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LOVE YOUR BODY, PERIOD.
Can you sit down, right now, and write down 5 things you love about your body? No? Why not?
Probably the same reason I’ve struggled with it for SO long. The media. Who they describe as “beautiful” with the “perfect” bodies. All mixed with who they describe as having the “wrong” bodies.
I’ve struggled for as long as I can remember. I can vividly remember being in young elementary and sucking my stomach in. Sucking it in to look “better”. I can remember dreaming of looking like the girls on the covers of J-14 magazines. I remember joining Weight Watchers (now WW) in middle school. I remember eating salads and watching my friends eat burgers and chocolate milk from the school cafeteria.
“If only I was like them” I remember saying to myself.
I remember fighting back tears when the first person called me “thunder thighs” later in middle school. I remember thinking boys would never like me because of how I looked, and that my friends only saw me as their “fat” friend.
I remember gaining the weight I lost on Weight Watchers back in high school and constantly comparing my body to my friends. They were thin. Beautiful. I remember thinking the first boy I really, really liked didn’t like me back because of what I looked like.
I remember busting my butt my senior year to lose 50 pounds by prom. I remember making my boyfriend, now husband, say to me that I was ugly when I was fat. That I was pretty now that I was thinner.
But you know what I remember most? I look back and remember how much I missed out on because of how self-conscious I was about my looks. Not running around the playground in elementary school because I didn’t want the other kids to see me jiggle. Or dancing at my middle school dances because I was “too big” to dance. And in high school, waiting 2 years to date my first boyfriend, who became my husband years later, because I was so self-conscious about being bigger than him.
I missed out on so much simply because I was afraid of being me and living life in my own skin.
Looking back, I wish I could tell that girl that she is stunning. That she is more than the scale. More than the size. More than being able to shop at trendy teen stores. She is worthy of the space she takes up and more than that, worthy of living her life despite the media’s examples of what is beautiful and what is not.
I never felt enough. Never, until almost two years ago. Two years ago I came to the realization that we can all appreciate our bodies for what they are, and that they deserve to be loved despite others’ comments and assumptions. You deserve to love your body. Plain and simple.
But I know that doesn’t come easy to everyone. It takes time. Here are a few realizations that helped me learn to love my own body, and accept it for what it is.
- Acknowledging there is no perfect body, there are simply bodies. We are all different in color, shape, height and size. Not one is better than another. You have your body, and I have mine.
- Recognize you are setting an example. Even if you aren’t a parent, someone, somewhere is looking up to you. They see you for who you are. They also notice everything you do and say. Do you want your niece thinking she is less than what she is, from that one time she saw you call out the way your thighs looked in the mirror? Because trust me, they will remember.
- Realize your time is better spent. Would you rather spend your time hating yourself, or living your life? I promise one of them will bring you so much more happiness. Dance, play, sing! Your body does not hold you back from living your life. Spending the time discriminating yourself, however, does.
- Agree that you are worth the space you take up. Read that again. You are WORTH space on this Earth. Your worth does not change whether you take up more or less space than the person standing next to you. You are worth respect.
- See that your body, quite literally, does everything for you. Your body walks you down the aisle to your love. It creates life. It lies awake watching your newborn. Teaches your toddler how to play. Dances with your daughter around the kitchen. Your body lives.
Aside from learning to love your body through body-positive statements, something that truly helped me was starting to shop more body inclusive brands. For that, Kohls.com is a favorite of mine for their great online shopping experience along with featuring Reebok’s new size-inclusive line that runs from XS-4X, keeping everyone in mind.
The inexpensive size-inclusive Reebok line on Kohls.com helps me feel confident in my own skin. Not only that, but since the line is so expansive, I don’t feel like I’m wearing “big people” clothes. You know, a lot of stores make completely different tops and bottoms in plus size. But with Reebok’s size-inclusive line, everyone is wearing the same top and bottom no matter their size.
Not feeling left out is a great feeling. I highly recommend shopping for the new Reebok line on Kohls.com and trying out some of the items. I’m living for their Training Essentials Leggings, as well as their Workout Ready Jacket I’ve featured throughout the pictures in this post.
Truly, what I am getting at and hope you take from this post, is that you are worthy. You are worth compassion, love and respect. You deserve to love your body, just the way it is.
I’m giving you some homework. I want you to go ahead and write those 5 things you love about yourself now. Hopefully after what I’ve said, you have some new answers.