Thursday, February 2, 2012

Learning To Love Your Body, Regardless of Your Size


This guest post comes to us via the wonder that is Medicinal Marzipan.  She writes about beauty, body and self love.  Pop over and say hi!


Can we talk about this?

A reader poll on the blog Sexgenderbody states: When I look at myself naked in the mirror, I feel... To which 57% of the responses answered shame.

We all know people who are carrying around shame and self-loathing towards their bodies. As someone who is no stranger to feeling ashamed when I look at myself in the mirror, it breaks my heart to know that others feel the same way. This negative pattern can contaminate every part of your life and self-perception - the clothes that you put on in the morning, your feelings of acceptance and happiness in your job/friendships/relationships, your sex life, and (most importantly) to your relationship with your self.

Learning to love yourself regardless of your size is one of the most crucial and beneficial gifts that a person can give themselves.
The ripple effects of learning to experience self love will touch every part of your life, improving and lightening the load of your heart with every step.   Think of how much more time you would have if you could replace feelings of self-loathing with feelings of joy and love and abundance!

Amazingly, I've found that this problem lends itself to nearly ALL body types and sizes. While I  might quietly resent a very thin friend of mine who regales me with her negative body image and personal feelings of shame, it is important to keep perspective on this point. Nearly everyone, no matter how skinny/tall/perfectly shaped they may look, feels this way about themselves from one time to another. It's important to promote healthy body image regardless of size, even when that seems difficult.

Tools for learning to love your body no matter what your size:

* Buy clothing (and, perhaps more importantly, underwear) that fits you and allows you to feel comfortable/sexy/pulled together/happy. STOP WORRYING ABOUT THE SIZE ON THE LABEL. There is nothing worse than feeling like you have to starve yourself for a week to fit into that dress you bought a size too small, because you just couldn’t bring yourself to buy a size 6/14/24/whatever.

* Talk sweetly to yourself. Look in the mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you look. Bonus points if you can do this naked. Because, remember, you are beautiful, many people probably think so, and a little reminder to your heart here and there will go a long, long way.

* Do not give people who delight in making you feel fat/ugly/unlovable/unworthy a SINGLE SECOND more of your time. Wash your hands of them (but have compassion, because probably the root of their meanness lies in their own insecurities).

* Move your body. It is MUCH harder to hate your _insert body part here_ when it is directly responsible for allowing you to walk down the street/carry your groceries/have amazing sex/pick up your children. You will feel better with every step you take. Bonus points for doing something like hula hooping which will both cause you to move your body around, and also allow you to express some sensual creativity. (It is an absolute fact that you cannot feel badly about your body and hula hoop at the same time, this is a 100% smile guarantee.)

* Do not sit around with your friends/family/loved ones and bitch about your bodies as a form of social interaction. It hurts you. It hurts them. I am willing to risk my life that you have better things you could be doing with your time. 
How are you learning to love your body?

16 comments

  1. I've learned to learn my curves as I got older. I used to hate them and wear things unflattering to me because I did want to me thin. Mostly my calves since they are a bit muscular, but now I love them because they look fit and I always recieve compliments!

    xoxo, Jjanga
    www.sayhelloandsmile.blogspot.com

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  2. Love this. The other day in the dining hall I heard the adult staff members talking about going on weight loss programs, and one of them was like, "yeah, I gain and lose up to 70 pounds regularly". I just felt so sad - women of every age bash their bodies and don't give them love and respect! Fat talk is so pervasive, and we need to stop feeding it energy.

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  3. "It is an absolute fact that you cannot feel badly about your body and hula hoop at the same time, this is a 100% smile guarantee." How true! I just stumbled on to a radio program this morning and realized it was just a big group endorsement for Weight Watchers, and the self-titled "skinnies" in the office were going on about how even thin people have room to "improve". It made me so mad I had to turn it off. How nice to come to work and walk into a healthier and happier conversation.

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  4. The hula hooping comment is so true. I bought myself a hula hoop for Christmas, and I just picked up my SECOND hoop last week! I love hooping. It feels amazing and it's a great stress reliever.

    I also recommend belly dance. Even if you aren't very coordinated or graceful (I am neither of those things!), it still feels GREAT.

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  5. I used to hate my body. My thighs were the bane of my existence, and I truly believed that I couldn't be beautiful until I was skinny.
    After years of intense work with this, I can look at myself naked in the mirror and feel joy, empathy, or maybe sadness, but never loathing. I know that my body is a reflection of my self-care and emotions. If I'm overweight, I know I've been struggling emotionally and need some TLC. If I'm at the higher end of my "healthy" weight, I know I've been enjoying myself. If I'm at the lower end of my "healthy" weight, I know that it's probably late summer or fall and I've been having a good time. I tend to lose weight in the summer because I feel like eating less and playing more. My body is a perfect barometer and an exquisite piece of equipment that never fails me, even though I fail it sometimes.

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  6. Awesome post with an awesome message! Love it :)

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  7. This is exactly what I needed to read today. Great post!

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  8. I really needed to see this. During last semester of grad school I had my first experience of looking in the mirror and feeling "fat". Never, in the 21 year prior, had I felt like this before. Now I suddenly feel gross about my body and I feel pressure before my upcoming wedding this summer to lose weight. I could be healthier than I am now but that's what I want this to be about - not my appearance. Thanks for reminding me that we are all beautiful. I'll make sure to tell myself that tonight when I get in bed.

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  9. ohhhhhhhh yes. Mara is the bomb. and all of these steps are hugely important!

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  10. Excellent, excellent advice. Every woman should read this. I completely agree with the hula hooping comment too. I've been hooping for about three years now. if I'm in a bad mood, I just pick up my hoop and within five minutes I'm feeling excellent again.

    I think the most important thing of all is to treat ourselves with kindness and to not be too hard on ourselves. Once you stop putting undue pressure on yourself to look/act/feel/be a certain way, that's when you can really begin to love yourself.

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  11. "My body is a perfect barometer and an exquisite piece of equipment that never fails me"

    So true Mckella!

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  12. Sometimes if I'm feeling this way I will think about what my body actually does. It's AMAZING to think about all the cells put together to make organs. All the organs and what their jobs are. All the thousands of tiny little things all working together and allowing me to be cognizant and sentient. How can you hate something so perfect?

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  13. Wow, this is perfect. I love this post so much.

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  14. I love the part about not talking with your family/friends/loved ones about how much you hate your body. My aunt and gma have a horrible habit of doing this and it makes me uncomfortable - my mom passed away last month from breast cancer. She only lived to 50, but her sister and mother sit around and talk about how old and fat they are. Can't they be grateful for what they have? Life? A body that functions? I have to get up and walk away from it.

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  15. What a great post. I needed this today. Thank you. :)

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