— Body Matters

How I learned to start loving my body for real

There are some things in life that have come easy for me to love — my best friends, my family, my dog that is asking for kisses with his good looks. But there is one thing that has taken me a while to love and to celebrate: my body. Growing up with magazines full of Photoshop, filters to make everything and everyone appear “perfect” and a world full of plastic surgery, it was hard to love what I saw in my own mirror. The mean words spoken from other kids’ mouths calling me “fat” or other names that my memory chooses not to remember started to take over. I began to believe these hurtful comments, and even worse, I began thinking and saying them to myself.

I became obsessed with the size of my thighs, or whether or not I had arms like the celebrities I would see on the screen. I started to focus too much on how I could achieve this unattainable beauty ideal. These thoughts and obsessions became utterly exhausting. And one day I hit a point where I too tired to care how many calories one stupid french fry was or how many crunches I needed to get those perfect abs. I wanted to be free of these feelings.

So I decided to make amends with myself and my body. I put in the effort to learn to love myself again. It didn’t happen overnight. Hell, it didn’t happen in a couple of weeks. But after some time and a lot of self-care, I started a new kind of relationship with my body. I began to love parts of my body that I have never truly looked at before. I learned how to appreciate the things my body can do for me. Feeling more confident within myself and my being was a foreign feeling for me, but I was in love. And sure, like any relationship, I have times where I don’t feel my best or those obsessive thoughts try to make their way through. But at the end of the day, I am happier and healthier than I ever have been, because I learned to love my body in a whole new way.

Here are the ways that helped me along this journey.

Weight Is Just A Number

Age is just a number, and so is your weight. I used to get so overly focused on what the scale would say. If I went up one or two pounds, my thoughts would spiral. Why did I care so much? It’s natural for our bodies to fluctuate. I didn’t feel like I had gained any weight, but once I saw the number, my whole perception of my body changed. If you also struggle with obsessing over what the scale says, you might want to think about saying “goodbye” to it.

Appreciate Your Body For What It Can Do

Sometimes it is easy to forget what our bodies can actually do when we live in a society that is constantly scrutinizing our appearances. When we stop to think about how we breathe on our own without even thinking or how most of have two legs to walk with, we become more appreciative. Take notice of what your body can do. Not everyone is as fortunate enough to have a healthy body, so embrace what you have, while you have it.

Thou Shalt Not Compare

I know it’s hard not to compare yourself with how your peers look or the people we see in magazines, but trust me, nothing good comes from that. I am never going to look like the women I see in Victoria’s Secret catalogs, but that’s OK. Who says I even NEED to look like that? The less I started comparing myself to others and the more I started to focus on the parts of my body that I loved, the better off I was. Everybody is different and every body is different. Let’s embrace this.

Start Becoming Aware Of How You Think And Talk

We aren’t always consciously aware of our thoughts and the words we say about ourselves. When I would say, “I’m so fat” or “I want to just lose 5 more pounds” out loud to my friends, I wouldn’t even realize it. After a while, I sounded like a broken record—a record I wasn’t even aware I had bought. Once I started realizing my overwhelming thoughts and negative comments were taking over, I made a conscious effort to stop. Words are more powerful than we think, so make good use of them.

Dress To Impress. . .YOURSELF

One way I learned to love my body is when I learned to dress for me, myself and I. I stopped dressing for others and I wore what I found to be most comfortable. Whatever made me feel confident and my best is what I decided to put on everyday. So if that I meant I wore a tight dress or baggy sweatpants, all that mattered was that I was in charge of how I was dressing. Goodbye to the days where I believed those magazines that told me to “dress for my body.” I was dressing for myself from now on, and I never felt better.

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