their appearance or what could happen if they ate that extra piece of chocolate during the holidays, there is so much of life that is being missed.
Girlfriends, we need to surround ourselves with like-minded individuals to help boost each other up. Let’s enjoy life and realized that we all come in different shapes, sizes, and colours.
Learning how to love your body the way it is can be a difficult journey but I promise you, it is one so very worth it. We have one life here on this planet and it is time to focus on everything that is right with who and what we are.
Concentrating on the positive aspects even when we are faced with negativity is critical to self-acceptance.